By: Will Burchfield
By almost any measure – wins, championships, longevity – Scotty Bowman is the greatest coach in NHL history.
30 years behind the bench: the most all time.
Nine Stanley Cups: the most all time.
1,244 regular-season wins: by far, the most all time. In fact, Bowman is the only NHL coach who’s ever reached the 1,000-win milestone in the regular season, and he did so 20 years ago today at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena.
(While we’re here, let’s acknowledge that Bowman is the only NHL coach who’s ever reached the 1,000-win milestone, period. You could take away his 223 playoff wins – also a record – and he’d still have more victories than any coach in NHL history.)
Bowman’s 1,000th regular season win was appropriately dramatic, a 6-5 overtime thriller over Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and the high-flying Penguins.
The stars on both sides put on a show. For Pittsburgh, Lemieux had two goals and Jagr had three assists. For Detroit, Steve Yzerman had a goal and two assists and Brendan Shanahan had three goals and an assist. Shanahan’s hat trick tally was the game-winner.
Perhaps best of all, the game was called by the inimitable Doc Emrick.
For more highlights – and more Doc – check out the video below.
The win pushed Bowman’s regular-season record to 1,000-452-255 over 25 seasons with the Blues, Canadiens, Sabres, Penguins and Red Wings. He’d finish with a career record in the regular season of 1,244-573-314, good for a win-loss percentage of .632.
With a combined 1,467 wins in the regular season and the playoffs, Bowman still has more victories than 14 NHL teams.