Coaches can represent the difference between triumphant victory and agonizing defeat. The Detroit Red Wings have seen their share of both.
Throughout their rich 87-year history, the Detroit franchise has enjoyed an abundance of successful seasons as well as decades of misery. Their coaching history has been just as polarizing, from the success of Scotty Bowman to the catastrophe of Ned Harkness.
Detroit has had the luxury of having just three coaches behind the bench for the last two decades, and has made the playoffs in every one of them. Their success has parlayed into four Stanley Cup titles in six appearances in a 14-year stretch from the 1994-95 season through 2008-09.
Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cups with five different coaches, and it’s no coincidence that this list contains exactly five coaches. Three of the five on this list won three Stanley Cups behind the Detroit bench while consistently battling for NHL supremacy.
It’s nearly a staple for Detroit coaches to demand a lot from their players, and not without a fiery personality. These coaches knew what it took to win, and even if they weren’t favored by players, they commanded respect.
So, without further ado, here are the five greatest coaches in Detroit Red Wings history.