Joel Quenneville Passes Al Arbour for 2nd in All-Time NHL Coaching Wins

Mike NorrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2016

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville shouts to his players during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Chicago. The Blackhawks have rewarded the three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach with a three-year contract extension which runs through 2019-20. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville took sole possession of second place on the NHL's all-time coaching wins list Thursday after his team defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, per Chris Peters of CBS Sports.

His 783rd victory broke a tie with former New York Islanders coach Al Arbour, although Quenneville has some work to do if he wants to catch Scotty Bowman and his 1,244 wins, per Sportsnet Stats:

The 57-year-old coach accomplished the feat in his 19th season, while Arbour was at the helm for 23 years and Bowman coached for 30 years.

Quenneville has been with the Blackhawks since the 2008-09 season after winning 307 games with the St. Louis Blues and another 131 with the Colorado Avalanche.

To say he's had a good run in Chicago would be an understatement. In his second season, the Blackhawks were 52-22-8 and won the 2010 Stanley Cup. They won it again in a strike-shortened 2012-13 season and yet again last season.

The Blackhawks had just three Stanley Cup victories in the history of the franchise, the latest coming in 1961, before Quenneville arrived.

Chicago recognizes a winner when it sees one, as it signed the coach to a three-year extension Tuesday. Tim Baffoe of CBS Chicago argued that Quenneville should at least be in the discussion for greatest coach in Chicago sports history:

For the trogs who measure greatness purely on championships — ya know, the ones who stammer when you point out their logic makes Trent Dilfer a better quarterback than Dan Marino and that Robert Horry should be on basketball’s Mt. Rushmore — Quenneville probably won’t match [former Chicago Bulls' head coach Phil Jackson’s six here. Quenneville’s never had a Michael Jordan of the ice, and the Blackhawks have hemorrhaged more talent after championships than the Bulls ever did.

Arguments about the "best ever" are all personal opinion—no matter what it doesn’t take away from his accomplishments. As Baffoe wrote, "To argue the greatness of a coach is stupid at this point."

While the milestones and accolades are great, Quenneville no doubt is focused on trying to become the first coach to lead Chicago to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.

The win against Montreal was the ninth straight for the Blackhawks. It helped them turn a 13-point deficit into a tie with the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division with 62 points.    

It helps to have a great coach.