The Stanley Cup Playoffs start tonight, and when people think of Stanley Cup celebrations they think of the players skating around the ice hoisting hockey's biggest prize.
Fans sometimes forget to give credit to their team's coaches. These head coaches are the reason their team has made it this far. They deserve a majority of the credit for making it to the postseason. Let's now rank the coaches in the 2011 NHL Playoffs.
In Guy Boucher's first season as a head coach in the National Hockey League, he led the Tampa Bay Lightning to an impressive 46-25-11 record. With superstars such as Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier, Boucher had a pretty easy job.
Boucher and the Lightning face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
Barry Trotz has been managing the Nashville bench since 1998, posting a record of 455-407-60-76. Trotz made his first playoff appearance in 2004, when his Predators lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings in the first round. After losing to Detroit, Trotz made the postseason four more times, losing in the first round each time.
This is Barry's sixth playoff appearance, he's hoping for a little better luck.
His Predators play the Anaheim Ducks in the first round.
This is Murray's third season in Los Angeles.
He began his head coaching career in 1989 with Washington, and with the Capitals he made the postseason each of his first four years but was fired in his fifth year.
He then went to coach three years in each Philadelphia and Florida. In 1997 he lost in the Stanley Cup Finals.
After three seasons with the Kings, he has an overall record of 126-94-26. Last season, he made the postseason but lost in the first round to Vancouver in six games.
Murray and the Kings open the playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Tippett began his coaching career in 2002 with the Dallas Stars. He was fired from the Stars in 2009, making the postseason five times. He immediately started coaching the Phoenix Coyotes in 2009. In his first year in the desert, Tippett lost to Detroit in the first round of the playoffs. After two full seasons in Phoenix, Tippett has an overall record of 93-51-20.
Tippett and the Coyotes open the playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings.
Julien began his coaching career in 2002 in Montreal, coaching the Canadiens for three years, reaching the playoffs once.
In 2007, Julien took over the head coach job in Boston. Julien's overall record in Boston is 179-103-46. Julien reached the postseason in 2008, 2009, and 2010 with the Bruins and never made it past the second round.
Julien and the Bruins face off against Montreal in the first round.
Alain Vigneault started his coaching career in Montreal in 1997. He made the postseason once and was fired in 2001.
He took the head coaching job in Vancouver in 2006. This is Vigneault's fourth postseason appearance for Vancouver. While coaching the Canucks, he has an overall record of 236-133-34. Coaching in four previous postseasons, Vigneault has lost in the second round each time.
Vigneault hopes to ger farther this season. His Canucks open up against the defending Stanley Cup champs, Chicago Blackhawks.
Todd McLellan took his first job as a NHL head coach in 2008 with the San Jose Sharks. In his first season with San Jose, he lost in the first round to Anaheim. In his second season, last year, he made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals but was swept by Chicago in four games. After three full seasons in the NHL, McLellan has an overall record of 152-63-31.
Todd and the Sharks look to make up for last season's disappointment against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round.
Lindy Ruff has been the Buffalo Sabres head coach since 1997, spending his entire coaching career with the Sabres with an overall record of 526-390-78-72. He has made the postseason a total of seven times. He reached the Stanley Cup Finals once in 1999, but lost to the Dallas Stars in six games. Last season he was eliminated in the first round by the Boston Bruins.
This year, he opens up against last season's runners-up Philadelphia Flyers.
This is Jacques Martin's 12th playoff appearance.
He entered the league in 1986, coaching the St. Louis Blues. After two seasons with playoff appearances in St. Louis, he spent the next nine seasons coaching Ottawa, missing the playoffs only once.
He then spent three years coaching the Florida Panthers, not making the playoffs once.
Last year, his first season with the Habs, Martin reached the conference finals but lost in five games. In Montreal, his overall record is 83-63-18. The farthest Martin ever reached in the postseason was the Conference Finals, twice.
Martin and the Canadiens open the postseason against the Boston Bruins.
Bruce Boudreau has been coaching the Washington Capitals since 2007.
Each season he has won the Southeast Division, but he struggles to win games in the postseason, however.
In his first two playoff appearances, he was quickly eliminated in the first round. Then in 2009, he lost in seven games to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Last season, he was yet again eliminated in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens. Boudreau's overall record in Washington is 189-79-39.
Boudreau has never been able to make it far with Alex Ovechkin. Caps fans all over hope these playoffs will be different.
In this year's playoffs, he opens up against the tough New York Rangers.
John Tortorella coached his first full season in 2000 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In seven seasons with Tampa Bay, he made the playoffs four times. In 2004, Tortorella won the Stanley Cup when he beat the Calgary Flames in seven games. Tortorella become the head coach of the New York Rangers in 2008. This is Tortorella's second playoff appearance for the Rangers. John Tortorella's overall record with New York is 94-73-18.
Tortorella and the Rangers face the mighty Washington Capitals in the first round.
Peter Laviolette started his coaching career in 2001 with the New York Islanders.
After being eliminated in the first round in each of his two years with the Islanders, he became the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. He coached in Carolina for five seasons, making the playoffs once. He made the playoffs in 2006, where he beat the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals.
He became the head coach of the Flyers in 2009, where he reached his second Stanley Cup Finals, but lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. After two seasons in Philadelphia, he has an overall record of 75-47-17.
Laviolette and the Flyers open postseason play against the Buffalo Sabres.
Randy Carlyle has been the Anaheim Ducks head coach since 2005.
Last season was Carlyle's first season he did not contend in the postseason. However, in his second season as the Ducks' head coach, Carlyle won the Stanley Cup. This is currently Randy's sixth season as a head coach, and he has a record of 266-172-61.
Carlyle and the Ducks' start by playing the Nashville Predators in the first round.
In the middle of the 2008-2009 season, Dan Bylsma got his first head coaching job when became the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and instantly made the Penguins a hockey powerhouse.
He took the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first year and became world champions when they ousted the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.
Last season his Penguins were eliminated in the second round by the surprising Montreal Canadiens. This season, his third season as manager, his injury-plagued Penguins were able to reach 106 points and tie for first place in the tough Atlantic Division. After about two-and-a-half seasons as the Penguins coach, Bylsma holds an overall 114-56-19 record.
Bylsma and the Penguins look to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals when they take on Tampa Bay in the first round.
Joel Quenneville got his first coaching job in St. Louis in 1996, and for seven consecutive seasons, Quenneville brought the city of St. Louis playoff hockey. In 2004, he was fired because he could never win the Stanley Cup.
From 2005 to 2008, Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche and brought them to the playoffs twice.
In 2008, he became the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks and brought them to the Western Conference Finals but lost to the Detroit Red Wings. Last season, he was able to give the Windy City their first Stanley Cup Championship since 1961.
Quenneville begins his title defense against the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks.
Mike Babcock spent his first two seasons as a NHL head coach in Anaheim. In his first year as the Ducks' skipper, he lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to New Jersey in seven games.
After the lockout, he found a new home in Detroit and brought them to the new level of dominance in hockey. He lost in the first round of the postseason in his first year as head coach and lost in the Stanley Cup Finals in his second season. He won it all in his third season, beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. He then almost defended his title as world champs when he lost to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals the very next season. Last season, he was eliminated in the second round by the San Jose Sharks. After six seasons as Detroit's head coach, he has an overall record of 304-126-62.
Mike Babcock and the Red Wings look to get back to the finals when they start their postseason play against the Phoenix Coyotes.