The job of NHL bench boss does not come with much security. Sure, you get a guaranteed contract for a few year, but that contract while nice in theory doesn't really provide the coach with any job security. I'm sure it's a nice feeling knowing that you will have steady income for three years, even if two of those years are spent on your coach watching the team you formerly coached on your Center Ice package.
Some years the coaching carousel turns so quickly that it seems as if there may have been 50 coaches used in one season. With the turnover being so frequent, one would think that it would be a snap to come up with the top 50 coaches in NHL history, it's not.
What follows are the 50 best coaches to ever step behind an NHL bench.
Barry Trotz is the only coach that the Nashville Predators Franchise has ever had. He is in his 13th season behind the Preds bench and has compiled a record of 455-407-60.
As with most expansion teams, Nashville struggled early missing the playoffs in their first five seasons, but management stuck by its coach and were rewarded with trips to the playoffs in six of the next seven seasons.The team has only got past the first round once, moving to the second round last season.
Trotz is just the 10th NHL bench boss to coach more than 750 games with a single team. He also holds the record for most games coached with an expansion franchise.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, this season Trotz will become the 20th coach to reach 1,000 career games.
Bob Hartley coached 651 games in the NHL, splitting time between the Colorado Avalanche and the Atlanta Thrashers. His career W-L-T-OTL record is 329-226-61-34.
Hartley took the Avalanche to the Western Conference finals in each of his four full seasons with the team. Only once did he lead the team past the conference finals. The year the team made it to the Stanley Cup finals, 2001, it won the Cup.
Hartley's tenure with the Avalanche ended after a slow start to the 2002-03 season.
Hartley would not be unemployed long, landing with the Thrashers just one month later. Hartley took the Thrashers to the playoffs once, losing in the quarterfinals. The year after that, the team started 0-6 and Hartley was let go.
Larry Robinson was a Hall of Fame defenseman who won six Stanley Cups while playing for the Montreal Canadiens. When his career ended he joined the NHL coaching ranks. Robinson landed his first head coaching job in 1995-96 with the Los Angeles Kings.
Robinson worked behind the Kings bench for four years, making the playoffs once, before he signed as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils. Robinson was named interim coach of the team in March 2000, leading the team through their last eight regular season games and on to Stanley Cup victory. In his first full season as the Devils head coach, he would lead the team to the Cup finals, falling in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche.
Robinson would not make it through his third year with the team, as he was fired 51 games into the 2001-02 season. He would briefly coach the Devils again in 2005-06, but would resign.
Robinson's career coaching W-L-T-OTL record stands at 209-217-64-11. It's not the best record on this list, but his player friendly style of coaching and his playoff success with the Devils lands him on the list of top 50 coaches.
John Tortorella is one of the more acerbic current bench bosses; however that type of behavior is tolerated by management when one of the lines on your resume reads Stanley Cup champion and another one has Jack Adams recipient on it.
Tortorella won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2003-04 season and coached the team through the 2007-08 season.
Tortorella joined the Rangers during the 2008-09 season, replacing the fired Tom Renney. When the 2011-12 season started his career W-L-T-OTL record was 333-298-37-56.
Marc Crawford has worked for four franchises since joining the NHL head coaching ranks with the Quebec Nordiques during the 1994-95 season. His performance behind the bench that season garnered him the Jack Adams Award, becoming the youngest coach to win the award in NHL history.
He followed the Quebec franchise to Colorado, winning the Stanley Cup in 1995-96. Crawford would leave the Avalanche at the end of the 1997-98 season after having made the playoffs in each season he spent with the team.
Crawford would then move on to the Vancouver Canucks, replacing Mike Keenan during the 1998-99 season. He would coach the Canucks through the end of the 2005-06 season, taking the team to the playoffs in four of his seven seasons with Vancouver.
From there it was two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, followed by two seasons with the Dallas Stars. Crawford missed the playoffs during his tenure with LA and Dallas.
Crawford's career W-L-T-OTL record stands at 549-421-100-77.
Most NHL fans know Don Cherry for his shoot-from-the-cuff style during his weekly Coach's Corner segment on during Hockey Night in Canada. Before his long tenure with Hockey Night in Canada, the sharp-dressed (?) Cherry had a stint behind the bench in Boston and Colorado.
Cherry's coaching career would only last six seasons, but during that time he put together a record of 250-153-77.
Cherry, the recipient of the 1975-76 Jack Adams Award took the Bruins to the Cup finals on two occasions, falling both times to the Montreal Canadiens (1977 and 1978).
Terry Crisp is one of the rare individuals to have won a Stanley Cup both as a player and as a coach. Crisp raised the Cup twice as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974 and 1975 and again as the coach of the Calgary Flames in 1989.
Crisp has held two head coaching jobs during his lifetime, with the Flames from 1987-1990 and then with the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1992-1998. His career coaching record stands at 286-267-69.
Peter Laviolette, the current bench boss for the Philadelphia Flyers, has had stints as the head coach for two other hockey clubs, the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes.
In his nine years as an NHL head coach he has made the playoffs on six occasions, taking home the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season. Laviolette finished second to the Buffalo Sabres' Lindy Ruff in the voting for the Jack Adams Award that year, losing to Ruff by the smallest margin in voting history, 155-154.
Entering this season, Laviolette had compiled a W-L-T-OTL record of 319-231-25-51.
Cooney Weiland, a Stanley Cup winner as a player for the Boston Bruins, had a short stint as a coach for the Bruins as well, running the team from 1939-1941. In that span Weiland compiled a record of 58-20-18 for a winning percentage of .698 and led the team to the 1941 Stanley Cup.
The Los Angeles Kings current head coach, Terry Murray, got his start during the 1989-90 season when he replaced his brother Bryan as the Washington Capitals coach. Murray would lead the Capitals for parts of five seasons, making the playoffs in for of those years.
Murray next coached the Philadelphia Flyers during the days of the formidable "Legion of Doom," line which featured Eric Lindros, John Leclair and Mikael Renberg. Murray would take the team to the playoffs in each of his three years in Philly, but was let go after the team fell to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 Stanley Cup finals.
Murray then had a fairly uneventful three-year stint with the Florida Panthers that ended in 2001.
After losing his job with the Panthers, Murray took a job as an assistant coach with the Flyers, where he stayed until the Kings came calling at the start of the 2008-09 season.
Before the 2011-12 season began, Murray had put together a career W-L-T-OTL record of 486-371-89-27.
Tom Johnson won six Stanley Cups as a player with the Montreal Canadiens before ending his playing career with the Boston Bruins.
Immediately after retiring as a player in 1965, Johnson took a job with the Bruins management team. He remained with the club in some capacity until he retired in 1998.
Johnson would coach the Bruins from 1970-73, putting together a record of 142-43-23 for an astounding winning percentage of .738, the best in Bruins history. During his run as head coach, he led the team to the Stanley Cup in 1972.
Darryl Sutter played more than 400 games in the NHL before retiring as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1987.
Sutter would then embark on a coaching career that would see him behind three NHL benches. Sutter had coaching stints of varying length with the Blackhawks, the San Jose Sharks and the Calgary Flames.
Sutter never missed the playoffs during a season when he coached a team from start to finish. In 2003-04 he took the Flames to the Stanley Cup finals, where the team lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.
Present struggles excluded, Jacques Martin has built a solid resume as an NHL head coach.
Martin got his start with the St. Louis Blues in 1986-87 and has had stints in Ottawa, Florida and currently Montreal.
He is just the sixth coach in NHL history to get to 600 wins, finishing the 2011 season with a career W-L-T-OTL record of 600-469-119-74.
In 16 years as an NHL head coach, his teams have missed the playoffs only four times.
While with the Ottawa Senators in 1998-99, he won the Jack Adams Award after compiling a record of 44-23-15.
Many people know the name Gerry Cheevers due to his famous "stitches" goalie mask. What many fans outside of Boston don't know is that Cheevers had a pretty solid run behind the Boston Bruins bench from 1980-1985, putting together a record of 204-126-46.
The current coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, Joel Quenneville is in his third stint as an NHL head coach. His previous two stops were with the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche.
Quenneville got his start with the Blues during the 1996-97 season and was with them until being fired during the 2003-04 season. He won the Jack Adams Award for the 1998-99 season while coaching in St. Louis.
He then moved on to the Avalanche, leading them for three seasons before moving on to work for the Blackhawks in a scouting role.
He became the Blackhawks coach just four games into the 2008-09 season after Denis Savard was fired. In his second season behind the Blackhawks bench, the team won the Stanley Cup.
Before the start of this season Quenneville's career W-L-T-OTL record stood at 579-356-77-69.
Jimmy Skinner had a long career with the Detroit Red Wings, serving as head coach, chief scout, farm director, director of player personnel and general manager. In total, he served the Wings in some capacity for 42 years.
Skinner's time as the team's head coach was relatively brief, serving three full years and one partial season between 1954 and 1958, but in that time he put together a record of 123-78-46, winning the Cup in the 1954-55 season.
Upon his death in 2007, it was noted that Skinner was one of the first to kiss the Stanley Cup.
Mike Babcock is currently in his seventh year behind the Detroit Red Wings bench. Before joining the Wings in 2005-06, he served as the head coach of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks from 2002-2004.
Babcock took the Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals in 2002-03, falling to the New Jersey Devils in seven games.
Babcock moved to the Wings following the 2004 season. He has taken the Wings to the Cup finals on two occasions, winning in 2007-08 and losing in 2008-09. Since he joined the Wings, the team has not missed the playoffs.
His career W-L-T-OTL coaching record, before the start of the current season, stood at 373-188-19-76.
Between 1995 and 2010, Ken Hitchcock stood behind the bench for three teams, the Dallas Stars, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets. During that span he put together a W-L-T-OTL record of 534-350-88-70.
Hitchcock only had one trip to the Stanley Cup finals, with the Stars in 1998-99, but he made the most of it, winning the Cup that season.
Many remember Sinden as the general manager of the Boston Bruins, but he also coached the team from 1966-67 through 1969-70, throwing in some brief time during the 1979-80 and 1984-85 seasons as well.
Things did not go well for Sinden early in his coaching career; in fact his team posted an abysmal record of 17-43-10 in his first season. Things came together pretty quickly after that and by the 1968-69 they posted a 100-point season. The team then followed that up with a 99-point season and a Stanley Cup victory in 1969-70.
Sinden's career coaching record was 153-116-58.
The man whose name graces the trophy given to the NHL's scoring leader was not only one of the first players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he was also one of the finest coaches in NHL history.
Between 1917-18 and 1944-45, Ross coached three NHL teams, the Montreal Wanderers, the Hamilton Tigers and the Boston Bruins. During that time he put together a career record of 368-300-90.
His teams made the playoffs in 11 of the 18 seasons he coached. His lone Stanley Cup victory came in 1938-39 with the Bruins. In total his teams played for the Cup four times.
Claude Ruel was the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens from 1968-1971 and again from 1979-1981. In that short time he put together a record of 172-82-51.
In his first season with the club, the team went 46-19-11 for the best record in the NHL. The Canadiens then went on to capture the the Cup to end the season.
In his second stint with the team he lead them to first place in the division, but could not find playoff success.
Tommy Ivan coached both the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, with most of his success coming with the Detroit club. In fact his winning percentage in Detroit sits behind only Scotty Bowman, Mike Babcock and Dave Lewis.
Under Ivan's watch the Wings finished the regular season in second place in 1947-48 then had a six-year run where they finished first. During that run, they took home the Stanley Cup three times, including the 1951-52 season.
What's so significant about the 51-52 season? Well, that was the year the Wings ran through the playoffs in a mere eight games, the fewest amount of games possible to take home the title. From that run the Octopus throwing craze was born: eight games, eight legs.
Ivan would spend two seasons behind the Chicago bench to finish his NHL career, racking up a career record of 288-174-11.
Herb Brooks is best remembered as the coach of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S. Olympic Team, but Brooks was also an NHL bench boss, working for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brooks never realized the dream of earning a Stanley Cup during his time in the NHL, but he did make the playoffs five times, advancing to the second round on five occasions.
Claude Julien, the current head coach for the Boston Bruins, has also coached the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils, putting together a W-L-T-OTL record of 300-189-10-69 prior to the start of the current NHL campaign.
Julien ended last season holding the Stanley Cup above his head as the Bruins skated around the ice in Vancouver. It was a moment of redemption for the coach that saw his team squander a 3-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2009-10 playoffs.
Julien has one Jack Adams Award to his name, earning that during the 2008-09 season when the Bruins put together a record of 53-19-10 and earned 116 points.
Jacques Lemaire has coached over 1,200 games in his career, serving with the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild. During that time he has won two Jack Adams Awards and one Stanley Cup.
Lemaire has often been criticized for coaching a defense-first style that some find less than exciting, but his job, as a coach, was to win games and he did that compiling a career W-L-T-OTL record of 616-458-124-63.
Lemaire also possesses eight Stanley Cup rings from his time playing for the Montreal Canadiens. He added two more Cup wins to his resume as assistant general manger of the Canadiens.
"Gentleman" Joe Primeau spent his entire NHL career with the Maple Leafs, playing for the team from 1927-28 through 1935-36, famously on The Kid Line with Charlie Conacher and "Busher" Jackson.
Primeau would coach the Leafs from 1950-51 through 1952-53, taking the team to a Stanley Cup victory in his first season behind the bench.
When his short stint behind the bench ended, he had a record of 97-71-42 with a winning percentage of .562.
Cecil Hart coached one team during his career, the Montreal Canadiens, serving as coach on two separate occasions.
During his first stint with the team he won the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons in 1930 and 1931.
The Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL's MVP, was donated to the league by Cecil Hart's father. The original trophy was retired in 1960; from that point the Hart Memorial Trophy, in memory of Cecil Hart, has been been presented.
His career coaching record stands at 196-125-73.
Tommy Gorman was not only a Stanley Cup-winning head coach, he was also one of the founders of the National Hockey League when he was the manager of the Ottawa Senators, a club his family owned. While with the Senators, the team won the Cup three times.
Gorman would eventually sell his interest in the Senators and move on to coach the New York Americans. Gorman had two stints with the team in 1925-26 and again in 1928-29, not having much success at either stint behind the bench.
Gorman was away from the NHL for a few years, indulging in his other passion, horse racing, before being lured back to the coaching ranks, this time with the Chicago Blackhawks. In his second of two seasons in Chicago he took the team to Stanley Cup glory.
Gorman left the 'Hawks following his Cup win, joining the Montreal Maroons. He would serve as the Maroons coach for four seasons, winning the Cup in his first season with the team and making the playoffs in two of his remaining three years.
His tenure with the Maroons ended in when the team folded in 1938.
With his victories in Chicago and Montreal, Gorman became the first coach to win Stanley Cups in consecutive years with different teams. To this day, no other coach has realized this achievement.
Pete Green was the coach of the Ottawa Hockey Club/Ottawa Senators. Green coached the Ottawa twice. His first run with the club was prior to the NHL being formed. During that time he led the team to the Stanley Cup three times. When he returned for his second go-round with the team, he earned three more Cups in 1920, 1921 and 1923.
Despite six Cups as a coach and four as a trainer for the Senators, Green is not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Patrick family has a long history in the NHL, starting with brothers Lester and Frank, the creators of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.
Lester Patrick's NHL coaching tenure would run from 1926-39, all served with the New York Rangers. During that time the Rangers would miss the playoffs only once. They would also capture the Stanley Cup in 1928 and 1933. Patrick's career coaching record stands at 281-216-107.
Today, the NHL and USA Hockey honor Patrick's memory by presenting a trophy in his name to honor individuals for "outstanding service to hockey in the United States."
"Badger" Bob Johnson coined one of the most famous phrases in hockey: "It's a great day for hockey."
Johnson broke into the NHL coaching ranks with the Calgary Flames in 1982-83. He coached the Flames for five seasons, leading them to the playoffs in each of his seasons behind the bench.
Johnson earned his first and only Stanley Cup during his single season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990-91. During the offseason he was diagnosed with brain cancer, which he would succumb to on November 26, 1991. To this day, he is remembered fondly by the Pittsburgh organization and their fans.
Johnson's career record was 234-188-58.
Brian Sutter followed a 12-year NHL playing career with 13 years of head coaching duties in the NHL. Sutter retired from the St. Louis Blues following the 1987-88 season and was named the team's coach shortly after. He served with the Blues for four seasons, making the playoffs in each season and capturing the Jack Adams Award for the 1990-91 season.
Following his work with the Blues, Sutter moved to the Boston Bruins, working the bench there for three seasons and again making the playoffs in each season.
Sutter would then serve as the Calgary Flames head coach for three years, missing the playoffs in all three years.
His last NHL head coaching job was with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2000-01 through 2003-04, making the playoffs once with the 'Hawks.
Sutter's career W-L-T-OTL record stands at 451-417-140-20.
Current Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray had a long run as an NHL head coach, standing behind the bench for 1,239 games between 1981 and 2007.
Murray coached five teams: the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Ottawa Senators. During his coaching tenure he made the playoffs 13 times. His deepest run was the 2006-07 season, when his Ottawa Senators lost to Anaheim in five games.
Murray captured that Jack Adams Award for his work with the Capitals in 1983-84. His career W-L-T-OTL record stands at 620-465-131-23.
Jacques Demers had a long NHL coaching career, beginning in 1978-79 with the Quebec Nordiques and ending in 1998-99 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Between those stops he also stood behind the bench for the St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens.
Demers won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in the 1992-93 season. He also captured the Jack Adams Award on two occasions: in 1986-87 and again in 1987-88 while coaching the Red Wings.
Demers' career NHL coaching record stands at 409-468-130.
Sid Abel won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Detroit Red Wings. His time with the Wings ended with a trade to the Chicago Blackhawks after the 1952 season. He would get his start as an NHL coach with the 'Hawks, serving as a player-coach for parts of two seasons in Chicago.
Abel would return to the Wings in 1957-58, taking the head coaching job. He would remain in that position until 1970, taking the team to the playoffs eight times. He would never win the Cup as a head coach, but did make it to the finals four times.
After leaving the Wings, he would have two brief stints as a head coach, one with the St. Louis Blues and another with the Kansas City Scouts.
Emile "The Cat" Francis served 778 games as an NHL head coach, working for the New York Rangers and the St. Louis Blues. During his career he complied a record of 388-273-117.
Francis' teams would make the playoffs 11 out of 13 years he stood behind the bench, but alas he never won a Stanley Cup.
Roger Neilson was one of the most innovative coaches in the history of the NHL.
He was a tireless worker, scouring the NHL rulebook for loopholes that he could exploit, becoming the first coach to use early video technology to break down games, as well being the first to use headsets to communicate with his coaching staff.
Neilson's first NHL head coaching position was with the Maple Leafs, coaching the team for two seasons from 1977-79.
Neilson would also stand behind the bench for the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers, before ending his career with the Ottawa Senators.
Neilson's tenure as an NHL head coach ended on a bad note with the Philadelphia Flyers. Neilson, suffering from cancer, took medical leave from the Flyers and was replaced on an interim basis by Craig Ramsey. When Neilson was healthy enough to return to the team, he was stopped by then Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke, who said, "The Neilson situation—Roger got cancer—that wasn't our fault. We didn't tell him to go get cancer. It's too bad that he did. We feel sorry for him, but then he went goofy on us." Neilson was subsequently replaced by Ramsey.
Neilson then signed as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators. With the 2001-02 season coming to a close, Senators coach Jacques Martin, stepped aside for two games, allowing Neilson to take the reigns and coach his 999th and 1000th NHL games.
Neilson died on June 21, 2003.
Pat Burns began his head coaching career in the hockey hot bed of Montreal, which he followed up with a run in the equally demanding city of Toronto before moving on to Boston and New Jersey. In all Burns coached in over 1,000 games, putting together a career W-L-T-OTL record of 501-353-151-14.
Burns was a three-time winner of the Jack Adams Award, earning the award in his first year coaching the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Bruins. To this day, he is the only one to win the award with three different teams.
His single Stanley Cup victory came with the Devils at the end of the 2002-03 season.
Burns stepped down from coaching the Devils in 2005, after battling liver and colon cancer. Burns fought valiantly, but he passed on November 19, 2010.
Speaking of his former coach, Mats Sundin told TSN.ca, "Pat was a great coach and mentor. He taught me How to become a better professional player, teammate and human being."
"Iron" Mike Keenan is known as one of the more, ahem, harder to get along with coaches in NHL history. Demanding and no nonsense are some of the nicer words used to describe him; others would use words that would require me to use many asterisks when relaying them here.
Keenan had a way of wearing out his welcome with the teams he coached, and his history of standing behind the bench for eight teams is a testament to that fact.
Keenan guided teams to the Stanley Cup finals on four occasions, with his sole victory coming with the New York Rangers during the 1993-94 season.
As demanding as he was as a coach he never lacked suitors, mainly because he won. His career W-L-T-OTL record stands at 672-531-147-36.
Billy Reay had a short stint as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he is best known for the 14 seasons he spent behind the bench of the Chicago Blackhawks.
His tenure in Chicago began in 1963-64 and lasted until the 1976-77 season, when he was fired by team owner Bill Wirtz. According to Sports Illustrated, Reay was fired via a note slipped under his apartment door. The not was delivered just days before Christmas.
Reay took the 'Hawks to the Cup finals on three occasions, never winning the big prize; however his Chicago teams only missed the playoffs once when he was behind the bench.
His career record stands at 542-385-175.
Fred "The Fog" Shero was one of the more interesting coaches in NHL history, so it was somewhat suitable for him to coach an "interesting" group of players in Philadelphia's "Broad Street Bullies."
Shero was known for writing messages on the blackboard in the Flyers dressing room, the most famous of which was written prior to Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup finals: "Win today and we walk together forever." The team would win that game, capturing the first Cup in Flyers history. They would follow it up with another the following year.
Shero's career with the Flyers ended following the 1977-78. He then returned to the team he had played for, the New York Rangers, coaching them for parts of three seasons.
Shero's career record stands at 390-225-119.
Pat Quinn is another well-traveled coach, serving with four NHL teams between 1978-79 and 2009-10.
Quinn got his start with the Philadelphia Flyers. In his first full season with the team he was behind the bench when the Flyers put together an amazing 35-game unbeaten streak on their way to the Stanley Cup finals. The Flyers would fall to the New York Islanders in six games in the finals.
After being fired from the Flyers during the 1981-82 season, Quinn spent three relatively uneventful years with the Los Angeles Kings before moving to the Vancouver Canucks. While with the Canucks he took the team to the 1993-94 Cup finals where they would lose to the New York Rangers in seven games.
Following his time with the Canucks he would move to the Toronto Maple Leafs, making the playoffs in six of the seven years he worked behind the bench in Toronto. He was fired after missing the playoffs in 2005-06.
Quinn then spent a few years away from the game before coaching the Edmonton Oilers in 2009-10.
Quinn's career W-L-T-OTL record stands at 684-528-154-34.
Quinn took home two Jack Adams Awards during his career, the first with Philadelphia (1980) and later with Vancouver (1992).
Jack Adams had a very long career in Detroit, coaching the Cougars, Falcons and Red Wings between 1927-28 and 1946-47.
Adams famously brought some of the best players up through the Detroit system including Gordie Howe, Terry Sawchuk and Ted Lindsay.
During his long and illustrious coaching career, Adams won three Stanley Cups as a coach. His legendary status was further cemented in 1974 when the Jack Adams Award was created. The award is given annually to the best coach in the NHL.
Adams' career record: 413-390-161.
Dick Irvin's career spanned 1,449 NHL games, which is impressive when you think that the most games played in a season during the era he coached in were 70 and even that number was only in his last seven years as a coach. In all, Irvin served as an NHL head coach for parts of 27 NHL seasons.
Irvin's first NHL coaching job was with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1928-29, followed by long stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens before moving back to the 'Hawks in 1955-56.
Irvin was stricken with bone cancer and was unable to coach the 'Hawks past the 1955-56 season. He succumbed at the age of 64, on May 15, 1957.
During his tenure as an NHL head coach, Irvin captured four Stanley Cup titles, three with Montreal and one with Toronto.
Punch Imlach began his NHL coaching career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1958-59, serving with the team until the end of the 1968-69 season. During his long tenure with the Leafs, Imlach would miss the playoffs only once while heading to the Stanley Cup finals six times. Imlach would get his name inscribed on the Cup in four of those six seasons.
Clarence Henry Day coached only one team during his professional coaching career, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Day served with the team from 1940-41 through 1949-50. During his time behind the bench, Day took the team to the Stanley Cup finals five times, impressively winning the Cup each time.
Day was the Leafs coach when the team pulled off one of the most astounding feats in sports history, coming behind from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals. The team was down 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1942 Cup finals before they came back, winning four straight to take the Cup.
Day's career record with the Leafs was 259-206-81 with a winning percentage of .557.
Glen Sather broke into the professional coaching ranks with the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association in 1976-77, The Oilers were absorbed into the NHL in 1979-80 and would go on to be one of the most successful teams in NHL history, winning four Stanley Cups in a span of just five seasons.
The run that Sather took the Oilers on lasted from 1983-84 through 1987-88. After that the dominant team broke apart, starting with the trade of Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings.
Sather's last full season as head coach of the Oilers would be the 1988-89 season. After that season Sather stepped down from the coaching position, concentrating on his general manager duties, a job he held with the club from 1979-2000.
After leaving the Oilers, Sather joined the New York Rangers as the team's GM for the 2000-01 season. Twice during his time as the Rangers GM he fired coaches (Bryan Trottier and Ron Low) and took over for them in midseason.
The last time Sather coached was during the 2003-04 season, leaving the coaching fraternity with a career NHL W-L-T-OTL record of 497-307-121-7.
Al Arbour got his NHL coaching start with the St. Louis Blues, serving for parts of three seasons behind the Blues bench.
Arbour would move the the New York Islanders for the 1973-74 season, winning a grand total of 19 games in that season. It didn't take Arbour long to right the ship on the Island and in his second season, the team made the playoffs.
During the 1979-80 season the team won the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups. The Islanders were in the running for a fifth straight during the 1983-83 season when their momentum was stopped by the Edmonton Oilers, a team they had swept in the Cup finals the previous season.
Arbour stepped down from coaching the Islanders at the end of the 1986 season, but was lured back for six more years before retiring after the 1994 season.
Arbour's retirement put him at 1,499 games coached with the Islanders. On November 3, 2007 the 75-year old Arbour returned to coach his 1,500th game as an Islander. The New York Post reported at the time that the idea came from then-Islanders coach, Ted Nolan:
Nolan said he grew tired of walking past the Isles' Wall of Fame outside their locker room and seeing Arbour's total at 1,499, and asked Snow to allow Arbour to reach the milestone.
The Islanders won the game, giving Arbour his 740th win with the team as well. In all Arbour coached 1,607 NHL games for a record of 782-577-248.
Toe Blake was one of the names invoked during the movie "Slapshot," when the team was urged to go out and play "old-time hockey." While that phrase may have been made in reference to Blake's playing days with the Montreal Canadiens, it could also carry over to his coaching as well.
Blake coached the Canadiens from 1955-56 through 1967-68, delivering an amazing eight Stanley Cup victories during his 13-year tenure.
When he retired at the end of the 1967-68 season he had a record of 500-255-159 for a winning percentage of .634.
To this day, he remains the winningest coach in Montreal history.
Was there any doubt as to who would be No. 1 on this list?
If there were a Mt. Rushmore of professional sports coaches, Scotty Bowman would surely be one of the faces etched in stone. His coaching career began in 1967-68 and ended in 2001-02. During that time he coached 2,141 games and compiled a W-L-T-OTL record of 1,244-573-314-10.
Bowman coached for five teams during his career: the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings. In total he captured the Stanley Cup nine times: five with Montreal, one with Pittsburgh and three with Detroit.
As far as individual accolades are concerned, Bowman won the Jack Adams Award on two occasions: 1976-77 and 1995-96.
Bowman's records include:
Regular season games coached: 2,141
Regular season wins: 1,244
Playoff games coached: 353
Playoff wins: 223
Stanley Cups: 9