It can be nearly impossible to live up to high expectations, especially when following the footsteps of the legendary Scotty Bowman. Despite the 164 forgettable games that Dave Lewis was at the helm, the Detroit Red Wings‘ coaches over the last 20 are usually referenced as Bowman, and the current boss, Mike Babcock. Babcock took over the wheel from Lewis in 2005, and has been arguably the best coach in the NHL over that span.
Babcock began his head coaching career in charge of the Anaheim Ducks (then the Mighty Ducks) after spending time in both the WHL and AHL. Babcock’s first year in Anaheim was the best in franchise history (at the time), as they compiled 40 wins to go with 95 points and their first ever appearance in the Stanley Cup finals. The Ducks skated away without the Cup, but the reputation of Mike Babcock was as strong as ever. The Red Wings were able to snatch him away, and this fall he will begin his seventh season in Hockeytown.
Under Babcock, the Red Wings have compiled the best road record in the NHL, while hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2008 to go with two President’s Trophies. Babcock joined a list shared by only Bowman and Glen Slather when he won his 300th game in under a six-year span. Any time you find yourself on a list with only those two, you’ve done something fairly significant. Since 2003, Babcock has coached in 41 more postseason games than his closest coaching counterpart.
The Canadian has been incredible skipper for the Red Wings, and he has been equally as good for the Canadian National Team. Babcock was behind the bench in 2010 when Team Canada outlasted Team USA in the gold medal game at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He also lead Team Canda to a World Junior Championship in 1997 to go with a gold medal in the 2004 World Championships. The victory in 2010 gave Babcock the distinction of being the only coach to have ever won the Olympics, World Championships, and the Stanley Cup.
Red Wings fans seem to have struck the goldmine with the trifecta of Mike Ilitch, Ken Holland, and Coach Babcock. You really can’t ask for a better trio to lead your franchise, and I sincerely hope the Hockeytown faithful appreciate everything they have in front of them.
Mike Babcock is as good a coach as we’ve ever seen in the NHL, and I see no reason for that to cease existence.