Ken Hitchcock will go down as one of the most successful head coaches over the last 20 years, regardless of whether or not he gets another chance in the league.
Hitchcock was fired Wednesday by the St. Louis Blues. He leaves his fourth NHL coaching stop with 781 career victories, trailing only Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville and Al Arbour.
Only Bowman, Arbour, Quenneville, and Lindy Ruff have coached more regular-season NHL games than Hitchcock, who’s piled up 1,454.
A detailed look at Hitchcock’s track record over two decades in the NHL:
DALLAS STARS (1995-2002)
Number of seasons: 7
Deepest run: Stanley Cup win in 1999
Points percentage: .622
Report: Hitchcock led the Stars to their first Cup win in ’99 and then made it all the way back to the final in 2000, only to fall to the New Jersey Devils in six games. A second-round exit the next season followed by a 23-17-6 start to the 2001-02 campaign, and Hitchcock was gone as head coach, replaced by Rick Wilson. Hitchcock remains the all-time franchise leader with 277 regular-season wins and 47 playoff victories. It remains the longest stop of his NHL coaching tenure so far.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (2002-2006)
Number of seasons: 4
Deepest run: Eastern Conference final in 2004
Points percentage: .614
Hitchcock took a team led by Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick to the brink of the Cup final in 2004 only to fall in the first round in the year after the 2004-05 lockout. The Flyers then got trounced in the first eight games of the ’05-06 season, dropping six of eight while being outscored 32-15. Hitchcock was replaced by John Stevens, who fared no better: Philadelphia ended with the worst record in the league (56 points) and the second overall pick at the 2007 draft. This was Hitchcock’s shortest tenure behind an NHL bench (254 games).
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (2006-2010)
Number of seasons: 4
Deepest run: First round in 2009
Points percentage: .504
Hitchcock earned a place in Blue Jackets history when guided the team to its first ever playoff berth in 2009 â€” a four-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. It took only 58 games the following season for the Jackets to move on from Hitchcock â€” who signed a three-year extension in the summer of 2008 â€” and replace him with Claude Noel. Hitchcock remains the club’s longest tenured head coach at 284 regular-season games.
ST. LOUIS BLUES (2011-2017)
Number of seasons: 6
Deepest run: Western Conference Final in 2016
Points percentage: .650
Hitchcock captured the Jack Adams trophy as coach of the year in his first season behind the Blues bench. St. Louis grabbed a league-leading 537 points during his tenure (tied with Pittsburgh for top spot), and their 248 victories trail only the Penguins. But after reaching the Western final last spring the Blues fell off, only just hanging onto a wild card spot at the time of Hitchcock’s firing. The head coach was felled in large part by the worst goaltending in the league. The tandem of Jake Allen and Carter Hutton has been a real sore spot for the Blues all season.
Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press