Last night Darryl Sutter was unable to recall the first game he had ever coached at the NHL level, and following the team’s Friday practice, he wasn’t ready to elevate any of his 500 regular season wins over the rest.

“Quite honest, if you ask me next year, I bet I wouldn’t remember this one,” he said.

Regular season accomplishments mean little for the coach who last year referred to winning a divisional title as an opportunity to hang a “dirty banner.” With 500 career wins, he trails Pat Burns by one win for 16th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Only Joel Quenneville (700 wins), Ken Hitchcock (652), Lindy Ruff (603) and Barry Trotz (548) have won more regular season wins amongst active coaches. His .561 career points percentage ranks ahead of Trotz and Ruff but behind Quenneville and Hitchcock.

“All I care about is playoffs,” he said. “The coaches in the history part of it that coach the most playoff games, that’s the only thing that matters. I’d be more interested in seeing that…And those, stats too, the win stat is really not as important as the winning percentage. Coaches that coach a long time and have a winning percentage that’s in the .600s, in a thousand years, they are the best coaches when you do it for a long time.”

As for the total number of games behind a bench – Sutter ranks 18th all-time with 1,027 games coached, one game behind his brother, Brian – it’s another window dressing-type statistic.

“Playoffs. I mean, there are guys that move around and don’t coach many playoff games. I thought that’s why you play the game. It’s the same with players. I think that’s why you play the game,” he said.

Active NHL Head Coaches, Ranked by Playoff Wins:

Rank) Coach (Team) – Total Playoff Wins – All-Time Playoff Win Ranking
1) Joel Quenneville (Chicago) – 88 – 7th
2) Mike Babcock (Detroit) – 78 – t-9th
t-3) Darryl Sutter (Los Angeles) – 72 – t-11th
t-3) Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis) – 72 – t-11th
5) Lindy Ruff (Dallas) – 57 – t-15th
6) Claude Julien (Boston) – 54 – 18th
7) Bob Hartley (Calgary) – 49 – t-24th
8) John Tortorella (Vancouver) – 43 – t-28th
9) Randy Carlyle (Toronto) – 39 – t-32nd
10) Alain Vigneault (New York Rangers) – 37 – 34th
11) Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh) – 36 – t-35th
12) Dave Tippett (Phoenix) – 33 – 38th
t-13) Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim) – 27 – t-47th
t-13) Todd McLellan (San Jose) – 27 – t-47th
15) Paul Maurice (Winnipeg) – 25 – t-52nd
16) Michel Therrien (Montreal) – 22 – t-59th
17) Barry Trotz (Nashville) – 19 – t-62nd
18) Peter DeBoer (New Jersey) – 14 – t-75th
19) Paul MacLean (Ottawa) – 8 – t-102nd
20) Ted Nolan (Buffalo) – 6 – t-118th
21) Adam Oates (Washington) – 3 – t-138th
22) Jack Capuano (New York Islanders) – 2 – t-154th
23) Mike Yeo (Minnesota) – 1 – t-174th

Coaches without playoff wins: Patrick Roy (Colorado), Craig Berube (Philadelphia), Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay), Todd Richards (Columbus), Kirk Muller (Carolina), Peter Horachek (Florida) and Dallas Eakins (Edmonton)

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