Ken Hitchcock won game number 700 last night, putting him at number four all time on the NHL's win list. He joins an elite group who all have something in common. They've all coached the Blues.
Hitch is at 700. Joel Quenneville is at 746. Al Arbour won 782 games in his career, while the winningest coach of all time, Scotty Bowman, won an untouchable 1,244 games. That number should stand as the record for two days short of forever.
Hitchcock began his NHL career with the Dallas Stars, in which he won his only Stanley Cup. This is what sets him apart from the other three - not the Cup, but where he began his career. Hitch had postseason success with his first team; Quenneville, Arbour, and Bowman did not. All three of these gentlemen began their coaching career with the Blues, and all three were fired by the Blues.
Coach Q began his tenure in 1996, and was fired in 2004 when the team was in danger of not making the playoffs. He's won two Stanley Cups as the coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, along with former Blues head coach Mike Kitchen. He still has seen the playoffs more with the Blues than the Blackhawks, and has more wins with St. Louis than he does with Chicago, and yet...
Al Arbour coached from 1970 through 1972, when ownership lost patience with him thirteen games into the season. He went on to win four consecutive cups with the New York Islanders.
Scotty Bowman was probably the most successful postseason coach in the team's history, leading the team to the Stanley Cup finals their first three seasons (and the last three times hat the Blues have made it that far). After he was fired he went on to win nine Stanley Cups.
Maybe since Hitch didn't start his career here in St. Louis, his time with the Blues will have a different outcome than his peers'. It sure would be nice for a change to see someone win a Cup or two with the Blues than to go on and win a several later.