(HockeyStL) -- St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock became the 11th coach in NHL history to reach 600 victories on Tuesday.
“It’s basically because I’m old,” Hitchcock said after a 2-1 shootout victory against the Vancouver Canucks. “If you last long and you’re old, you get this.”
This milestone went a lot smoother than his last one he remembers.
“I was just telling the guys a story the last time something like this, it was my 1000th game in Columbus and Detroit came in and I think we lost 9-1 or something so this is a much better feeling to be honest with you,” Hitchcock said.
The victory on Tuesday joins Hitchcock with Chicago’ Joel Quenneville as the only active coaches with 600 wins. Six of the 11 coaches with 600 wins have coached the Blues: Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Mike Keenan, Quenneville, Jacques Martin and Hitchcock.
Hitchcock earned his first NHL win on January 22, 1996 with the Dallas Stars. Oddly enough, it came in a 6-4 win against the Canucks.
“I sure do because (goalie) Allan Bester stole the puck,” Hitchcock recalls. “It was my game puck and he stole it. He hadn’t been in the league for six years and he took the game puck.
“We had a wrestling match in the locker room after the game -- he won so I never saw that game puck.”
Bester stopped 35 of 39 shots faced in the win. Ironically, the goalie on the losing side was current Blues goaltender coach Corey Hirsch.
That was then and this is now for Hitchcock, who won the Jack Adams Award last year and is trying to push the Blues into the playoffs for a second time.
“For me, I’m proud to have been able to be a coach in this league, but I’m more proud of how our team is playing right now,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock has posted a 600-381-88-83 record in 1,152 games coached for the Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Blues.