Stan's Cup: Scotty Bowman strikes again

June 10, 2010

Congrats, Blackhawks fans. Last night was one for the history books. A 49-year-old drought was snapped by a kid sniper less than half that age, and the joy felt by old-timers and new fans alike was something that no one can take away - not even jerk sportswriters. The Blackhawks didn't get lucky. They were the best team in the NHL this year, despite some at-times shaky goaltending. The 'Hawks most lethal asset was depth. Backed by proven veterans like Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and John Madden (no, not that John Madden), the young legs of Kane, Toews, and Byfuglien never tired as the season dragged on, and other teams got weary. The Blackhawks had more depth than other teams not only on the bench, but behind it - in the form of a man that just wins Stanley Cups. Scotty Bowman won his 12th Stanley Cup last night. When he won his first, as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens in 1973, his wife was pregnant. The couple had decided to name their son after the trophy if Montreal won. Young Stan Bowman watched his dad win four more Cups with Montreal in the next six season. Scotty Bowman picked up two more with Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the '90s - one in the front office, and another the following year as head coach (the last year the Blackhawks made the Cup Final, incidentally). While the Blackhawks spent the better part of the next two decades trying to get back to the Final, Bowman was busy hoisting a certain big, silver trophy over and over again. After moving on from Pittsburgh, Bowman landed in Detroit, where he led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup titles as head coach, and helped win a fourth as a consultant after retiring. On the ice during Scotty's 12th Stanley Cup celebration last night, he told a television reporter that he figured he'd stay in Detroit for the rest of his life- his hockey life, at least. But a funny thing happened. Stan Bowman -who grew up watching his dad collect more silverware than any coach in NHL history - was named General Manager of the Blackhawks. And showing his managerial acumen in one, all-too-easily ignored move, Stan decided to give pops a call, tapping him as a Senior Advisor. Scotty Bowman told reporters yesterday that his main input with the team was on the coaching front. He talked strategy with coach Joel Quenneville before crucial games. To have the greatest hockey coach in the sport's history giving you a little extra advice can probably be useful at times. Especially when trying to win a title that had eluded Quenneville for his entire career and Chicago for 49 years - probably because Scotty Bowman was so busy hoarding them. Credit is due, of course, to Quenneville for apparently taking the advice and not letting ego and insecurities get in the way of coaching gospel. And of course, credit to Stan Bowman. He didn't just bring in the dad who named him after a trophy he can't stop winning, but he also signed key free agents to back Chicago's young stars, and helped shepherd a positive, winning culture at the United Center. Stan's Cup is one Chicago fans won't soon forget. But don't short-change Scotty's magic.
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