After earning another title, Bowman mum on future
Posted: Wednesday June 17, 1998 08:15 PM
Bowman, 64, still has one year remaining on his contract with Detroit, but has not decided if he will return after winning his second consecutive Stanley Cup (AP)|
DETROIT (AP) -- Scotty Bowman has won as many Stanley Cup titles
as anyone in NHL history. Will he go for the record?
question. There are no easy answers where Bowman is concerned.
Bowman tied his mentor Toe Blake on Tuesday when the Detroit Red Wings swept
Capitals, becoming the first NHL team to repeat as Cup champions since
1992. Blake and Bowman each have eight Cup titles.
the entire team coming back next season, it would stand to reason Bowman
would also want to be back. Still, there are no guarantees.
Bowman has a year remaining on his contract. But he is 64 years old and has
strong family ties that could be tugging him home. Plus, if there were ever
a good time to leave the game, riding out on a high note, this might be the
way to do it.
General manager Ken Holland thinks Bowman will
stay. Bowman, when asked, said he was still undecided.
going to talk it over with Kenny Holland, the manager, who I made a deal
with to sign for two years, and also the owner, Mr. [Mike] Illitch," Bowman
said. "It's going to be a tough decision not to come back, I realize that.
But I've got to leave sometime."
Still, now might not be the
time. Not with the likes of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan
Fedorov returning. The only key player who might not return is
defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov, who is 40. But even Fetisov has hinted at
another year or two.
And with Yzerman, the captain, Bowman
knows he will never have any locker-room rebellions. Yzerman plans on being
around at least five more years.
"After last season I thought
about how much longer I wanted to play and that was my 15th season in the
league and I want to play 20," said Yzerman, the MVP of the finals. "So I
would like to play five more."
Whether that would be the
clincher for Bowman is hard to say. But whatever his decision, his
achievements are extraordinary. He has a 1,057-483-278 record in 26 seasons
and a 194-111 mark in the playoffs. He has won five titles with the Montreal Canadiens, two
with Detroit and one with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"It's quite a remarkable accomplishment, especially in this day and
age," Detroit assistant coach Dave Lewis said. "He is such a student of the
game and such a student of the history of the game.
"He has his
finger into every aspect of the game. That's just his nature."
To be sure, Bowman's methods are not always fun for his players. He can be
manipulative, distant and infuriating.
Yet all he does is win.
"At the beginning of the season, everybody was being negative
about the team because we were missing some key guys," center Igor Larionov said.
"But he found a way to balance the team, and that says a lot about his
wisdom. Players know he knows the game."
This might have been
Bowman's most difficult season.
He had to deal with the limo
accident that cost defenseman Vladimir
Konstantinov and team massage therapist Sergei Mnatsakanov their
careers. He had to deal with the trade of Mike Vernon without
his approval. And he had to deal with the holdout of Sergei Fedorov, which
lasted 59 games.
Bowman confronted those challenges the way
he confronts most problems -- with an iron fist. He made everybody play
defense first. Some grumbled, but did what Bowman wanted. It cut into the
scoring of some headline players like Brendan Shanahan. But it made the Red
Wings a better team.
The Red Wings were second in goals
scored with one of the NHL's most balanced attacks. Seven players had 15
goals or more during the regular season. Shanahan, who scored 47 the season
before, was tops with just 28 goals.
"He uses a different way,
and guys understand that," forward Martin LaPointe
said. "He's always keeping you on the edge. He forces you to challenge
So would Bowman come back for a three-peat? Don't
bet against it.
"I want to make sure that I leave at the right
time when I do leave," Bowman said.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.