That ability to act unpredictably and succeed intimidates opposing coaches as much as Bowman's championships. On an off day during Detroit's first-round playoff series with the Kings, Los Angeles rookie coach Andy Murray shook his head and said, "Do you know what it's like to have Bowman looking over to see who you're going to put on the ice?"
Hey! Where Is Everyone?
In past years the World Championships featured Canadian and U.S. rosters comparable with a Stanley Cup contender's. Not this time. "This may have been the most difficult year for putting together a team," says Canada coach Tom Renney.
The Canadian team went to St. Petersburg, Russia, site of this year's tournament, which runs until May 14, with a 22-man roster that included only 13 NHL players. That number had risen to 20 by last Saturday's opening games, after such players as Senators defenseman Chris Phillips and Oilers forward Ryan Smyth arrived after their NHL teams had lost in the first round of the playoffs. (The Worlds were scheduled a week later than usual this year to enable such players to participate.) Yet with stars like the Mighty Ducks' Paul Kariya and the Rangers' Theo Fleury having declined invitations, Canada has far less firepower than such European teams as Russia, which has the Panthers' Pavel Bure and the Black-hawks' Alexei Zhamnov.
The U.S. roster includes only 13 NHL players, none of them All-Stars. The rest are minor leaguers and collegians. "We weren't going to kiss anybody's ass," says U.S. coach Lou Vairo. "We want guys who want to be here."
U.S. and Canadian officials say some players stayed home because they feared traveling to Russia, where there has been a rash of attacks on athletes. On Dec. 14 in St. Petersburg, for instance, soccer star Alexandru Curtianu was beaten and robbed in a hallway of his apartment building. "You hear the stories," says Kings defenseman Rob Blake, who has played for Canada in several Worlds but didn't attend this year because of an injury.
Another factor contributing to the small turnout is that playing in the Worlds has lost some of its attraction now that NHL players can also represent their countries in the Olympics.
"Guys have their reasons for not wanting to go," says Canada general manager Cliff Fletcher. "You can't make them."