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A Look Back at the Professional Career of Scotty Bowman

August 28th, 2013 at 11:30 PM
By Andrew McIntyre

'Scotty Bowman' photo (c) 2007, Bluesguy from NY - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Scotty Bowman had his playing career cut short as he suffered a fractured skull injury playing minor hockey. Although he wasn't able to play on the ice, Bowman would go on to make a massive impact off the ice. He has developed himself into one of the most accomplished, respected, influential and impactful people in NHL history.

Bowman started his NHL coaching career with the St. Louis Blues in 1967. The Blues were an expansion team that season and Bowman joined the team as an Assistant Coach. Shortly into the season, Head Coach Lynn Patrick resigned and Bowman assumed his duties. In 58 games, he went on to coach the Blues to the playoffs with a 23-21-14 record. Bowman would continue to coach the Blues through the 1970-1971 season. 

In 1972-1973, Bowman left the Blues for the Montreal Canadiens. He would spend the next eight seasons in Montreal, five of which the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. Under Bowman, the Canadiens won more than 45 games each season and qualified for the playoffs every year. Bowman had a falling out with ownership and stepped down after the 1978-1979 season.

In 1979, Bowman joined the Buffalo Sabres as Head Coach and General Manager. Bowman served as Buffalo's GM until 1987. He also assumed the double role of Head Coach numerous times. At the time of his departure, Bowman was the all-time leader in wins for a Head Coach in Sabres history. In the 1985-1986 season, Bowman missed the playoffs for the only time as a Head Coach. He was let go by the team at the end of the 1986-1987 season.

Bowman would then go on to serve as an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada. It wouldn't be until 1990 where Bowman would come back into the NHL. He joined the Pittsburgh Penguins as their Director of Player Personnel. The following year in 1991, Bowman was inducted in the Hockey Hall Of Fame. In the same year, Penguins Head Coach Bob Johnson passed away due to brain cancer, so once again Bowman stepped in to fill the role as Head Coach. Bowman only coached the Penguins for two seasons but the team succeeded with him at the helm. In his first year, they repeated as Stanley Cup champions and they achieved their first 100-point season in franchise history. They also set the NHL record for consecutive wins at 17. 

In 1993-1994, after his quick stint with the Penguins, Bowman took the Head Coaching job in Detroit to coach the Red Wings. He would go on to coach the Red Wings for nine seasons, winning the Stanley Cup three more times. The Red Wings started to become a dynasty during this time and were constantly a threat to win the Cup every year. Bowman would retire from coaching in 2002. 

Since retiring from coaching, he has spent time with the Red Wings as a special consultant as well as most recently the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Chicago Blackhawks. He would go on to win the Stanley Cup three more times, once with the Red Wings (2008) and twice with the Blackhawks (2010, 2013)

To say Scotty Bowman has accomplished a lot during his time in the NHL is an understatement. Bowman has 13 Stanley Cup victories (9 coaching and 4 front office). He has the most wins all-time for an NHL Head Coach with 1,244. He spent 30 seasons coaching where he revolutionized the game of hockey. He has made a huge impact to hockey inside the rink, as well as outside and should be acknowledged for all that he has done.

Congratulations Scotty Bowman on an incredible career in the NHL. Well deserved.

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Tags: Blackhawks, BLUES, BOWMAN, CANADIENS, Chicago, Chicago Blackhawks, Hockey, NHL, RED WINGS, SABRES, SCOTTY BOWMAN

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