Stan's Cup would be special to dad

Jun 9 2010 - 10:44pm

CHICAGO -- Back in 1992, the last time the Blackhawks were in the Stanley Cup finals, Scotty Bowman and his son, Stan, celebrated together at the end of that series the way they hope to when this one is over.

Scotty was the coach of the Penguins team that swept the Hawks and Stan was a finance student at Notre Dame who spent that day of summer break sitting next to his mom, Suella, inside the old Chicago Stadium. During the Cup presentation, Scotty waved Stan onto the ice to share the experience with him.

"I wanted him to feel part of the family," Scotty recalled Monday. "But this would be a lot different."

This, a Stanley Cup title for the Blackhawks that's one victory away, would produce feelings of pride within Bowman unique to his previous 11 championships with three other organizations as a coach or executive.

This would be even more personal, a chance to watch the boy he named after the Stanley Cup in 1973 -- and whose middle name Glenn came from former Blues and Blackhawks '61 Cup-winning goalie Glenn Hall -- realize his profession's pinnacle as a man.

This would be why Bowman came to Chicago in 2008 to serve as the team's senior adviser when he already had done enough to qualify for a spot on hockey's Mount Rushmore.

"I wanted to work with (Stan) and I would have regretted it if I hadn't come when (former GM) Dale (Tallon) called," said Bowman, 76. "You're not 24/7 in this role, but you're still part of a team. I've enjoyed that mix."

The enjoyment shows. At Sunday's morning skate before Game 5, Bowman was spotted in the dressing room diagramming a play on the greaseboard the way perhaps only he saw it. It's like the Hawks have a walking, talking version of Google on the payroll that allows them to search Bowman's brain for whatever hockey questions arise. It would be foolish not to access that mental database.

On the trip home after the Flyers had evened the series at 2-2, for example, Bowman recalled discussing with Joel Quenneville the line changes Coach Q made in Game 5 that contributed to Dustin Byfuglien's breakout and team's seven-goal outburst.

"Joel knew (Chris) Pronger was having a good series and wanted to give Pronger everything he could handle by spreading out the scoring," Bowman said. "Joel should get all the credit for what happened."

Bowman also played a major role in the decision before Game 3 of the Canucks series that helped Byfuglien re-emerge by moving Big Buff from defense back onto the top line where he could plant his 6-foot-4, 257-pound body in front of Roberto Luongo, who was rattled. It was similar to the approach Bowman used with crease-clogger Tomas Holmstrom with the Red Wings.

Until Game 5's line changes, had there been a more significant personnel move made in the playoffs?

"All I did was say I thought Buff needed a little more ice time -- and so did Joel," Bowman said. "We thought if you push his minutes up -- and he's got to earn them too -- then the more minutes he's on the ice, maybe something happens. It was a terrific move."

Anything else Quenneville should know this close to history?

"You look back, the first Cup you win as a coach, it's special," Bowman said. "It's strange. I know everything about that 1973 series to this day, the lines, every detail of every game. That was my first Cup and after it, you breathe a sigh of relief and think, 'OK, I'm going to be coaching a little longer.' "

Give Bowman credit for all the sound advice he has offered. But give Quenneville as much praise for accepting it. It takes a secure hockey coach to succeed in the shadow of someone with an NHL-record 1,224 wins. Imagine making dinner every night with Rick Bayless in your kitchen.

"The coaches have been very open-minded," Bowman said. "Even though Stan's the (general) manager, I don't speak as much about the team to Stan as I do to Joel and his staff. I have a lot more fun with that."

He has savored every moment of this series, which reminds him of 1973 when his Canadiens and the Blackhawks engaged in a similar wide-open, high-scoring affair that made Tony Esposito and Ken Dryden, "two of the best goalies of the 1970s," look vulnerable.

He has appreciated the style of this Hawks team, which resembles the '76 Cup-winning Canadiens to Bowman for the way they have meshed new players with young stars.

He has marveled at the depth of the Hawks' roster, guys such as Kris Versteeg and Dave Bolland, who Bowman called "one of the most underrated out there."

But Bowman knows all the fun could be spoiled unless the Hawks find the focus in Philly they lost after going up 2-0.

"You get this close, you want to put your foot on the pedal," Bowman said. "Don't put numbers on a game, worrying about 'Game 6 or Game 7'. You've won three games. Just go win a fourth."

If they do, Scotty knows the celebration with Stan will mean much more than the last time they were on the ice after a Blackhawks game for a Stanley Cup presentation.

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