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Super Conductor

May 10, 1993
May 10, 1993

Table of Contents
May 10, 1993

Kentucky Derby
Savage Assault
The Phillies
NBA Playoffs
Stanley Cup Playoffs
Gail Devers
John Olerud
Scotty Bowman
Point After

Super Conductor

Scotty Bowman—the NHL's winningest coach—and his Pittsburgh Penguins are on track to win a third straight Stanley Cup

Abrupt, straightforward, without flair or charm, he seems cold and abrasive, sometimes obnoxious, controversial but never colorful. He is not Vince Lombardi, tough and gruff with a heart of gold. His players don't sit around telling hateful-affectionate stories about him.... He is complex, confusing, misunderstood, unclear in every way but one. He is a brilliant coach, the best of his time.
—KEN DRYDEN, 1983
The Game

This is an article from the May 10, 1993 issue

The players are different now. And I found out you can do things differently.
—SCOTTY BOWMAN, 1993

This story might have been subtitled "The mellowing of hockey's winningest coach." Might have been if 59-year-old William Scott Bowman had cooperated and mellowed to any appreciable degree. He hasn't. Oh, he has smoothed out some of the renowned rough edges he featured in the 1960s, when as a young up-and-comer he cajoled and browbeat the expansion St. Louis Blues into overachieving their way into three straight Stanley Cup finals.

He has tempered the unpredictable, intimidating style he used in the '70s, when, chin distinctively thrust out, he drove the firewagon-style Montreal Canadiens to five Stanley Cups in eight years. Recently he has even shown himself to be human now and again, shucking the brusque armor he wore during the '80s, when, as full-time general manager and sometime coach, he steered the Buffalo Sabres to, on average, 95 points per season, falling short of his ultimate goal: winning a sixth Stanley Cup. But you wouldn't say the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins has mellowed.

Any temptation to think so is laid to rest by a chance meeting with a taxi driver who regularly services the downtown hotel in Pittsburgh that Bowman calls home during the hockey season. (Bowman still lives in Buffalo, where he commutes once every two weeks during the season, schedule permitting.) "I almost got in a fight with him last year," says the cabbie, some 30 years Bowman's junior. "I was parked where he couldn't get past me in the garage, and he wasn't any too subtle telling me to move. He's definitely got an attitude. I finally told him to relax or he was going to have a heart attack."

Tact has never been a Bowman trademark. As for subtlety, it is surely no coincidence that Bowman's father, John, who died last December at the age of 90, spent 31 years toiling as a blacksmith. Like father, like son. Only Bowman's hammer is his tongue, his anvil is his certitude, and pity the person whose ego gets caught between them. Bowman is a bottom-line guy—high on results, low on posturing. At the end of the day he's interested in two things: Did we win? and, What can I do to help us win tomorrow? Some coaches teach; others inspire. Bowman wins. It's his nature.

Bowman traces his competitiveness to his 86-year-old mother, Jean, who to this day will throw her cards in the fire if she loses at euchre. "If you like the game, Scott, why lose at it?" she once said to him, and that advice would look good as his epitaph. Bowman has been hockey's alltime winningest coach since December 1984, when his Sabres beat the Chicago Blackhawks for his 691st career win, eclipsing the mark of one of his mentors, Montreal's Dick Irvin.

Today, in his 21st season coaching in the NHL, Bowman's regular-season record stands at 834-380-226, a winning percentage of .657, easily the highest of anyone who has coached more than 600 games. Bowman, who at week's end was 134-79 in the postseason, also has more playoff wins than any other coach. His teams have been winning for so long that the NHL's second-winningest coach, Al Arbour of the New York Islanders, who has 745 regular-season victories, played for Bowman in St. Louis. Heck, it was Bowman who first put Arbour behind the bench 23 seasons ago, and they're both still going strong. "In the back of my mind, I'd like to get 1,000 wins, including playoffs," Bowman says. "It would take another good season, but I'm charged up because we have a good team."

A great team is more like it. The Penguins, who beat the New Jersey Devils in five games in the opening round of the playoffs and who at week's end trail the Islanders one game to none in the Patrick Division finals, have won two straight Stanley Cups and are odds-on favorites for a third. This season the Penguins had the league's best record, 56-21-7, reeling off a 17-game winning streak in March and April that broke the NHL record.

And if Bowman is kinder and gentler with the Penguins than he was with the Blues, the Canadiens and the Sabres—and he is—it's not because he has mellowed. It's because he has discovered that to win in Pittsburgh in the '90s requires a different formula than was needed in Montreal in the '70s. "I don't think Scotty could do the things now that he did years ago," says Mario Lemieux, whom Bowman calls the greatest player he has seen in his 26 years in the league. "Not with the kind of team we have in Pittsburgh."

"Scotty still has that intensity, but it's somewhat softened," says Penguin general manager Craig Patrick, who brought an element of generational symmetry to Bowman's coaching career when he offered him the Penguin job. Bowman's first NHL coaching position was offered to him by the late Lynn Patrick, Craig's father. "He's still driven," Patrick says. "I think he wants to be the winningest coach ever."

But isn't he already?

Says Patrick, "I don't think he wants anyone ever to touch him."

Bowman, the second-oldest of four children, grew up in Verdun, a working-class suburb of Montreal. His parents were Scottish immigrants, and if he learned competitiveness from his mother, Bowman learned the value of hard work from his father, who in 31 years of pounding sheet metal for the railway never took a sick day. The Bowmans lived on a street lined by 26 tenements, 13 on each side, six families per tenement, more than 150 families on the block. Bowman rattles off these numbers as if he had visited that street yesterday. He is comfortable with numbers, more comfortable with numbers than he is with people. One thousand wins. Six Cups. Twenty-six tenements. He has such a precise mind that some of his Penguin players refer to him as Rainman.

As a lad Bowman could strap on his blades in front of his apartment and skate down snow-covered 5th Avenue, through the back alleys, to the city rinks where he learned to play hockey. Verdun had dozens of rinks. By March 1951 Bowman was a pro prospect. He was 17 years old, a small, quick, talented forward for the respected Junior Canadiens. Then, almost as soon as his playing career had started, it was over. In the final minutes of a Junior A playoff game at the Montreal Forum, Bowman broke in alone on goal, chased by a defenseman named Jean-Guy Talbot, whose team, Trois-Rivières, was on the verge of being eliminated. Out of pure frustration Talbot swung his stick at Bowman once, twice, striking him in the shoulder and then the head. Bowman, like every player back then, wasn't wearing a helmet. He went down like a tree. "Scott put his hand up," Jean Bowman recalled not long ago, "and a piece of his skull came off of his head."

"It was like being scalped," Bowman says.

Talbot was suspended from hockey for a year, a suspension that was lifted eight months later. He went on to play 17 years in the NHL. Bowman, his skull fractured, hung up his blades at 18.

Did he ever forgive Talbot? Did he ever speak to the so-and-so again? "It was in the heat of the game, eh?" Bowman says matter-of-factly. "He just totally lost it. It was his fifth penalty of the game. We picked him up on waivers, and he played for me three years in St. Louis."

Classic Bowman. He doesn't hold grudges. Grudges can't help you win hockey games. But he learned something about hockey players from his own misfortune, something he would always remember, a motivational tool he would employ throughout his coaching career. There is no greater punishment a coach can inflict on a hockey player than to not let him play.

His playing career over, Bowman turned to coaching. First 12-and 13-year-olds, then 14 and 15. By the time he was 22, Bowman was coaching 20-year-olds at the Junior B level. It paid him $250 a year, so to make a living he took a job at a paint company five minutes from the Forum. Every day he took an early lunch, 11 a.m. to noon, so he could walk down and watch Dick Irvin's Canadiens practice.

Irvin used to say that if you could get your team to laugh before a big game, you had an edge. Bowman watched, learned, absorbed. People noticed him, marveled at how Bowman commanded respect from players nearly his own age. In 1956 the Junior Canadiens moved from Montreal to Ottawa, and the team's coach and general manager, Sam Pollock, asked the 23-year-old Bowman to be his assistant. "Pollock was a very demanding coach," says Bowman. "His philosophy was, You go with your best players as much as you can. I learned that from him."

Pollock was also aloof, private, intimidating. Bowman would later display all those traits. After the team won the 1958 Memorial Cup, the top prize in junior hockey, Bowman took over his own Junior A team in Peterborough, Ont. He coached there for three seasons, then became the Montreal Canadiens' head scout for eastern Canada. But he missed coaching, missed being with a team and moved back behind the bench of the Junior Canadiens in '63-64.

It was then that he met Montreal's Toe Blake, the only man to coach more Cup winners (eight) than Bowman. "I used to go into his office a lot," says Bowman. "And he might say something like, 'I'll let you in on a tip. Your friend Terry Harper's not going to play much tonight.' He knew how each of his players did against everyone else. Certain guys do well against one team but not another. He was a good strategist and a good matchup man and wasn't afraid to sit guys out to change his ammunition."

When Bowman's Junior Canadiens were matched up against a superior opponent in the playoffs, Blake called him in and drew up three radically different fore-checking schemes for Bowman to try. All of them worked, and Bowman learned another lesson: If you threw something different at a team, almost anything, it got the players out of rhythm, slowed them down, kept them off balance. No matter how clever the opposing coach was, it took his team some time to react to the changes. And by that time Bowman, always a step ahead, might have altered his strategy again. It was a good way to play when you were outmanned. "I found out that if you're going to win games, you had better be ready to adapt," he says.

"When the puck is dropped, there has never been anyone who could run a bench better than Scotty," Toronto general manager Cliff Fletcher, an assistant general manager in St. Louis during the Bowman years, once said. "He was always-three or four moves ahead of the opposition. So his players knew they only had to be as good as the other team. Scotty would make the difference."

Bowman was just 33 when Lynn Patrick, the expansion Blues' first coach and general manager, hired him as assistant coach for the '67-68 season. Craig Patrick had played for Bowman with the Junior Canadiens and described Bowman to his father as "very stern, but fair." On more than one occasion, Craig Patrick recalls, Bowman made him and his teammates hold a practice before school, at five or six in the morning, after they had just spent all night on a bus returning from a game. He insisted his players keep their own plus-minus records in a notebook—this is some 20 years before the NHL began keeping that statistic—and occasionally checked to see if the notebooks were up to date. "He was known then as a very bright, innovative young hockey man," Craig says, "and he was the first guy my dad hired."

Lynn Patrick put Bowman in charge of the Blues' defensemen. The team won just four of its first 15 games but was leading the Philadelphia Flyers by a goal in its next outing when Bowman advised Patrick to have a certain player skip a shift. Patrick ignored the advice, and with that player on the ice the Flyers scored and went on to win the game. At two o'clock the next morning Bowman got a call from Patrick. "I've always prided myself in having the right players on the ice at the right time," Lynn said. "I think this coaching business has passed me by."

Bowman took over behind the bench the next game, and under his guidance the Blues went 23-21-14 the rest of the way to finish third in the Western Division. In the playoffs they pulled off two seven-game upsets to advance to the 1968 Cup finals, where they lost to Blake's powerful Canadiens, four games to none, each game decided by a single goal.

That was the start. Each of the next two seasons the Blues won the Western Division and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. They had limited talent but an outstanding, experienced defense that thrived under Bowman's system. In 1968-69, with Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante in goal, the Blues posted 13 shutouts and a goals-against average of 2.07, the lowest ever by a team in the post-expansion era. "People didn't know how good Bowman was," the late Dan Kelly, the team's broadcaster, once recounted. "He was the first guy to use videotape to scout other teams. He knew more about the other team than the guy coaching them. That was a secret to his success."

Another reason for Bowman's success was his unpredictability, a trait he felt gave him an edge, both with the opposition and with his own players. "We did a lot of crazy things back then," Bowman says. One week he made the Blues practice at 8 a.m., then again at 4 p.m., so they had to commute to and from the rink during rush hour like the rest of the working world. "They were ready to play hockey at the end of that week," Bowman says.

Another time, in a story Bowman denies, he told Bob Plager, who now scouts for the Blues, to pack his bags and go to the airport because he was being traded. Plager, who had two brothers on the Blues, was to call Bowman from the airport to find out which team to report to. When Plager called, Bowman told him to come back, that he had decided not to trade him.

The Blues fell to second place in 1970-71, Bowman's fourth year, when he resumed the coaching duties after Arbour, who had succeeded him, returned to the active roster in February. The year before, Bowman had also become the team's general manager. In the first round of the '71 playoffs, the Blues were ousted by the Minnesota North Stars. The next day the owner's son, Sid Salomon III, informed Bowman that he wanted neither Arbour nor Fletcher back the next season. Bowman replied that if they were leaving, he was too, and he resigned. In retrospect Salomon's gaffe may have been the worst front-office move in hockey history. Twenty-three years later St. Louis is still awaiting its first Stanley Cup, while Fletcher, Arbour and Bowman have, among them, been associated with 12 Cup champions on four different teams. And counting.

Bowman's other mentor, Pollock, had become the Canadiens' general manager, so it was no surprise when, in 1971, he hired the 37-year-old Bowman as coach, a position he had been destined to fill since his skull had been fractured on the Forum ice 20 years earlier. Thus began Bowman's Montreal era, an eight-year span during which his teams won five Cups and had an amazing 419-110-105 record, a .742 winning percentage. They had seasons of 60, 59 and 58 wins, the three highest victory totals in NHL history. The best year, 1976-77, the Canadiens had 132 points. "That record is pretty safe," Bowman says. "With today's payrolls, I don't know if you can keep that many good players on one team anymore."

"He was an intense, intense individual," says Doug Risebrough, a forward on those Montreal teams and now general manager of the Calgary Flames. "He treated every game as if it was the most important game of the year, and he expected everyone to treat it the same way."

If you like the game, Scott, why lose at it?

The funny thing was, the better the Canadiens played and the more they won, the harder Bowman tried to find fault with them. "If you were playing well and winning hockey games, he got more...I shouldn't say irritable, but the higher his intensity grew," says former Canadien winger Pete Mahovlich. "We'd get to a certain point, and he'd say, 'O.K., let's cut the goals-against down—never mind scoring a whole bunch of goals.' There was no such thing as an easy game to Scotty Bowman."

Once a game started Bowman was utterly in control and absolutely unpredictable. Some games he used four lines, double-shifting All-Star Guy Lafleur to prevent opponents from shadowing him. Other games he went exclusively with his big-three defensemen, Serge Savard, Larry Robinson and Guy Lapointe. With a lead, his defensive specialists—Risebrough, Bob Gainey, Doug Jarvis, Yvon Lambert—saw the bulk of the ice time. When the Canadiens trailed, players like Lafleur, Mahovlich, Yvon Cournoyer, Pierre Larouche and Steve Shutt carried the load. "A lot of coaches back then thought their job was just to open the door and change lines," says Shutt. "Scotty changed all that. I remember one game at the Forum, the ref made a bad call, really obvious. Scotty didn't even yell at the ref. He went right around the rink and started yelling at [then NHL executive vice-president] Brian O'Neill. That's intimidating to a ref. Scotty doesn't just fly off the handle. He knows what he's doing. It's all premeditated."

To a man, the Canadiens respected him. But very few admitted to liking him. Ken Dryden, one player who did, wrote in his marvelous book, The Game: "Scotty Bowman is not someone who is easy to like. He has no coach's con about him. He does not slap backs, punch arms, or grab elbows. He doesn't search eyes, spew out ingratiating blarney, or disarm with faint enervating praise. He is shy and not very friendly."

By design the Canadiens had an overabundance of specialty players—tough guys, speedy guys, emotional guys—each of whom might or might not be dressed, depending on the nature of that night's opponent. When Bowman did sit a guy out, he seldom explained the move to the player. "All he was thinking about was winning games," Shutt says. "He didn't care if he hurt feelings. He was going to do what he had to do, and personalities weren't going to get in the way."

In short he treated his players as professionals. Not as friends, and certainly not as needy, insecure youths, which many of them were. He allowed beer on charter flights and buses. He seldom checked on curfew. Glen Sather, who played for Bowman's Canadiens in '74-75, remembers skiing right past Bowman one time in Lake Tahoe during an off day on the road, a direct violation of team rules. Bowman never said a word. All Bowman cared about was a player's performance on the ice.

He left the Canadiens in 1979, shortly after Montreal had won its fourth straight Cup. Bypassed for Montreal's general manager position, Bowman accepted an offer to be coach and general manager of the Sabres, and for the next seven-plus seasons his Buffalo teams had a 210-134-60 record with him behind the bench. But the Sabres were perennial disappointments in the playoffs, never advancing beyond the conference finals. Critics said that his caustic, impersonal style, so successful at spurring his veteran players in Montreal and St. Louis, was ill-suited for the young, inexperienced Buffalo players.

"I can remember him yelling, 'Patrick, you're nothing but an underachiever,' " said Steve Patrick, Bowman's first-round draft pick in 1980, after he was traded to the New York Rangers in 1984. "Once I had a chance to score in Philly, the goalie was down, and I couldn't get the puck up. Afterwards Scotty walked by me, and no eye contact. Nothing. He was like that. Then we walked by each other again, and he sort of stopped in his tracks and said, 'Steve, you had the whole net open, and you couldn't even put the puck in it?' Then he just walked away."

"Off the ice, away from hockey, he's as good a guy as you'd ever hope to meet," says Roger Neilson, who was Bowman's assistant in Buffalo in '79-80 and the team's head coach in '80-81. "Around hockey he's very demanding. He motivates by fear. Players are never quite sure where they stand."

Bowman certainly kept Tom Barrasso guessing. He made Barrasso Buffalo's first-round draft choice in 1983, a gutsy selection considering that no goalie from a U.S. high school had ever been taken that early. But Barrasso made him look pretty smart. In 1983-84 he was Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-Star and won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder. When Barrasso and the team got off to a slow start the next season, Bowman dispatched him to the minor leagues after just six starts with nary an encouraging word. "I wanted to beat the——out of somebody," Barrasso said at the time. "It was humiliating."

Bowman ignored the carping, but no amount of badgering or mind games could overcome the Sabres' fundamental shortcoming: They didn't have the horses. In the NHL the Stanley Cup tends to follow the league's best player, and Buffalo's best player in the Bowman years, whoever he might have been, was not among the league's top 10. Bowman began to lose his appetite for coaching. Problem was, Bowman the general manager couldn't hire a coach who was his equal behind the bench. Bowman hired and then personally replaced Neilson (in 1981), Jimmy Roberts (in 1982) and Jim Schoenfeld (in 1986). "I was spread too thin doing the two jobs," Bowman says. "Looking back I should have been in the trade market more the last two years, but if the same man is coaching and managing, he ends up juggling one job or the other."

In November 1986, with the Sabres off to a poor start, Bowman stepped down as coach for a fourth time to concentrate on his general manager duties. The team, however, continued to struggle. Less than a month later he was fired.

Bowman is, by all accounts, devoted to his family. It's difficult to know when to insert that information into this story, because he keeps the two—hockey and family—distinctly separate. He has a wife, Suella, and five kids: Alicia, 22; David, 20; Stanley, 19; and 16-year-old twins, Nancy and Bob. David, blind and born with hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain, has spent most of his life in an institution for the mentally handicapped.

The twins are seniors at Buffalo-area high schools, and Bob plays varsity hockey. Bowman used to make a backyard rink for the kids—boards, lights, the whole bit—and found it unbelievably therapeutic, after a Sabre game, to go there with a hose and resurface the ice late at night. It brought back memories of his childhood in Verdun. Or he would relax by running his model train set. It would probably surprise a lot of people to know that Scotty Bowman likes to play with a model train set, that he takes great pride in its extensive layout. But he is a man of many layers and surprises.

"That's been the toughest part," he says of living in the Pittsburgh hotel, away from his wife and kids. But Bowman had made a deal with his family: Once the twins started high school, he wouldn't ask them to move. They could finish school in Buffalo, regardless of where he might be working. "Kids change so much when they're in high school," he says. "So much happens to them that you're not part of."

After leaving the Sabres, Bowman spent three years as an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada, but as had happened years before, he missed being part of a team. When Craig Patrick offered him the job as the Penguins' director of player personnel in 1990, Bowman jumped at it. It was a good fit for everyone. Bowman could remain in Buffalo with his family, scout teams for Bob Johnson, then the Penguin coach, and occasionally commute to Pittsburgh for consultations.

As a coach Badger Bob was as different from Bowman in style as one could imagine—garrulous, cheerful, an incessant communicator, nonconfrontational, paternal. But they shared a deep mutual respect and had much in common. (Johnson, too, had a mentally handicapped child who lived away from home.) After watching Lemieux get shadowed one game, Bowman made a suggestion to Johnson: Tell Mario to pick up an opposing player on the ice when he's being shadowed, so he'll have two guys on him. It was a tactic Bowman sometimes had used with Lafleur. Johnson liked the idea but asked Bowman to present it to Mario himself. "He made me feel I was part of the coaching staff, and I wasn't," Bowman says.

The Penguins were a relaxed outfit under Johnson and led by the unstoppable Lemieux went on to win the 1991 Stanley Cup. That summer the hockey world was stunned when Johnson was stricken with brain cancer. Patrick appointed Bowman, who had traveled with the team throughout the playoffs, the interim coach. "It wasn't like Craig said, 'Come in and coach for the year,' " Bowman recalls. "It was, 'Keep the job until Bob comes back.' We hung on to the hope that a miracle would happen. But a month into the season, we knew he wasn't coming back."

Johnson died in November '91, and Patrick, believing the team had gone through enough changes, asked Bowman to finish the year. The Penguins didn't play as soundly on defense as he liked, but Bowman was reluctant to tamper too much with a style that had won them the Cup. There was also the matter of changing his temperament. "I was aware that if I coached the way I did in the past," Bowman says, "it wouldn't have brought the same results. I knew I had to be different. If you're critical of a player today, especially openly, it's perceived as being negative. Bob Johnson was so positive. You have to stroke them more."

It wasn't an easy thing to radically alter a coaching style that had made him so successful. And the transition didn't happen overnight. "He was such a hard-line coach in the past," says Barrasso, who ironically now tends goal for the Penguins, "and we were such a relaxed team, that there was a period of adjustment. It was February or March until he was comfortable."

Bowman chose not to run the Penguins' practices, delegating that responsibility to Johnson's—now his—assistants, Barry Smith and Rick Kehoe. He kept a wary distance from the team, and the team muddled along with a 39-32-9 regular-season record. "Scotty, especially at first, was not as available as Badger," says Lemieux. "He's changed a lot since then. He's become a little closer to the players. With the type of team we have, it's important for the coach to be close."

The turning point may have come in the opening round of last year's playoffs, after the Penguins fell behind the Washington Capitals three games to one. Pittsburgh had been unable to control the Capitals' offense, particularly the role Washington's defensemen played in the offense. Lemieux, of all people, came up with a defensive plan. "He came to me the morning of the fifth game and said, 'Why don't we surprise them and play the game close to the vest. Tight, tight, tight,' " Bowman recalls. "I'd never pushed a lot of defensive hockey on this team, but since it was Mario who suggested it...."

They cooked up a forechecking system called the 1-4 delay, in which the Penguins didn't chase the puck in the offensive zone but stacked the neutral zone with players and thought of the blue line as a battleground. It was remarkably similar to one of the forechecking systems Blake had drawn up for Bowman 30 years earlier, when he was coaching the Junior Canadiens. At the Penguins' morning meeting, it was introduced to the rest of the team. Kehoe started to explain it, when Bowman interrupted.

"Fellas, this idea came from Mario," he said. Then he asked Lemieux to explain the 1-4 delay. "Go ahead, Mario."

Lemieux, embarrassed, said no, thank you, that Kehoe was doing just fine. "The team laughed," Bowman remembers. "They got a big kick out of that." He also remembered what Irvin had said so many years before: If you could get your team to laugh before a big game, it gave you an edge. The Penguins, of course, swept the next three games to eliminate the Caps. They then defeated the Rangers, who had been the NHL's top team in the regular season; then the Boston Bruins; and then the Blackhawks, reeling off 11 straight playoff wins, a record, en route to their second—and Bowman's sixth—Stanley Cup. Says Bowman, "As great as our teams were in Montreal, we never won 11 straight. We got on a roll and never looked back."

Nor have the Penguins looked back this season. It is a trademark of Bowman's teams—never look back, never be satisfied. If tonight's game is important enough to play, it's important enough to win. "Scotty's underlying persona hasn't changed," says Barrasso. "He still wants to be the best coach in the game. He's still the same in the locker room and the best bench coach ever. It's almost unthinkable that he would have the wrong players on the ice at the wrong time. What has changed tremendously is his mental approach to players. In the past you could walk right by him and it was like you weren't there. It was impossible to show any friendliness toward him. Now he might speak to you about your family or the weather. He's a more open person."

"I have more experience, more patience," Bowman says. "Players are much more sensitive today. It used to be, if a guy's unhappy, so what? Now it might disturb the chemistry of the team. You take players off the ice, and you see they have the big lip on. So you have to explain they missed a few shifts because we needed more offense. You hope they accept it. Ten years ago I wouldn't have bothered. That's the reality of team sports today." He shrugs. "In many ways, it's more intriguing now."

In many ways, so is he.

PHOTOJEFFREY LOWEA kinder, gentler Bowman plays with model trains.PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLALemieux (left) is the best Bowman ever coached; Barrasso says Bowman is now a "more open person."PHOTOSCOTT WACHTER[See caption above.]PHOTOPAUL BERESWILL[See caption above.]PHOTOTONY TRIOLOIn St. Louis, with Plante and Arbour (in glasses, with Bobby Hull), Bowman reached three Cup finals.PHOTOJAMES DRAKE[See caption above.]PHOTORICH CLARKSON[See caption above.]PHOTOTONY TRIOLOWith Dryden (above) and Lafleur, Bowman's Habs dominated the '70s.PHOTOJOHN G. ZIMMERMAN[See caption above.]PHOTODICK RAPHAEL[See caption above.]TWO PHOTOSPAUL BERESWILLIn 1985 Bowman's mom and dad were in Buffalo after he broke the coaching record.PHOTOJEFFREY LOWEBowman at home with (from left) Nancy, Alicia, Suella, Stanley and Bob.PHOTOJEFFREY LOWEOnly Blake, with eight, has won more Cups than Bowman.