Forgive me if this has already been discussed. What was Scotty's reputation during this time frame? I know he was hired into the front office in 1990 by Pittsburgh, but was he a candidate for any NHL coaching jobs or was he considered a relic? If Bob Johnson had lived and continued coaching the Penguins, would Bowman had ever returned to coaching with another NHL team?
I wouldn't say he was a relic. Nor did anyone think this. He did not win a Cup in Buffalo, but the Sabres had some very good teams under his watch. They were competitive.
However, he had been coaching in the NHL since 1967. I would think that he wanted a break, is my guess. And I get the feeling that if Johnston is still around, the competitive juices get the best of Bowman and he still ends up coaching somewhere. It may not have been Detroit though.
86-91, sort of his Wilderness Years but not quite, as he worked with Hockey Night in Canada doing color commentary as I recall. And absolutely terrific at it. Fit right in like he more than belonged & had been doing it for years. Extremely affable & likeable. And of course knew exactly what he was talking about, pointing out nuances in strategy & play that one might've missed often mixed with anecdotal inf from the past.
Perhaps I'm being overly critical and harsh on Bowman, but maybe he knew he couldn't win if he wasn't coaching Gretzky or Lemieux at the time. Bowman was very astute and with the resume he had at that time, why would he waste his time coaching a mediocre team? I think he really just weighed the odds and waited for the best possible opportunity.