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Information about the relationship between Scotty Bowman and Mario Lemieux...

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04-26-2010, 11:56 PM
  #1
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Information about the relationship between Scotty Bowman and Mario Lemieux...

I read a topic here that discussed the 1992 - 1993 series between the Pens and Islanders (it made me cry), and someone mentioned that the Penguin players despised Bowman. All I could find about the relationship is a reference in Wikipedia to Bowman not having his coaching position with the Pens renewed because of a feud with Mario Lemieux.

Anybody got more information about this subject?

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04-27-2010, 12:14 AM
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Blades of Glory
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It was just not a good marriage. The Penguins were an offensive powerhouse, and to say that the star forwards (Lemieux, Stevens, Recchi) did not enjoy Bowman's grating personality and tedious attention to defense would be a major understatement. They were coming off winning the Stanley Cup, and going from the beloved Bob Johnson to the grumpy Bowman was asking for trouble. To Bowman's credit, he improved their defense by leaps and bounds; but the Penguins went out with the goal of repeating as Cup champions as a way to honor their late coach Johnson, and put aside their disdain for Bowman at least for that one season.

Bowman was notoriously quick to put his imprint on the roster. Mark Recchi was dealt for Rick Tocchet, partly due to Recchi's sliding defensive play and a stupid remark about how he believed "his +/- didn't matter." Paul Coffey was practically given away to Los Angeles, because to put it frankly, Coffey and Bowman mix as well as oil and water. For the defending champions to have their best defenseman and arguably their best winger dealt mid-way through the season, something had to give; in hindsight, Bowman sacrificed his relationship with the players in order to improve the team, especially defensively, and to add a physical edge.

A tough, defensive-minded coach like Scotty Bowman and a superstar forward like Mario Lemieux just didn't go well together. That's pretty much what happened, and it was only made worse by the Coffey and Recchi trades, especially considering Recchi was Mario's primary right wing for the previous 2+ seasons.

It wasn't the last time Bowman would clash with a star forward. His relationship with Sergei Fedorov, in Detroit, was strained, to say the least. Fedorov hated Bowman's system and the fact that Bowman would actually use him as a defenseman once in a while. Interestingly enough, they put their differences aside for the sake of winning, and boy, did they ever win. Fedorov grew into Bowman's most trusted forward, and was his go-to guy in almost every situation, winning 3 Stanley Cups, a Hart, and multiple Selke Trophies under his watch. Bowman also went out of his way to reward Fedorov for his loyalty; I remember reading about when Bowman told Fedorov that they had traded for Slava Fetisov. Apparently it was on the team plane, and Fedorov almost jumped through the ceiling.


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04-27-2010, 01:02 AM
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Wasn't it Steve Shutt that said something to the effect of "We all hate Scottie Bowman six days a week and on the seventh I polish my Stanley Cup rings"?

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04-27-2010, 09:46 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blades of Glory View Post
It wasn't the last time Bowman would clash with a star forward. His relationship with Sergei Fedorov, in Detroit, was strained, to say the least. Fedorov hated Bowman's system and the fact that Bowman would actually use him as a defenseman once in a while. Interestingly enough, they put their differences aside for the sake of winning, and boy, did they ever win. Fedorov grew into Bowman's most trusted forward, and was his go-to guy in almost every situation, winning 3 Stanley Cups, a Hart, and multiple Selke Trophies under his watch. Bowman also went out of his way to reward Fedorov for his loyalty; I remember reading about when Bowman told Fedorov that they had traded for Slava Fetisov. Apparently it was on the team plane, and Fedorov almost jumped through the ceiling.
very interesting. i knew they didn't get along, and i'd heard that bowman using fedorov as a d-man was his way of intentionally sticking it to/motivating fedorov. but i'd never heard the fetisov story before.

but smart move(s) by bowman. "slava fetisov and igor larionov play my system and never complain. you think you're better than them, sergei?"

funny thing is, fedorov was the perfect bowman player. but if bowman had never coached him, what would his career have looked like? he was already a fantastic two-way center in the red army mold before bowman went to detroit, but in a different system, would he have put up more 100 point seasons? would he have played harder in the regular season (for points/individual accolades) instead of saving it for the playoffs? with fewer cups but more regular season accomplishments, would he (rightly or wrongly) be held in higher esteem in an all-time sense?

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04-27-2010, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mco543 View Post
Wasn't it Steve Shutt that said something to the effect of "We all hate Scottie Bowman six days a week and on the seventh I polish my Stanley Cup rings"?
I've heard him say "We hated Scotty 364 days of the year and on day 365 we collected our cup rings".

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04-27-2010, 12:06 PM
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Jag68Sid87
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The story about Bowman and Coffey is true, which made the whole Coffey to Detroit situation oh so strange. As hard-headed as Bowman is/was, he didn't take much personally, which may be his best trait. Hard to believe he would ever want any part of Coffey, but there was a more defensively responsible Coffey playing for Bowman's Wings several years later. Ironic.

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04-27-2010, 02:13 PM
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I remember reading somewhere that when Bowman was GM of Buffalo, he tried trading for Coffey in his rookie year, so it seems Scotty had a love/hate thing going on with him from the beginning.

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04-27-2010, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
very interesting. i knew they didn't get along, and i'd heard that bowman using fedorov as a d-man was his way of intentionally sticking it to/motivating fedorov.
My memory was Fedorov was complaining about ice-time. So Bowman out him on defence because defencemen get more ice-time than forwards.

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04-27-2010, 03:50 PM
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Yeah as succesful as Bowman's career has been I often have to question his trades of Coffey and Recchi. Tocchet added sandpaper for sure, but it always got me thinking:

- Recchi was younger
- Recchi was a much more prolific scorer
- Recchi was in the midst of a season where he would be 2nd team all-star RW
- Recchi scored 34 playoff points in 1991


I've always felt Bowman had a grudge against Coffey for some reason. I'm not sure how anyone thinks their team is better off without Coffey at any point (pre 1996) but whatever.

In all honesty you'd think Bowman would have found a way to get by the lowly Islanders in 1993. To me that has been a blackmark on his resume that will never go away. Being the coach on the losing end of arguably the worst upset in NHL history. Mario had the cancer 4 months earlier so you know he was at least 100%, but Bowman? Hmmm, just a thought.

Anyways, I guess time has healed all wounds. In 2000 when they made all of those "Legends of Hockey" videos Mario talked during Bowman's interview applauding how he was a guy who would know stats of players "back in the 1940s". Time has a way of doing that I guess

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04-27-2010, 04:00 PM
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Bowman and Stats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yeah as succesful as Bowman's career has been I often have to question his trades of Coffey and Recchi. Tocchet added sandpaper for sure, but it always got me thinking:

- Recchi was younger
- Recchi was a much more prolific scorer
- Recchi was in the midst of a season where he would be 2nd team all-star RW
- Recchi scored 34 playoff points in 1991


I've always felt Bowman had a grudge against Coffey for some reason. I'm not sure how anyone thinks their team is better off without Coffey at any point (pre 1996) but whatever.

In all honesty you'd think Bowman would have found a way to get by the lowly Islanders in 1993. To me that has been a blackmark on his resume that will never go away. Being the coach on the losing end of arguably the worst upset in NHL history. Mario had the cancer 4 months earlier so you know he was at least 100%, but Bowman? Hmmm, just a thought.

Anyways, I guess time has healed all wounds. In 2000 when they made all of those "Legends of Hockey" videos Mario talked during Bowman's interview applauding how he was a guy who would know stats of players "back in the 1940s". Time has a way of doing that I guess
Would be interesting to have Scotty Bowman comment on statistical interpretation in hockey and his take on adjusted stats.

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04-27-2010, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Forsberg4ever View Post
I remember reading somewhere that when Bowman was GM of Buffalo, he tried trading for Coffey in his rookie year, so it seems Scotty had a love/hate thing going on with him from the beginning.
Very true. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he almost got Edmonton to bite on a trade that would've sent Coffey to Buffalo and Rick Martin, I think it was, to Edmonton. To go along with that, I also read somewhere that Bowman tried to trade up in the '83 draft so he could take Scott Stevens. Oh, what might've been...

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04-27-2010, 07:16 PM
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Yeah, he tried to get Stevens, but Washington had financial issues and decided to stay where they were in the draft. Buffalo got Housley instead and the rest is history.

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04-27-2010, 09:41 PM
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I believe Lemieux and co. ended up not letting him on the ice and ran their own practices because of their dislike for him.

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04-27-2010, 11:14 PM
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I believe Lemieux and co. ended up not letting him on the ice and ran their own practices because of their dislike for him.
Really? I can't see Bowman standing for that nor Lemueix being that petulant at that stage in his career.

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04-27-2010, 11:39 PM
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Really? I can't see Bowman standing for that nor Lemueix being that petulant at that stage in his career.
Lemieux was already the second greatest player of all the time and the most important member of that franchise; for better or worse, I'm sure management gave Lemieux his way...This wasn't the tobacco-smoking slacker from 1985 we're talking about; this was one of the hardest working, dedicated players in the league by that point. I'm sure Lemieux had so much gravitas and respect that he pretty much got everything he wanted.

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04-28-2010, 01:01 AM
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Went through my DVR the other day and came across a special on the 1991-1992 championship team. I was surprised to see Bowman got under their skin to the point where they call a meeting with Craig Patrick to get him fired. You would have to assume that they wanted him gone, of course. They then proceed to win the cup three months later.

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04-28-2010, 04:55 PM
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Went through my DVR the other day and came across a special on the 1991-1992 championship team. I was surprised to see Bowman got under their skin to the point where they call a meeting with Craig Patrick to get him fired. You would have to assume that they wanted him gone, of course. They then proceed to win the cup three months later.
Wow. When you have champions, winners and some of the all-time greats like Lemieux and Trottier making a fuss that says something. These guys of course were winners who didn't have to prove a thing to anyone. But that's how Bowman was, he got under the skin of players. And what happened after that meeting? The Pens won the Cup three months later, lol.

You gotta give Bowman credit. But the only thing I knock about him is that this Pens team was so good, he really should have won in '93 and that would have caused him to stay there longer and he could have won more. Then again he went to Detroit.....

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04-28-2010, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Wow. When you have champions, winners and some of the all-time greats like Lemieux and Trottier making a fuss that says something. These guys of course were winners who didn't have to prove a thing to anyone. But that's how Bowman was, he got under the skin of players. And what happened after that meeting? The Pens won the Cup three months later, lol.

You gotta give Bowman credit. But the only thing I knock about him is that this Pens team was so good, he really should have won in '93 and that would have caused him to stay there longer and he could have won more. Then again he went to Detroit.....
I don't know if they win, even with Bowman, after 92-93. That was pretty much when Lemieux's health went out the window for good.

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05-01-2010, 12:51 PM
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Bunch of primadonnas on pittsburgh got Bowman fired. Detroit thanks those morons

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05-01-2010, 02:51 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Wow. When you have champions, winners and some of the all-time greats like Lemieux and Trottier making a fuss that says something. These guys of course were winners who didn't have to prove a thing to anyone. But that's how Bowman was, he got under the skin of players. And what happened after that meeting? The Pens won the Cup three months later, lol.

You gotta give Bowman credit. But the only thing I knock about him is that this Pens team was so good, he really should have won in '93 and that would have caused him to stay there longer and he could have won more. Then again he went to Detroit.....
this brings up an interesting point about guys who are considered great leaders. even our most sacred cows aren't infallible.

a guy like trottier, who is one of the all time great leaders of men at the same time as being a loyal foot soldier, maybe he just bought into the country club atmosphere in pittsburgh. mesier's career post-'96 comes to mind as another example.

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05-07-2010, 04:02 AM
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I read a topic here that discussed the 1992 - 1993 series between the Pens and Islanders (it made me cry), and someone mentioned that the Penguin players despised Bowman. All I could find about the relationship is a reference in Wikipedia to Bowman not having his coaching position with the Pens renewed because of a feud with Mario Lemieux.

Anybody got more information about this subject?
the first thing you have to remember

When Bowman was coach of the habs he was not liked--he was respected--but was not liked. With Montreal the players love telling stories about the friction between them and Scotty. Bowman was a very intense person and he sometimes ruffled people the wrong way

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05-07-2010, 04:11 AM
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Blades of Glory
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Speaking of Scotty, Phil Esposito was on NHL Live a few days ago, and he brought up a story about the Canada Cup in 1976. Apparently he had 2 goals and 2 assists in the first game, but in then next game in Toronto, Bowman sat him on the bench, fully dressed, for the entire game. He didn't take a shift. Obviously, he was pretty upset, and Bowman told him before the next game "I did it because I wanted players to understand that if I could do it to you, I could to it to anyone." That didn't make Espo any happier, though.

That's Scotty for you.

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05-07-2010, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Blades of Glory View Post
I don't know if they win, even with Bowman, after 92-93. That was pretty much when Lemieux's health went out the window for good.
Well, if they win in '93 I'd imagine he'd have been around still in '96 and I have to think he'd have been able to win with the '96 team.

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