Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Scotty Bowman Has Major Influence on 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame Class

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Scotty Bowman Has Major Influence on 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame Class

Article excerpt

Bowman has big influence on 2015 HHOF class

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TORONTO - Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Shutt won the Stanley Cup five times under Scotty Bowman and famously said that players on the Montreal Canadiens hated the legendary coach 364 days a year, and on the 365th they got their championship rings.

Sitting in the Great Hall on the weekend of his induction, Sergei Fedorov revealed Bowman's softer side. When Fedorov was having problems in the early days of his relationship with tennis star Anna Kournikova, the legendary coach released him from the team to deal with his personal troubles.

"I really, truly figured out who Scotty Bowman was," Fedorov said. "After that I played even harder for him."

Bowman's influence on the Hall of Fame class of 2015 was significant, from Fedorov and Detroit Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom to high-scoring defenceman Phil Housley, whom he drafted with the Buffalo Sabres in 1982.

After inductees Lidstrom, Fedorov, Housley, Chris Pronger, Angela Ruggiero, Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. got their rings at a ceremony Friday, a question-and-answer session turned the spotlight on Bowman's coaching. While the 82-year-old sat quietly in the back of the room, his former players raved about him.

"Scotty, when he came to Detroit, we had a good team, but hadn't won any championships since the '50s," said Lidstrom, who won the Cup four times, including three under Bowman. "Having Scotty come and be part of something like that, we realized that we had the chance to become a great team, and I think Scott was the reason that it kind of changed the organization and changed the way we were playing.

"I think he was the mind behind us winning some Stanley Cups."

Bowman didn't deliver a Cup to Buffalo, but he helped launch Housley's Hall of Fame career.

"It was just a privilege for me that he's the one who took a chance on me and believed in me," said Housley, the highest-scoring American defenceman in NHL history. "It's a good chance for me to say thank you to him, as he's one of the biggest reasons that I was able get into the Hall."

Then Fedorov told the story about how Bowman let him leave the team to iron out off-ice issues. He missed a couple of days of practice to see Kournikova in Arizona and met the team in California. …

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