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Bowman, Holland Aren’t Surprised Red Wings Pupils Became Mentors



Former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman

There used to be a theory in pro sports that great players didn’t make great bosses, but Scotty Bowman was never buying into that logic.

In fact, he was always welcoming to the notion that the better the player, the sharper the hockey mind.

“When you’ve got that many Hall of Fame players, you know that they can give the input,” Bowman said. “I’m happy to see them in the league.”

The Detroit Red Wings are honoring their 1996-97 and 1997-98 Stanley Cup championship squads this weekend. In sending out the invites to the celebration, the team wasn’t needing to search far and wide to find their old players.

That’s because so many of them are making themselves a second career in the game as coaches, GMs, executives and scouts.

Four of them can often be found inside Little Caesars Arena on a periodic basis. Steve Yzerman, captain of those Red Wings Cup winners, is now executive vice-president and GM of the team. Nicklas Lidstrom works as the club’s vice-president of hockey operations. Kris Draper is Detroit’s director of amateur scouting and Kirk Maltby is a pro scout. Mike Knuble is an assistant coach with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s top farm club.

Bowman Says Passion For Hockey Is In The Blood Of Great Players

“I don’t know if you say surprised when players are able to play at the level these guys did,” Bowman answered about seeing so many of his old Detroit players filling key roles in the game. “Why do they want to keep doing it? It’s in their blood.”

With other NHL teams, Brendan Shanahan is president of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Martin Lapointe is serving as director of player personnel and amateur scouting for the Montreal Canadiens. Jamie Pushor is assistant general manager and director of player personnel with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tim Taylor is director of player development for the St. Louis Blues.

In the KHL, Sergei Fedorov is coaching CSKA Moscow, Igor Larionov coaches Torpedo and Slava Kozlov is an assistant coach with Spartak Moscow.

Stanley Cup Champs As Execs

Many of them are aslo front runners in their front office careers. Both Pushor and Taylor have won Stanley Cups working their front office roles to go with the Cup rings they were earning as players in Detroit. Fedorov was guiding CSKA Moscow to the KHL Gagarin Cup title last season.

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“Actually I was just talking about that today with Martin Lapointe,” former Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. “That team, and I’m sure it’s the same with championship teams all over, they have passion. The success that we had as a group, as a team, allows you to kind of same in the game.

“Once they got in the game, they kind of take it and run with it, because of their passion, because of their work ethic, because of their understanding of what the National Hockey League is all about.”