Plenty is going on heading into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Here are a few things that you may find interesting, even if they’re not full-blown posts.
- Remember Manon Rheaume, the first (and only) woman to play in an NHL exhibition game? She did so with the Tampa Bay Lightning more than 20 years ago, and tonight mark’s her first visit back. Sportsnet’s has a fantastic Q & A session with her, which includes the shocking realization that she never heard of David Letterman before appearing on his show.
- Dynasty talk often boils down to semantics. The bottom line is that the Chicago Blackhawks have done some special things, and you can see that in one form by noticing the milestones head coach Joel Quenneville (pictured) is starting to pile up. Game 2 marks Coach Q’s 200th career postseason game behind an bench, becoming just the third coach to do so. The list is as elite as they get, too:
One would expect him to pass New York Islanders great Al Arbour, but legend Scotty Bowman’s mark is almost certainly safe.
Quenneville’s record is impressive, too, as he heads in with a 112-87 record in playoff games coached.
- Should we expect overtime tonight? The league points out that four straight Game 2’s have gone beyond regulation. (Grinds extra coffee beans.)
- Obvious point alert: the Lightning really, really need to win this one.
Scotty Bowman has been in hockey a long time. He’s seen the game change and evolve many times over through his career but he says the way things are being played now don’t sit well with him.
Jim Matheson hears from Bowman about how the strategy teams use that sees players all falling back to defend and block shots is one that doesn’t help the game look good.
“It’s three against five to score. The two defencemen (on the attacking team) don’t come in because they’re worried about getting caught. You get so many outnumbered situations down low. Look at how close the defending wingers are to their net and how far away they are from the other net. It’s a good ploy defensively, but it’s why there is not as much offence.”
That makes plenty of sense, even to fans that don’t know the game well. Then Bowman draws it up a bit clearer.
“When I was coaching in Montreal, Lafleur and Shutt wouldn’t even know what the ice was like below the top of the circle. Look at Wayne Gretzky; he was always out between the blue-lines. Brett Hull? Maybe it’s wise to put four guys down low and one other guy way high,” said Bowman.
If you’ll recall, Bowman used a defensive system called the “left wing lock” to help the Red Wings shut down opponents. Instead of stopping shots in the zone, it kept teams from gaining the zone easily and turning it over in the neutral zone. A lot of people thought that was a scourge once, too.
Scotty Bowman has won the Stanley Cup numerous times in his life but now he’s been given one of the highest honors in Canada.
Bowman was awarded the Order of Canada, the highest honor a Canadian can get aside from the Queen’s Order of Merit, thanks to his history as a head coach and the charitable work he’s done in his life. Bowman tells NHL.com the honor is truly special.
“It’s certainly different from my Stanley Cup rings, and I look forward to wearing it on special occasions,” Bowman told reporters after the ceremony at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall in which he received the red-and-white medallion from Governor General David Johnston.
Bowman has won nine Stanley Cups over his 40+ years in hockey, winning the Cup with three teams as a coach (Montreal, Pittsburgh, Detroit) and one as an executive (Chicago). Now the only question he’ll have to figure out is where to display his award amongst all the Stanley Cups. Perhaps draping the medal around a Stanley Cup replica is the way to go.