On July 31, 2008, the Chicago Blackhawks hired 9-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Scotty Bowman as their Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations. That’s a nice little title. Sounds important, but not too important. Yeah, I don’t buy it.
For one year to the day now, the elder Bowman’s influence has been felt throughout the ‘Hawks organization. The brilliant moves, the bold decisions… I think Bowman’s title is a cover to make him seem not-so-important a figure — and there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. However, I think his title should be “Unofficial General Manager, Chicago Blackhawks.”
Let’s get one thing straight — I’m no genius. The ringtone on my cell phone is the Seinfeld theme for heaven’s sake. I sit in section 326 and cheer just as hard for a Blackhawks goal as I do for the Ice Crew. But if we look at the inner-workings of the ‘Hawks over the past year, it’s a logical conclusion that Bowman is working a bit more than his title would lead us to believe.
Rocky Wirtz is not a hockey guy. His dad even gave the team to his brother, Peter, who passed the responsibility on to Rocky. John McDonough is a hell of marketing guru. He had the idea to market Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood rather than market the struggling Chicago Cubs. The result? Part of the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago is now called Wrigleyville. Offically, there’s no such thing as Wrigleyville. It’s a John McDonough creation. But, he’s not a hockey guy.
Dale Tallon was/is a great talent evaluator. He always will be. But do you really think Tallon went out and recruited Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky and John Madden? Especially because he was fired just days after their signings?
Now, Bowman’s 36-year-old son, Stan Bowman, is the Blackhawks new GM. Things are looking all too Bowman around Madison Ave.
Wirtz, McDonough and Tallon did not make the decision to fire Denis Savard four games into the season and replace him with Joel Quenneville. I think Bowman knows a bit about coaching. His name has been engraved in the Cup so many times they’re probably just going to name the damn thing after him someday. Bowman was hired, evaluated Savard over the summer, saw something he didn’t like, and the Blackhawks made a change.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Bowman won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins as Director of Player Peronnel in 1991. He took over as coach of the 1992 Cup-winning team only after the tragic death of coach Bob Johnson.
The brilliant, late-season call-up of Niklas Hjalmarsson? Bowman spent a lot of time in Rockford. He said, “bring this guy up.” After Hjalmarsson proved he’s ready for the NHL, Matt Walker suddenly became expendable.
I’m sure Stan Bowman is a great hockey mind. He’s been with the organization for a long time and knows what he’s doing. But Scotty gets to stand right beside him while he gets his feet wet. You don’t let a guy who has worked for the team since 1982 walk out the door for a guy with zero high front-office level experience. Remember when they let Savard go? They said they wanted more experience. Hmm…
Scotty is the one with the experience. He has had the most influence on the decisions so far. I just wish he would have been around longer than a year instead of winning Stanley Cups in Detroit.
Thanks for your first year, Mr. Bowman. We’re looking forward to you unoffically running advising the Blackhawks for years to come.