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updated: 9/11/2013 7:46 PM

Oh, Scotty, what might have been

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  • Hockey legend Scotty Bowman is the Blackhawks' senior adviser for hockey operations, but Mike Imrem wonders why Bowman never coached the Hawks.

      Hockey legend Scotty Bowman is the Blackhawks' senior adviser for hockey operations, but Mike Imrem wonders why Bowman never coached the Hawks.
    Associated Press

  • Hall of Famer Bill Parcells never coached the Bears, much to the regret of Mike Imrem.

      Hall of Famer Bill Parcells never coached the Bears, much to the regret of Mike Imrem.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Blackhawks have figured out that one Bowman is better than none and two is better than one.

Perhaps most significant is that the Hawks came to realize that it's better to hitch your Zamboni to a couple Bowmans than a slew of Sutters.

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Wednesday, as the Stanley Cup champions reported to training camp, Stan Bowman's contract as vice president and general manager was extended through 2018.

The move revived my ongoing curiosity over why Scotty Bowman, Stan's father and currently the Hawks' senior adviser of hockey operations, never coached the team.

It's as bothersome as Bill Parcells never coaching the Bears.

It's not like Bowman or Parcells stuck with one team throughout his career.

Parcells coached for four NFL teams, winning two Super Bowls with the Giants and guiding the Patriots into another. He won 172 games during 19 years as an NFL coach ... but none with the Bears.

Why not? Parcells bounced from the Giants to the Patriots to the Jets to the Cowboys, so why not ever to the Bears? Why were we stuck with Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron and Lovie Smith instead?

Perhaps the McCaskey ownership didn't want to deal with an immense presence like Bill Parcells.

Now for Scotty Bowman: Unless he turned down offers from the Hawks, their choice to never choose him as head coach is even worse.

Parcells was a decorated NFL coach; Bowman was the NHL's most decorated head coach.

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of hockey coaches it would include Scotty Bowman, Scotty Bowman, Toe Blake and Scotty Bowman.

(Alpo Suhonen and Lorne Molleken would miss the cut.)

Bowman won nine Stanley Cup championships -- five in Montreal, one in Pittsburgh and three in Detroit. He bounced from coaching the Blues to the Canadiens to the Sabres to the Penguins to the Red Wings ... but never to the Hawks.

Why was that? Maybe it was because Hawks owner Bill Wirtz also didn't want to deal with so immense a presence or so immense a salary.

Unfortunately, Dollar Bill preferred Bob Pulford making decisions from both the front office and behind the bench and a variety of Sutters in a variety of roles from player to coach.

I'm thinking that Parcells would have liked to coach an NFL founding franchise like the Bears and Bowman would have liked to coach the NHL franchise with the Indian head sweater.

But no, never happened.

Thank goodness that under Bill Wirtz the Hawks had the good sense 13 years ago to bring Stan Bowman into the organization.

Then after that Wirtz died, son Rocky Wirtz as club chairman and John McDonough as club president had the even better sense to bring Scotty Bowman in as an adviser.

This is a sensitive issue around here because Wirtz and McDonough had to fire general manager Dale Tallon -- beloved as a Hawks player, broadcaster and GM -- to promote Stan Bowman.

But the move had to be made. Bowman is the NHL's youngest general manager at age 40 and decidedly new school in the league's decidedly new-school, salary-cap era.

Together the Bowmans have taken Tallon's players, won a Stanley Cup, navigated the 21st century NHL economic system, rebuilt the roster around the core and won another championship.

This is great stuff, these two titles in four years as the Hawks begin gathering in an effort to win a third.

Excuse me, though, for wondering out loud: Would the Blackhawks previously have gone 49 seasons without a Stanley Cup if at some point they had hired Scotty Bowman as head coach?

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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