PHILADELPHIA -- Sitting at Joel Quenneville's table at dinner the night before his Chicago Blackhawks had a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup was the legendary Scotty Bowman.
The 76-year-old Bowman had something that Quenneville wanted just once -- a Stanley Cup ring as a head coach. Well, after 835 NHL regular season and playoff games as a defenceman and another 1,125 regular season and playoff games as a NHL head coach, the Windsor, Ont. native finally won a Stanley Cup as a head coach.
"We joked with Scotty when was the last time he had just one game to win for a Stanley Cup ring," Quenneville said. "He has a dozen of them. I guess now he has 13."
And the 51-year-old Quenneville has his second to go with the one he won as an assistant coach with his buddy Marc Crawford and the 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche.
"I think a lot of people forget that Joel won one with the Avalanche," Bowman said. "That Colorado team beat us [Detroit] in that playoffs. I've know Joel for a long time. He's a good coach. But this was a real chance for him. He had some good teams, but not great teams like this one."
Quenneville, only the third in NHL history behind Bob Pulford and Jacques Lemaire to have played more than 800 games and coached more than 800 games, remarked that he leaned on Bowman's wisdom quite a bit in this bountiful playoff run.
"Scotty has been great," Quenneville, the 2000 Jack Adams Trophy winner, said. "He came for dinner with us last night. He sits beside me on flights and puts everything in perspective for me.
"He has some angles that you don't think about. He was great to have around and a positive influence to have around the staff."
Right place, right time
Quenneville said he felt fortunate to have such a talented, close-knit bunch to teach and coach. The only difficult part for the Blackhawks head coach was to tell some of that talent that there was no room in the lineup for them.
"I'm very happy for a lot of reasons," he said. "But you inherit a team with this much skill and this much character, and who love being around each other, I just feel I'm in the right place, right time.
"We had a good learning curve last year [in the playoffs] and tonight was the end of a great ride. This is the greatest thing on the planet. It was a long battle. We had some ups and downs, twists and turns, to finally grab it is amazing. They say it's the toughest championship in sports in the world to win, now you know why."
For Bowman, to share the championship with his son Stan, the Blackhawks general manager, was something he'll cherish. Stan Bowman, 37, was named after the Stanley Cup.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in Feb. 2007, but went into remission after undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, just 10 months later, the cancer returned.
He then underwent a form of a stem-cell transplant. Wayne Gretzky was instrumental in putting Bowman in contact with a specialist who performed the procedure and now more than two years later Stan is cancer free.
"This was great for Stan," Scotty said. "He has battled cancer twice. This has been some kind of experience to be able to come over and help him and work with him."
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