SUN Hockey Pool

Bowman worried

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

The only thing worse than a season-long lockout for Scotty Bowman would be its ultimate casualty, a spring without the Stanley Cup.

Bowman is closer to the National Hockey League's centrepiece than any other man, winning it 10 times as coach and executive.

"I know a baseball umpire (Montreal's Jim McKean) who gave me a ball from the 1994 World Series, the one they never played," Bowman said yesterday. "I like souvenirs, but I'm not too proud of that ball.

"The other lockout in 1995, we felt it would (be settled) whenever it got to the deadline. But the date is coming a lot quicker this time. I'd be more concerned if there is no competition for the Cup."

Bowman has other post-lockout concerns, specifically how fan interest in Detroit and Buffalo, two of his career stops, will be affected by the labour war.

"It will be varied for sure," said Bowman, in town for his induction with Larry Robinson in to the Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame. "You worry that people will get involved in something else. I know in Detroit, it took them a long time to build (from franchise decay in the 1970s). I hope it doesn't lose any appeal, but who knows? This is all new territory."

Bowman feels today's collective bargaining problems are rooted in the 10-year CBA that expired Sept. 15, 2004.

"When you have one that long, a lot of changes happen in the business," Bowman said.

Robinson, who was going to replace the ailing Pat Burns as coach of the New Jersey Devils for the start of the season, has mixed feelings about his former player pals.

"I'm not really feeling that sorry for a lot of these guys, because I was the one making $7,500 my first year (1972-73)," Robinson said. "I think a lot of these guys make that in one day. "But I do feel for the players. Right now, they're sitting at home waiting."


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