The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will no doubt have an unremarkable amount of talent on the ice during their two alumni games during this year’s Winter Classic. The latest news, however, is not about the hall of famers who are on the ice, but rather those who will be standing behind the bench. It was confirmed this week that legendary coaches Scotty Bowman and Barry Smith will be in charge of the Red Wings alumni squads.
Still unconfirmed is if they will coach together or if Bowman will coach one game while Smith coaches the other, however, the announcement of these two coaches’ participation is just another added bonus to a Winter Classic that promises to go above and beyond its predecessors. Bowman’s record (or records) in the NHL speaks for itself: 1,244 regular season wins (most all time), 223 playoff wins (most all time), and nine Stanley Cups (most all time). Barry Smith is not too shabby, either, winning five Stanley Cups as an assistant or associate coach during his tenure in the NHL.
Both coaches will bring an added prestige to an already prestigious and primetime hockey event. The alumni games, while perhaps a bit slower moving than what the fans can expect on January 1st, are going to be a wonderful moment for all those lucky enough to find their way into the stadium. Seeing both Red Wings legends of old and Red Wings legends of new skating together on the ice allows a dad to take his son and show him a snapshot of Detroit’s illustrious and beautiful hockey history. The fact that he can then point to the bench and show two of the best coaches as well just makes the moment that much sweeter.