TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When Scotty Bowman left the Chicago Blackhawks a year ago, he was open to taking another job.
During the course of this season, the 89-year old Hall of Famer discovered not working for a team can be a good thing.
Now, the record-holding, nine-time Stanley Cup winning coach is ready for his next chapter.
When asked if he is now unemployed or retired, Bowman said with a smile, "I'm retired."
Retired, but not slowing down.
Bowman remains active in the game, even after his departure as a senior adviser with the Blackhawks where he won the final three of his five additional Stanley Cups as an off-ice official.
A longtime regular at Tampa Bay home games, Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois made sure Bowman kept his parking spot in the player's lot and regular seat in the second row of the north press box.
Whether it is Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery seeking Bowman out pregame in the media room, Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter sitting down with him in the coach's office, or Lightning coach Jon Cooper chatting in the locker room hallway, Bowman is sought after.
"As a coach, yes, you get to see the best players in the world walk by but in our profession, the Wayne Gretzky of coaches is Scotty Bowman," Cooper said. "So, anytime you get to see him or have a moment with him, he's unbelievably engaging, and he has so much wisdom. I always jump at the chance to get something out of him because it's just amazing what's he done and he's an unbelievable guy."
Since he's not affiliated with a team anymore, Bowman can speak freely.
"I felt more comfortable talking to some of the coaches, so I liked to know if I can help them like people helped me," Bowman said. "So, that was a new thing for me."
The Bruins, under Montgomery, eclipsed a pair of Bowman's regular-season records: 62-wins with the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings that was shared with Cooper's 2018-19 Lightning, and 132 points the Montreal Canadiens collected during the 1976-77 season.
"I'm old enough to know that I don't need to have all my records," Bowman said. "If he can have them I'm happy for him."
Bowman's final year with Chicago was a difficult one. He eventually decided it was time to move on after 14 years with the team.