Review of “Scotty”

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Having renewed my subscription to Audible as my current working set-up allows access to listening to audiobooks, I added this one to my library upon renewal and it turned out to be an excellent choice. Scotty Bowman has led a charmed hockey life and this book is a perfect means to learn about it. Here is my review of “Scotty”

Title/Author: “Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other” written and narrated by Ken Dryden

Rating: 5 of 5 stars (excellent)

Review: Scotty Bowman is considered to be one of the all-time great coaches in all of team sports, with his teams winning nine Stanley Cups spanning a time frame of 29 years between the first (Montreal Canadiens, 1973) and the last (Detroit Red Wings, 2002).  He amassed over 1400 regular season wins during his remarkable career and his goalie for five of those championships, Ken Dryden, has written a book on Bowman’s hockey life as a player, scout, coach and other duties.

“Other duties” include his current status as a special guest of the Tampa Bay Lightning to their home games.  He still attends as many games as he can, goes to his seat in the press box and still takes diligent notes on each game with the chance that he might be able to pass along information to the Lightning staff.  That is typical Bowman – always looking for anything that can help a hockey team improve. It is the impression a reader or listener will get after enjoying this book.

Dryden and Bowman will take the reader through decades of hockey history and the name dropping is impressive – Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky for starters as players he saw but did not coach.  As for those he coached on his championship teams in Montreal and Detroit, there are plenty of stories and observations of them, from Guy Lafluer to Mario Lemieux (even though he was the coach for Pittsburgh when they won the Cup in 1992, Bowman doesn’t talk a lot about that team, only obtaining the job due to the death of Bob Johnson, so he calls them Johnson’s team) to Steve Yzerman. 

The book isn’t limited to Bowman’s championships as he talks about his life before coaching when he was working for Sam Pollack with the Canadiens – later they would become a very successful coach-general manager tandem.  He also talks about his time coaching the St. Louis Blues as a brand new expansion team as well as the Buffalo Sabres, who were a talented team under Bowman who could never get over the hump.

One other feature of the book is a “tournament” in which Bowman selects the eight greatest teams he has seen in his lifetime and he breaks each one of them down to Dryden and then eliminates them one by one until there is one team left.  No spoilers here as one will have to read or listen to the book in order to find out which team that will be.

Dryden is an established hockey author and his work shines here.  At times, there is great detail and I believe that the audio version that I listened to will work better for those who both read physical books and listen to audio books.  But whichever version is chosen, one will enjoy this biography of a legendary hockey coach.

Links: Scotty by Ken Dryden | Audiobook |

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