I have read a lot of great hockey books in my time, but the one that tops it all is a book that I was lucky enough to re-read over the holiday weekend.
The book is Penguin Random House’s Scotty: A Hockey Life No Other by the great Ken Dryden. If you are a hockey fan, then you know that Dryden is the author of a few other great hockey books and may be an even better writer than he was as a Hall of Fame NHL masked man with the Montreal Canadiens.
With all of that said, my focus for this blog is on the outstanding book that he did with Scotty Bowman. Put, this book takes us inside one of the greatest minds in hockey.
Bowman has done it all in hockey, but we all know him for what he did behind the bench. This book shows us Bowman’s life, particularly his hockey life, and how everything came together for him to be the game’s great hockey coach.
Speaking of the game’s greatest, Dryden has Bowman tell us who some of the best players he has ever seen, some of the greatest teams he has ever gone up against as a head coach, and the best part of this book is that Dryden makes Bowman put his coaching cap on. With Bowman using his hockey-coaching brain, Dryden has him select what he thinks are the top eight teams of all time.
Dryden then has Bowman pit these eight teams against each other in a playoff series. Bowman then uses his hockey knowledge to tell us who would win and why.
What readers will also find by reading this outstanding hockey book is that despite Bowman doing this book while he was 86 years old, he showed that he still has an encyclopedic hockey memory. If something happened in hockey, whether it was something in a game, something about a player, something about another coach, a playoff series, a Cup Final, etc., chances are that Bowman can tell us everything and anything that has to do with those things.
If you are a hockey fan who appreciates the game’s history and great hockey minds, then this book is perfect for you. In my opinion, and probably many others, Bowman possesses the greatest hockey mind, and in this book, he does a terrific job of imparting it to all of us hockey nuts.