Bowman Back Behind The Bench

Iranian soldiers shout anti-American slogans as they attend a ceremony to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the return from exile to Iran of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the 1979 Islamic revolution, in Tehran on Wednesday, Feb.1, 2006.
AP

Attention Maple Leafs -- Scotty's back.

When the Toronto Maple Leafs opened their home schedule with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, they did so against a squad coached by assistants Barry Smith and Dave Lewis.

The duo was trying to replace Scotty Bowman, who was recovering from heart and knee surgeries and undecided as to whether or not he would return to coaching.

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But after receiving a clean bill of health, the eight-time Stanley Cup winner will be back behind the bench to guide the Red Wings against the Maple Leafs tonight in an opening night rematch.

In their last game with Smith and Lewis at the helm, the Red Wings (4-2-0) fired 57 shots on goal at Nashville's Mike Dunham to come away with a 5-2 victory Wednesday. Doug Brown and Darren McCarty scored two goals apiece and Brendan Shanahan continued his torrid scoring with his sixth goal.

"He's the same guy. He's always going to be the same guy," McCarty said of Bowman. "It's like he didn't miss a beat. He said this is what we're doing today, this is what we're going to work on. Let's do it."

Detroit, which is trying to become the first team since the 1980-83 New York Islanders to win three consecutive Stanley Cups, has won four games in a row after opening the season with consecutive one-goal losses.

Toronto (3-1-1) opened the season with three straight victories, but is 0-1-1 in its last two contests. Frederik Modin scored the tying goal late in the second period of the Maple Leafs' 2-2 tie with the Predators on Monday.

The former Central Division rivals will meet for the third and final time this season on New Year's Eve. Toronto shifted to the Northeast Division prior to the season.

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