Scotty Bowman wasn't behind the bench. But the Detroit coach was in Joe Louis Arena, and that was good enough to pump up the Detroit Red Wings.
Bowman, who is recovering from heart and knee surgery, walked into the dressing room minutes before the opening ceremony.
"It was really good to see Scotty," Shanahan said. "It got the guys in the dressing room pumped up. He just walked in and said, 'Hey, guys!' He looked happy. He seemed excited to see us, and we were happy to see him."
Shanahan, who led the team with 28 goals despite a bad back last season, seemed a picture of health as he scored his 11th career hat trick. Shanahan, who has four goals after three games, beat goalie Grant Fuhr once in the first period and twice in the third as the Red Wings opened a 4-1 lead.
Sergei Federov also scored for Detroit and Steve Yzerman had three assists for the two-time defending NHL champions. Marty Reasoner scored for the Blues, who matched Detroit with 25 shots on goal.
"Chris Osgood was good in goal and we were never in the game," Blues defenseman Marc Bergevin said. "We came out fla. I don't know why."
| Uwe Krupp and the Red Wings kept the puck away from Pierre Turgeon and the Blues as Detroit won its home opener. (AP) |
It might have been because the Blues had to cool their heels in the dressing room while the Red Wings celebrated last year's Stanley Cup championship.
"It's tough to wait 45 minutes after warmups, but they had to wait, too," Blues defenseman Chris Pronger said.
Yzerman said the pregame festivities and Bowman's appearance gave him a big lift. But it didn't last.
"That's good to get you jump-started," Yzerman said. "But after the first period, you have nothing left. You're thinking, 'Oh, no!'"
The cheers were almost deafening at times during the pregame ceremony, with the biggest cheers for Bowman. He watched the game from owner Mike Ilitch's private box.
"We enjoyed seeing him ," Yzerman said. "The players have become fond of him. It's not an open relationship, but we enjoy being around him and watching him work."
Bowman had spent the day at Beaumont Hospital undergoing a stress checkup. The results of those tests will determine whether he returns to coach again. Assistants Dave Lewis and Barry Smith have run the club in his absence.
What began as a tight-checking game opened up with three goals in the final 1:43 of the first period.
Fedorov, who missed the first 59 games in a contract holdout last season, started the outburst with a power-play goal. Reasoner tied it 17 seconds later, then Shanahan banged in a rebound of Jamie Macoun's shot for a 2-1 lead with 29.3 seconds left.
Shanahan's second goal of the game and third of the season came when he flipped the puck over Fuhr's stick from a goalmouth scramble with 5:45 left in the second. He beat Fuhr with a wrist shot over the goalie's glove from between the circles with 1:15 remaining in the second.
"My greatest goal was to win the Stanley Cup," Shanahan said. "But after winning the Cup, it was still kind of disturbing to hear rumors that I couldn't score anymore."
The Blues had two good chances to close the gap in the third period, but Osgood made saves on Scott Young and Tony Twist.
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