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Red Wings coach retires with another Stanley Cup
DETROIT -- On the night he won his ninth -- and final -- Stanley Cup, a retirement-bound Scotty Bowman upstaged his Detroit Red Wings stars who finally got their first.
Dominik Hasek finally won the Cup he has chased throughout a Hall of Fame career -- and 600-goal scorer Luc Robitaille did, too -- as the Red Wings beat Carolina 3-1 Thursday night to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Bowman won a record ninth Stanley Cup as coach, breaking a tie with Toe Blake, and then announced his retirement before putting on his skates to take a victory lap.
"It's my last game as a coach. I've been thinking about it," he said, making the announcement even before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presented the Red Wings with the silver cup. "I made up my mind at the Olympic break.
"It's time to go," said the 68-year-old Bowman, who will stay with the team as a consultant. "I just told my wife 10 minutes ago. I'm not an old man, but it's time to go. I never knew before, but I felt this year that this was it. I'm so happy that I was able to go out with a winning team."
Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said, "We just had a big hug, he whispered in my ear, 'I've got to go.' I just said, 'Thank you, Scotty."'
Just as he did after winning his first Cup with Detroit in 1997, Bowman carried the cup around the ice with his players -- the 10th for the franchise.
"I wanted to do it again," Bowman said. "I enjoy being with the guys."
Bowman said he wasn't thinking as much of his own record as he was those who hadn't won the Cup: Hasek and Robitaille, being the most prominent.
"What a win. ... That's what I'm thinking about. The guys who hadn't won," Bowman said.
The Red Wings sealed it with Shanahan's empty-net goal with 45 seconds left.
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs -- the first European to win it, just as Hasek is the first European goalie to lead his team to the Cup.
Bowman, who first coached in the finals during the 1960s, became the second major pro sports coach in two nights to win a ninth title, joining Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach is the only other coach with nine titles in any of the four major sports.
But this title also will be remembered for being Hasek's first, just as Ray Bourque's first with Colorado was a year ago.
Hasek, who at 37 may also retire now that he's got a Cup, finally gave up a goal -- Jeff O'Neill's line drive that he had no chance to play late in the second period -- after shutting out Carolina for more than 166 minutes.
Afterward, Hasek said he would decide in "a couple days" whether he would retire.
"Give me 3-4 days," he said.
It was Hasek's almost perfect play in the final three games and the timely scoring of Brett Hull and Igor Larionov that turned around the series and finished a season dominated by Red Wings from start to finish. Their Presidents' Trophy for winning the regular season was all but assured by a 22-3-1 start.
From the time Hull scored with just over a minute left in Game 3 to prevent Detroit from going down 2-1 in the series, allowing Larionov to win it late in the third overtime, Detroit outscored Carolina 8-1.
Detroit teased its fans throughout the first period Thursday night without a series of good scoring chances without getting the first goal, only to get it early in the second period.
Holmstrom, skating down the slot, stuck out his stick with his right hand to deflect Larionov's pass from the right circle through Arturs Irbe's pads.
Holmstrom's eighth goal of the playoffs, at 4:07 of the second, was all a jammed Joe Louis Arena crowd needed to erupt into a wave of red and white -- many in replica Red Wings jerseys.
If the first goal looked big in a low-scoring finals in which the no winning team has scored more than three goals, the second looked even bigger.
In a series in which nearly every key goal was scored at even strength, Shanahan powered in a shot from the right circle at 14:04 -- only the third Detroit goal in 22 power-play chances.
But, turned aside repeatedly for the equivalent of 2 1/2 games by Hasek, the Hurricanes finally scored on O'Neill's power play goal at 18:50, only the second in 23 chances for the Hurricanes.
The goal ended Hasek's scoreless streak at 166 minutes, 3 seconds dating to O'Neill's third-period goal in Detroit's three-overtime victory in Game 3. Hasek shut out the Hurricanes 3-0 in Game 4 on Monday night.
Hasek didn't have a chance on O'Neill's slap shot from the edge of the right circle as the puck slammed off the rear of the net and came out so quickly it took a lengthy video review to uphold the goal.
Until then, Detroit -- determined not to let the series go back to Carolina for a Game 6 on the Hurricanes' home ice -- had nearly all the good scoring chances, with Robitaille hitting the left post in the first period and Sergei Fedorov halted by Irbe on a short breakaway later in the period.
Hasek's best save came late in the first when, after a Detroit giveaway in its own end, he just got his left skate out to turn aside a Sami Kapanen shot from five feet. Kapanen, Carolina's second-leading goal scorer during the season, scored only one goal in the playoffs.