In L.A., Bowman, Quinn Will Meet Again

The last time the NHL held its All-Star game in Los Angeles, in 1981, Scotty Bowman had left the bench before the start of the season to be general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.

Bowman, however, coached the Wales Conference team against Pat Quinn's Campbell Conference team in the 1981 All-Star game, which was played at the Forum. In the days leading up to the game, Bowman told reporters that he hoped it would be the last game he coached.

Twenty-one years later, Bowman is still coaching, in Detroit, and he will face Quinn, of Toronto, again in Saturday's 52nd All-Star game at Staples Center.

"I enjoy the job," Bowman said. "The toughest part when a player finishes playing is not all the events as much as the camaraderie. They all say the same thing. It's just that they are so used to being with the teammates during the hockey season.

"It's like that for a coach too. You are used to getting in a routine and going down to the rink and practicing or a game or whatever it might be, so that keeps you going. You don't really have much time when you are a coach to sit back and say, you know, it is time to do something else right now. You are just thinking. I think you are thinking of your team probably when you are sleeping too."

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The NHL All-Star weekend will kick into high gear tonight with the YoungStars Game and SuperSkills Competition starting at 6 at Staples Center.

Atlanta's high-scoring rookies Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk will be among the 24 players taking part in the YoungStars game, which will feature NHL players under 25 years old.

King broadcaster Jim Fox will coach against former King coach and current ESPN broadcaster Barry Melrose in a game that will feature four-on-four play in three 10-minute periods.

The skills competition will start following the game and include various team and individual events. Players divided into World and North American All-Star teams will compete in puck control and breakaway relays, fastest skater, hardest shot, accuracy and passing events.

The accuracy event should be wide open this year with future hall of fame defenseman Ray Bourque now retired. Bourque finished at least tied for first the last five years.

Lonnie White

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