Anaheim Head Coach Search: Rick Bowness

Photo: Tampa Bay Lightning Video

Photo: Tampa Bay Lightning Video

By Michael Walters

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness has been considered by the Ducks as a candidate for Anaheim’s next head coach. On June 3, 2013 Tampa Bay added Bowness as an associate coach. Prior to joining the Lightning, Bowness spent the previous seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, first as an assistant coach and later as an associate coach.

In total, Bowness has been part of seven coaching staffs during his coaching career, the Winnipeg Jets (1984-89), Boston Bruins (1991-92), Ottawa Senators (1992-96), New York Islanders (1996-98), Phoenix Coyotes (1999-06), the Canucks (2007-13) and the Lightning (13-current).

He was the head coach on five occasions, with the Jets in 1988-89, Bruins in 1991-92, Senators from 1992-96, Islanders from 1996-98 and in Phoenix in 2003-04. His record as a head coach is 123-289-48. He made the playoffs only once during the 1991-92 season with Boston.

Analysis:

Bowness believes in hard work, forechecking, and a grinding style of play. He hasn’t had much success as a head coach given his record and one time playoff appearance(8-7 record). He has done well in the assistant or associate coaching role. While he was with Vancouver, the Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs every season except one. The Canucks did reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 losing to the Boston Bruins in seven games after holding a 3-2 series advantage. Since joining the Lightning, the team has made the playoffs each of the last three seasons. In 2013-14 they reached the Stanley Cup Final losing to the Chicago Blackhawks. This season they made it to the Eastern Conference Final losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games.

Given his lack of success as a head coach it appears unlikely that GM Bob Murray would hire Bowness as Anaheim’s next head coach. There is still the possibility that Murray could bring him in as an assistant or associate coach, where Bowness has thrived. Bowness is a name that hasn’t been out there in previous reports of possible candidates for the Anaheim head coaching position. This reaffirms Murray intention of taking his time in finding a replacement for Bruce Boudreau and weighing several options.

Second Round Of Interviews

It appears that Randy Carlyle, Paul MacLean, and Travis Green are serious contenders. Helene Elliott of the LA Times did mention that the Ducks are in the second round of interviews, so there is some light at the end of tunnel. A decision could come in the next week or two as the NHL draft approaches.

For more discussion on the head coach search, draft, and free agency listen to our latest podcast.

 

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