Dave Tippett, Mark Crawford, Lindy Ruff have all coached Dallas in the 21st century, and none of these highly respected specialists in the league have ever led the team to the final. It turns out that Dallas reached the Stanley Cup final under the coach who hasn’t been a head one for 16 years.
In the 2003/04 season, Rick Bowness replaced Bob Francis at the Arizona Coyotes. He won twice in 20 games and since then has been listed only as an assistant.
Bowness’s whole life is hockey. He was drafted in the 1975 NHL Draft, but played very little in the league and retired after the 1983/84 seasons. Just five years later, he became the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets right in the middle of the season.
Dallas is only the second team in Bowness’s career to make the playoffs. The last success was almost 30 years ago when he coached Boston and was dismissed after losing the Conference Final.
Bowness Used to Coach Tampa
His career as an assistant is much more interesting. Bowness helped Alain Vigneault at Vancouver back in the days when such players as Sedin and Luongo played for the team. They reached the Stanley Cup final, losing to Boston in seven games. Then Bowness moved to Florida and assisted John Cooper, with whom he led Tampa to the 2015 final. Ironically, Rick will face Tampa in the third final of his career.
His main strength is that he builds excellent relationships with the players. That is especially important for young people. The Athletic wrote a year ago, “If it takes seven different techniques to uncover a player, Bowness will find all seven.” Rick Bowness has lost twice in the finals as an assistant. He has a chance to change everything as head coach now. Bowness deserves it.
What do you think about Bowness?
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