Frisco, Texas – Rick Bowness has been on the NHL bench in 2,562 regular season games as head coach or assistant coach for nearly four decades. The 67-year-old is not ready to finish yet although he is at the end of his contract with the Dallas Stars.
“Qualifying brings out your passion…that excitement and that pressure and all, that’s what we live for,” Bowness said on Tuesday. “It’s hard to get out of the rink losing in overtime in Game 7, but it also shows you, yes, I’m an old man, but there’s still a lot of fire in me.”
Two days after the wild kart stars ended their season with a 3-2 loss in Calgary, and two seasons after leading them to the most bizarre Stanley Cup final, it wasn’t clear if Bowness would return.
General Manager Jim Neal, who has only one year left on his contract, interviewed the players on Tuesday. He said he would sit down with owner Tom Gaglardi to determine the team’s direction, including training mode.
Bowness secured a two-year contract after the 2020 final as interim head coach, a stint that included a 4-month hiatus in the season due to the pandemic and two months in the post-season bubble in Canada. There was then a short 56-game season when the Superstars lost 14 NHL games after regulation and missed the playoffs. They scored 98 points this season and took first place in the West Wild Cards rating during the final week of the regular season.
“The players respect him,” Neal said. “He handled the situation very well.” “He did a good job. But like I said, we’ll sit down with everyone, reevaluate everything here over the next five or six days and go from there.”
Scotty Bowman and Pat Quinn, both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Bowness are the only other head coaches to have been to the games in five different decades. Bowness has done so with Winnipeg (1989), Boston (1991-1992), Ottawa (1992-1996), New York Islands (1996-1998), Phoenix (2004) and Dallas (2019-22). He was also an assistant for Vancouver and Tampa Bay.
Bowness is 89-62-25 with Dallas, and he said a one-year contract would be ideal for him. A hockey player can go elsewhere in a different role if the stars don’t bring him back.
“If you wanted them, the options would be there,” said Bowness confidently.
Whether with Bowness or another coach next season, the stars need to achieve more consistent goals outside of their first streak, which hasn’t included all-star Tyler Seguin six-times captain or captain Jimmy Bean. The Superstars were the only team out of the 16 qualifying teams to be overtaken during the regular season.
Young skaters Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson were on top with 37-year-old Joe Pavelski, who has already been re-signed for next season, who collected 232 points, the second most in franchise history for a trio, with Robertson only fourth. 40 goals. In many ways, as the season progressed, the stars joined a team that was led by Hintz and Robertson more than Segen and Bean.
Dallas feels they now have their own franchise goalkeeper in 23-year-old Jake Oettinger, who has been saved 64 times in the final were among 272 in seven games against Calgary before Johnny Goudreau’s goal at the end of the series.
“I’m even more excited to be back in this position,” Oettinger said. “Every second I was on the ice was having the time of my life, and it was a dream come true. … I’ve never wanted to win more than I do now.”
Oettinger started this season so young even after making his NHL debut in two 2020 playoff games and playing in half of the Stars’ games last season. With injuries to Anton Khodubin (hip) and Braden Holtby (lower body), and veteran Ben Bishop forced to end his football career due to a degenerative knee problem, Oettinger seized his opportunity to be the best goalkeeper.
“An amazing young goalkeeper. He will be great for this organization for a long time,” Bean said.
Ben had only 18 goals (46 points) and his career worst rating is under 13. Seguin, who missed all but three games last season with a ruptured hip and knee surgery, was minus 21 with 24 goals (49 points), but played at the end of this season against Calgary with a broken left foot bone. . Ben had only one goal in the playoff, while Seguin had two, one of which was empty.
“They still have some early years of their lives left. Tyler has had some injuries and Jimmy has had some injuries, but they still have more to come,” Neal said. “They are a huge part of our team, and we want them to be even better.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.