Rick Bowness was an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks until recently, but it’s looking like he could be back behind a bench soon.
Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports the Lightning are close to signing Bowness to be head coach Jon Cooper’s new assistant coach. Tampa Bay is in the market for a new assistant after they did not offer former assistant coach Dan Lacroix a new contract.
Bowness has a lot of history in hockey as a coach as he’s spent the last 21 years behind the bench in some fashion. The last seven years he’s spent as Alain Vigneault’s assistant in Vancouver until being fired just a couple weeks ago. He was an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes for five years before his time in Vancouver.
Guy Boucher’s number is up in Tampa Bay.
General Manager Steve Yzerman announced this morning that they were relieving Boucher of his coaching duties, ending his run as the team’s head coach after two seasons and 31 games this year.
The Lightning got out to a 13-17-1 record this season and sit in fourth place in the Southeast Division but just three points ahead of Florida for last in the Eastern Conference. Yzerman’s comment on Boucher’s departure shows that things just didn’t go their way this year.
“Guy has poured his heart and soul into the Lightning organization for these past three years and we appreciate all the work he has done,” said Yzerman upon making the announcement. “But ultimately I am not satisfied with the direction we are heading and I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise.”
The Lightning play in Winnipeg tonight and assistant coaches Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix will share coaching duties for that game.
As for who will ultimately take over for Boucher as the new bench boss, former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff will jump to the front of the discussion, but a more likely choice to take over would be the franchise’s current AHL head coach in Syracuse, Jon Cooper.