Former Islanders coach, Rick Bowness has his Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup playoffs after taking over as the interim head coach.
While the Islanders were off last night, I couldn’t help but check out the Western Conference Final. Dallas, who is built similarly to the Islanders, stormed past the Golden Knights in five games to advance to the Cup Final.
Behind the bench for Dallas is a familiar face, Rick Bowness. Bowness was the Isles coach in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998, in the midst of the darkest times for the franchise.
Bowness was brought in to be Mike Milbury’s assistant in the 1996-1997 season. After a 12-23-9 start for Milbury, he resigned and put Bowness in charge. The Isles actually finished strong that year.
It wasn’t quite the Doug Weight effect, but they went 16-18-3, which considering their roster and pitiful start is rather impressive. He would come back to be the head coach the following year but wouldn’t last the entire season.
After a 22-32-9 start, he was fired and Mike Milbury went behind the bench. Those teams were brutal but Bowness still got a decent amount out of the guys he had on the roster.
After getting let go by Milbury, he’d join the Coyotes He was an assistant and after the team decided to move on from Bobby Francis in the middle of the 2003-2004 season, Bowness took over.
The Coyotes were awful finishing 2-12-3-3 the rest of the way. Bowness would return as an assistant to new head coach Wayne Gretzky in the 2005-2006 season.
Bowness had successful stops as an assistant with Vancouver and Tampa Bay before landing with Dallas. He was hired to be an assistant coach in June of 2018 and was given the job as HC after Jim Montgomery was fired for unprofessional conduct.
Now, 10 months later his team is in the Stanley Cup final. Talk about a good story. A guy who struggled to get a consistent head coaching gig finally gets a shot with a good team and takes them to the Cup final.
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If the Islanders don’t complete a comeback, I’ll be rooting for Bowness’ team. Hat tip to the former Islanders on this one, this is a cool story.