The Dallas Stars’ plan to remedy their post-season coaching situation has not changed with their Stanley Cup playoff success, general manager Jim Nill said Wednesday.
The Vegas Stars and Golden Knights are tied before Game 3 of the Best-of-7 Series at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the hub city for the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals, Thursday (8 p.m. HE; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Bowness was promoted on December 10 when Jim Montgomery was fired for unprofessional conduct. Montgomery said on Jan. 3 that he had received alcohol abuse counseling and enrolled in an inpatient residential program.
The Stars were 20-13-5 after the change of coach. They advanced to the conference finals by beating the Calgary Flames in six games in the first round and the Colorado Avalanche in seven games in the second round.
“When we had to make the switch, it all happened pretty quickly,” Nill said. “We went from changing coaches to having Rick taking over and then all of a sudden you have a pandemic. It gave it a chance to reset, and I think we’re reaping the rewards right now. chance to put his mark on this team. I was very impressed. ”
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Nill said Bowness’s positive impact is evident from the way the Stars respond to him.
“When you see the players reacting to a coach and the decisions he has to make, that’s important,” said Nill. “I know Rick has the full support of the players, and that’s very important. ”
Dallas Center Tyler Seguin said it was clear to the players that Bowness was in charge and that they appreciated the way he worked with them.
“He’s one of those guys you want to win for,” Seguin said.
Bowness hadn’t coached a team since replacing Bob Francis for the last 20 games with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2003-04. Since then, he’s been an assistant for the Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Stars.
He is 142-302-8 with 48 games tied as a coach with the Stars, Coyotes, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets, and 18-15-0 in 33 playoff games. At 65, he is the oldest coach in the NHL.
“I’m just me with the players,” Bowness said. “This is how I have always coached. I am not one of those who label [coaches] player-coach, [or] not a player coach. I don’t believe in all of this. I am just me. I do it my way. ”