Storied coaches are littered throughout the NHL, however only one has stood the test of time since the 1980s: Rick Bowness. Having played in the league before his coaching stint, few can match his hockey experience. After just one season, it’s early to be calling for changes in the front office. However after disagreements with some players after the 2022 playoffs, the question of fit could be raised if another strong season finishes short.
There’s no argument Bowness isn’t a strong coach historically, being a part of some extremely strong rosters and iconic teams throughout his coaching run, including both being the first coach for the expansion Ottawa Senators and coaching the first iteration of the Winnipeg Jets for a season in the 1988-1989 season. However much of his success has come as an assistant or associate coach: namely with the Lightning and the Canucks.
Having spent 10 + seasons as a head coach, he’s only had two years where his team has advanced past the first round of the playoffs. Those two teams, the 1992 Boston Bruins and 2019 Dallas Stars were both contenders before Bowness arrived as a coach however, meaning they may have found this success regardless of his contributions. The Bruins even fired him the following season, while the Stars let his contract expire after two seasons.
Nobody is arguing against Bowness' lifetime of coaching knowledge. However, when looking at his legacy, the success in the playoffs leaves some room for improvement. And with a Jets franchise looking to win, how long can they wait to see if Bowness is the man for the job?