Phoenix Coyotes coach brings style to struggling team

By Chris Amick

There is a new, but all too familiar face behind the Phoenix Coyotes bench. Head Coach Bobby Francis was fired on Feb. 24 after a 13 game stretch produced only two wins. Assistant Rick Bowness has run the team since and will finish out the season behind the Phoenix bench. In a press conference, Bowness talked about his expectations for the club.” We want to see a commitment from our players, we want to cut down on the goals against and we are going to be a lot harder to play against. I am going to have my own style, and I have studied winning organizations in this league, I know how they play. I know the style we must play to have success and we have to get to that point.” Bowness brings a wealth of experience to the Coyotes. In his 21 years of coaching in hockey, Bowness has headed five different NHL teams.

Although they have been short stints with each club, the new Coyote coach has a history of rebuilding franchises and he has been commended for his positive style. Bowness started his NHL coaching career in 1989, when he took over the bench of the Winnipeg Jets. The next year he joined the Boston Bruins organization in what would be his most successful stint as a head coach. After two years of coaching the Bruin’s AHL team in Maine, Bowness guided the Bruins to the 1992 Eastern Conference Finals. The Coyotes have faltered since their playoff appearance in 2002, in which Bobby Francis won coach of the year award. In 2003, the coyotes started a trend of sending off its top talent to playoff bound teams. In the past two years the coyotes have lost players like Daniel Briere, Sean Burke, Ossi Vannenen, and Danny Markov. The rest of the Coyotes staff stays intact, and scout Tom Kurvers will join the club as an assistant to fill the void left by Francis. It is unclear whether Bowness will coach the coyotes after this season. Even though his future is unclear and the coyotes playoffs hopes are probably dashed, Bowness, in his press conference talked about taking it one game at a time “I am a glass is half full type of guy. It’s a tough task, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We have a game on Wednesday, we need the two points and we will go from there.”