Rick Bowness back with Winnipeg Jets after leave of absence

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      The Winnipeg Jets saw a familiar face return to their locker room on Friday morning.

      Head coach Rick Bowness is back with the team after taking a leave of absence in October when his wife, Judy, had a seizure.

      Associate coach Scott Arniel served as an interim head coach while Bowness attended to his wife. Under Arniel, the Jets posted a 9-2-2 record, giving them an 11-5-2 record, good for third in the Western Conference’s Central Division with 24 points.

      The Jets have won four straight games, capped off with a 3-2 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday Their next game is Friday night in Miami against the Florida Panthers, then they travel to Tennessee to face the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

      Bowness, 68, is currently in his second season as the head coach of the Jets, with the team going 46-33-3 in his first season and making the playoffs before they lost in the first round to the Vegas Golden Knights.

      He joined the team after stepping away from a head coaching role with the Dallas Stars, which he held for parts of three seasons. He led the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2020 COVID bubble post-season.

      He has also been the head coach for the original Jets franchise, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Phoenix Coyotes.

      Bowness has a record of 269-389-33-48 in 738 career NHL games, as well as a playoff record of 27-27.

      He is the only coach to have been in the role in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.

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