The Winnipeg Jets have announced that head coach Rick Bowness has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result of the test, Bowness will not be able to coach tonight’s season-opening game against the New York Rangers, and assistant coach Scott Arniel will assume head coaching duties in the interim during Bowness’ absence.
This news isn’t ideal for Bowness and the Jets, although it’s thankfully not a regular occurrence in the NHL as it used to be, nor is it the sort of development that could threaten to derail a season, as some COVID positives have been in the past. The Jets will afford Bowness the time he needs to get back to full health while Arniel takes the reins in the interim. Arniel, 60, was an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals for four seasons before joining Bowness’ staff this summer, and he has six years of head coaching experience on his resume split between the Columbus Blue Jackets and AHL’s Manitoba Moose.
Now, for some other notes from across the NHL:
- The Los Angeles Kings announced updates to their hockey operations staff last night. Per the announcement, Nelson Emerson has been promoted to the position of Assistant General Manager, while Glen Murray has been promoted to Senior Director of Player Personnel. As Zach Dooley of L.A. Kings Insider writes, both executives have been “key right-hand men” for GM Rob Blake, meaning their promotions could be a response to the Kings’ encouraging 2021-22 season.
- Former NHL defenseman Kevin Bieksa signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Vancouver Canucks yesterday in order to retire with the team he spent most of his 808-game NHL career with. Bieksa, 41, is best remembered from his playing days as a hard-nosed, physical defenseman, and he is now most visible as a studio analyst on Sportsnet’s NHL broadcasts.