The Winnipeg Jets have announced that head coach Rick Bowness has returned to the team after taking a leave of absence to be with his wife following a medical emergency. Bowness left the team a month ago and associate coach Scott Arniel served as interim head coach while Bowness was with his family.
Bowness will officially re-join the team and serve as head coach today when the Jets take on the Florida Panthers. Winnipeg surprisingly sits in third place in the Central Division with an 11-5-2 record, they trail division leaders the Dallas Stars by just two points.
Bowness met up with the Jets in Sunrise, Florida today and the team posted a video of the 68-year-old circling the clubs dressing room and greeting the players. The Jets rallied after a slow start to the season and managed to go 9-2-2 in Bowness’s absence. With their head coach now back in the fold, the Jets appear poised to go on a run as one of the feel-good stories in the early part of the NHL season.
In other afternoon notes:
- Tampa Bay Times writer Eduardo A. Encina is reporting that Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy will make his season debut today when the team takes on the Carolina Hurricanes. Vasilevskiy was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate today signalling that he will make his return from back surgery. The 2019 Vezina Trophy winner has yet to dress this season and should provide a jolt to a team that has been treading water early in the year. Tampa Bay is 9-6-5 which is good enough for third in the Atlantic Division and impressive for a team that had to play a quarter of the season without one of the best goaltenders in the world.
- Chicago Sun-Times writer Ben Pope tweeted today that Chicago Blackhawks forward Corey Perry will not play again today and that no further updates have been given. Perry missed practice after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday for what was deemed an ‘organizational decision.’ It appears he will remain a healthy scratch for the time being as the Blackhawks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs this afternoon. Perry has four goals and five assists in 16 games this season and has registered a -6.