Lightning duo endorse Bowness as coaching addition

Rick Bowness was hired this month to handle the defense and penalty kill and provide coach Jon Cooper, entering his first full NHL season, with an experienced right-hand man.

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Rick Bowness was hired this month to handle the defense and penalty kill and provide coach Jon Cooper, entering his first full NHL season, with an experienced right-hand man.

Mattias Ohlund called Rick Bowness "a perfect coach, a teacher."

Sami Salo said Bowness is "an intense coach, very into the game, very emotional."

The characterizations from the Lightning defensemen about Tampa Bay's new associate coach are noteworthy. Both played for Bowness — Salo for six seasons, Ohlund for three — when he held the same position with the Canucks.

"He knows the game," Salo said. "He helped me a lot during those years."

Bowness, 58, was hired this month to handle the defense and penalty kill and provide coach Jon Cooper, entering his first full NHL season, with an experienced right-hand man.

An NHL head coach or assistant coach for 24 years, Bowness spent the past seven seasons with Vancouver. He was fired after the regular season in a housecleaning that included coach Alain Vigneault.

Bowness, who got a three-year deal from Tampa Bay, also spoke to the Oilers but called the Lightning "my first choice."

Salo said Bowness is masterful at breaking down video and explaining player tendencies. Ohlund said his communication skills will be especially appreciated by younger players.

"He's one of these guys you can tell he likes what he's doing," Ohlund said. "You can tell he enjoys going to work."

Not that he's a pushover.

"He's like an old-school coach," Salo said. "He's a fired-up guy. You'll see a lot of things happening behind the bench. You need to be positive and find the line where you need to push guys, and he has done that. He's going to be very good for our team."

MINOR MOVE: Swiss star Retu Suri signed a one-year, two-way contract with the understanding the left wing will remain with Zug of Switzerland's elite league in 2013-14.

GM Steve Yzerman said Suri, 24, wants the best chance to play with the Swiss team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"We're comfortable with that," Yzerman said.

Tampa Bay will hold Suri's rights until he is 27.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder had 14 goals, 25 points in 46 games last season for Zug and had five goals, eight points in 10 games at last month's world championship, where Switzerland lost to Sweden in the final.

GOALIE BAN: The decision by the Canadian junior leagues to ban European goalies within four years should have no effect on Lightning prospect Andrey Vasilevskiy, said Al Murray, Tampa Bay's head amateur scout.

Vasilevskiy, 18, was previously drafted by Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League, and his two years of remaining junior eligibility will run out before the ban begins.

Vasilevskiy, whom the Lightning drafted 19th overall in 2012, could be in North America next season if he can get out of the final year of his contract with Ufa of Europe's Kontinental Hockey League.

BIGGER PICTURE: Some in Canada criticized the goalie ban on the grounds it lessens competition for jobs that can make players better.

But Murray, previously with Hockey Canada, the national governing body that works in conjunction with the junior leagues, favors the ban.

"We know in Canada we have not produced the quality of goalies as other countries, not consistently," he said. "It's a pretty logical move to improve Canadian goaltending."

ODDS AND ENDS: The undisclosed injury that has kept AHL Syracuse D Radko Gudas out of the Calder Cup final against Grand Rapids will not require surgery, Crunch GM Julien BriseBois said. Gudas is expected to be with Tampa Bay next season. … Syracuse trails in the final 3-0. Game 4 is tonight. … Syracuse (and former Lightning) assistant Marty Raymond is said to be a front-runner to coach Drummondville of the junior Quebec league.

Lightning duo endorse Bowness as coaching addition 06/13/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:22pm]

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