New Lightning assistant coach Rick Bowness said he loves working with young players, "and every scout I spoke to in hockey tells me there's some good young prospects here."
That said, Bowness, 58, knows he won't always be able to relate: "I always tell the players, 'You want me out of that locker room, put on that (bad) music you listen to. If it's not Led Zeppelin, I'm not coming in.' "
Bowness joined Tampa Bay in the offseason after seven years with the Canucks, who fired him and coach Alain Vigneault in a general housecleaning after last season.
With 24 years of NHL coaching experience — including head coaching stints with the Jets, Bruins, Islanders, Senators and Coyotes — Bowness will provide Lightning coach Jon Cooper, in his first full NHL season, with a well of knowledge from which to draw.
And though Bowness — who also played seven years in the league as a center with the old Atlanta Flames, Blues, Red Wings and Jets — wants to again be a bench boss, he knows his place.
"I'm going to let him run things," Bowness said of Cooper, "and help along the way."
What shaped your coaching philosophy?
The fundamentals of the game really haven't changed. You still have to be strong defensively. You still have to be strong with the fundamentals of the game. The coaching, the art of it, changes with the generations of players. The art of dealing with today's athlete is a different animal than it was 10 years ago, so I've adjusted to the change of generations … rather than the philosophy of the game.
In what ways?
They're raised differently than they were 20 years ago. You have to be more patient and understanding. You can still beat them over the head in a different way, but now you have to warn them.
How will your style play off Cooper's?
I'm going to have to tone it down a little, and I know that. Alain just kind of let me go. He'd let me snap at (players) on the bench or between periods. I get into every game, sometimes too much at my age. But I will try to tone it down a bit working with Jon because I have to see how he runs his bench. I've got to feed off Jon. That will take a little time.
What's your take on him?
There's no huge ego there. It's a democracy, and that's good.
Why is that important?
You have to have that personal chemistry. You have to be able to sit down here and look him in the eye and know it's going to work. … I want to enjoy every day coming to the rink, so there's got to be good chemistry between the whole staff.
But there will be differences of opinion, right?
Not necessarily on philosophy, but differences of opinion on certain things, and there should be. Listen, Alain and I, we'd go at it. But at the end of the discussion, this is what we're doing, and it's one voice. You have your arguments … and then it's one voice, and that's Jon's voice.
Do you want to be a head coach again?
Absolutely. That's never gone away. What I don't want to do is what I've done three times in my career and mop up. "Okay, they're going to fire the coach, you come in and you mop up," and the season is over, and it just kills you. So, if I had a chance to be a head coach again with a team that had a chance to win the Stanley Cup, absolutely. We all want to do that. But for now, this is my role. I'm going to do the best job I can in the job that I have.