Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Rick Bowness signs contract extension with Lightning

Rick Bowness would still love another chance to be a head coach.

Bowness, 61, nearly got it this month, interviewing for the Ducks' vacancy, finishing runnerup to Randy Carlyle.

But Bowness said he's thrilled to remain a Lightning associate coach, signing a two-year extension to stay in Tampa Bay. He told the Tampa Bay Times the deal is for a couple of years. He also denied a report he was close to joining the Rangers staff.

"We're very happy here" Bowness said.

Bowness has been on coach Jon Cooper's staff since the 2013-14 season, in charge of the defense and penalty kill, which ranked fifth in the league last season. Cooper, in his first NHL head coaching job, has also credited Bowness, a five-time former head coach in his fourth decade in the league, with helping show him the ropes.

Bowness surpassed the 2,000-game mark last season, but is still chasing his first Stanley Cup. The Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup final last year and lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final this season.

"We know we're close," he said.

But Bowness said he's "not even close" to retiring.

"The day I wake up and don't want to go to the rink, that's the day I'll retire," he said. "A long way from that."

BUYOUT OPEN: The league's buyout period opens today, running until June 30, with veteran defenseman Matt Carle a potential candidate.

Carle, 31, the team's highest-paid defenseman ($5.5 million), has seen his role decline. He often was a healthy scratch last season, including Game 7 of the East final. Carle has two years left on his deal, and if he's bought out, the Lightning would be responsible for two-thirds of his remaining salary ($7.3 million), which would be broken down as $1.83 million the next four seasons. That would save Tampa Bay $3.66 million in each of the next two seasons, but add $1.83 million to the following two years' cap.

CAMP DATES: The team will hold its annual development camp June 28-July 2 at Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. Schedule and roster to be announced.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

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