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Rick Bowness signs contract extension with Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on the bench with his team during second period action against the New York Rangers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden in New York Monday evening (5/18/15).

DIRK SHADD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on the bench with his team during second period action against the New York Rangers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden in New York Monday evening (5/18/15).

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 joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Rick Bowness signs contract extension with Lightning 06/14/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 9:31pm]
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