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Report: Rangers Hiring Rick Bowness As Assistant Coach (Update: NOPE)

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Tampa Bay Lightning Practice Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Rangers are reportedly going to hire former Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Rick Bowness to replace Ulf Samuelsson. Per John Buccigross:

This is something of an interesting signing. Bowness and Alain Vigneault are VERY close friends, and have worked together for over a decade in some capacity. Bowness hired Vigneault to be his assistant when he was with Ottawa in the 90's (his record with the Senators was 39-178-18 -- those 18 are ties not OTL) and then spent seven years with Vigneault as an assistant when AV was running the ship in Vancouver.

Most recently Bowness has been the assistant coach with Tampa Bay (since 2013) mainly working on the defense and penalty killing.

A few weeks ago Elliotte Friedman speculated in his 30 Thoughts column about Bowness potentially getting some looks for a head coaching opportunity — or maybe more of him wanting some looks as another head coach:

9. Can’t say for sure how serious it is, but a couple coaching sources say Washington’s Todd Reirden might get a call, too, now that the Capitals are out.

Since the Ducks and Flames are willing to wait, you wonder about coaches still active in the postseason, like a Kirk Muller. Tampa’s Rick Bowness would love another chance.

That, clearly, never came to fruition.

Once this is confirmed I’m going to have longer thoughts on the matter. I’m not sure Vigneault hiring a friend is the best thing in the world with the team needing a new direction.

Before you go crazy about Jeff Beukeboom not getting the job, I think the Rangers might not want to subject him to this particular coaching staff in the event things don’t go well this year.

Like I said, I’ll expand on this more once it’s official, but those are my initial thoughts.

**UPDATE** 9:50 AM

So... maybe he won't be joining the Rangers’ coaching staff and filling the vacancy left by Ulf. Apparently Bowness came close to joining the Blueshirts’ coaching staff but eventually decided to stay in Tampa alongside head coach Jon Cooper.

We’ll let you know if there are any more developments on this story.