Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness is back.
Per Tracey Myers of the NHL’s official website, Bowness has been cleared from the league’s COVID-19 protocols list and can rejoin the Stars after it was determined he registered a “false positive” coronavirus test result. The 66-year-old was surprisingly pulled before the third period of Sunday’s loss at the Carolina Hurricanes due to COVID-19 concerns and missed Tuesday’s defeat at the Chicago Blackhawks.
Assistant John Stevens served as interim coach for the remainder of Sunday’s matchup and Tuesday’s loss. Dallas plays at Chicago again on Thursday evening.
As noted by an ESPN piece, Dallas general manager Jim Nill said Sunday that it was immediately believed Bowness likely recorded a false-positive result because the coach is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Nevertheless, the NHL’s health and safety protocols kept Bowness away from the Stars until he continued to test negative through Wednesday morning.
“I think we all presumed that he was going to be a false positive,” Stevens said before Tuesday’s contest. “We Zoomed him in for the meeting today. He’s doing great, feels great. I think he feels bad about not being with the team right now. If you know Rick, that bothers him a lot.”
Following Tuesday’s action, Dallas sits seventh in the NHL Central standings with 36 points, seven points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators. Only the top four teams from each division will qualify for the playoffs.