NHL Buzz: Bowness out of COVID-19 protocol, coach cleared to rejoin Stars


Welcome to the NHL Buzz. Throughout the 2020-21 season, NHL.com will have you covered with the latest news.

Dallas Stars

Rick Bowness is out of NHL COVID-19 protocol and the coach cleared to rejoin the Stars after a false positive COVID-19 test.

Dallas is scheduled to visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, BSSW+, NHL.TV).

The 66-year-old was in quarantine in North Carolina after he was pulled before the third period of a 1-0 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday due to protocol.

Assistant John Stevens replaced Bowness against the Hurricanes and coached the Stars in a 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday.

“I think we all presumed that he was going to be a false positive,” Stevens said before the game. “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.”

The Stars (13-14-10) are seventh in the eight-team Discover Central Division. The top four teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Tracey Myers


Ottawa Senators

Zac Bierk was named goaltending coach Tuesday, replacing Pierre Groulx, who was reassigned to a scouting and development role. 

“Unfortunately, a number of our goaltending performances this season have been underwhelming,” general manager Pierre Dorion said. “I think very highly of Pierre Groulx, he’s as dedicated and tireless a worker as anyone in the organization, but we recently reached a point where we thought a fresh outlook could help return some stability to our crease.”

The Senators are last in the NHL in allowing 3.72 goals per game. Goalie Matt Murray, who hasn’t played since March 10 because of an upper-body injury, is 7-12-1 and his 3.84 goals-against average and .880 save percentage are the worst of his six-season NHL career.

“This is based on Marcus Hogberg and Matt Murray getting their games to where we think they can be,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said Wednesday. “We have some time left in the season here to get some camaraderie with Zac, to get Murray’s game where we think it could be. We know Murray is going to be our guy and in the future get us back where we need to be. Certainly to this point, his play hasn’t been great, his numbers aren’t great. And ‘Hoggy’ as well. Both these guys have a chance at the end here to push.”

Five goalies have started for Ottawa this season: Murray, Hogberg, Anton Forsberg and rookies Filip Gustavsson and Joey Daccord.

Bierk has spent the past three seasons as the Arizona Coyotes goaltending development coach. 

The Senators (13-22-4) enter their home game against the Edmonton Oilers (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, TSN5, SNW, NHL.TV) last in the seven-team Scotia North Division. The top four teams will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. — Tom Gulitti and Mike Zeisberger 

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