Jets coach Rick Bowness mum on future, but sees growth

Despite playing their best game of the series, the Jets season came to a heartbreaking end Tuesday night, as they were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kurt Black reports.

By Sportsnet Staff

Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness wasn’t interested in talking about his future after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

The Jets were eliminated in the first round for the second consecutive year, and post-game, Bowness deflected the question about whether he’d be back behind the bench next season.

“We just lost in the playoffs,” Bowness told reporters. “We’ll figure that out.”

Bowenss, 69, has a mutual option on the third year of his contract for next season. He has coached the Jets for the past two seasons, leading them to the playoffs in both campaigns.

Contrary to when the Jets were eliminated in Round 1 last season by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the coach questioned his team’s pushback, Bowness seemed proud of his team’s effort this year, especially in Game 5.

“In the two years that’s by far the best playoff game we’ve played,” Bowness said of Tuesday’s loss. “… We’re way ahead of where we were at this point last year when we lost. Way ahead.”

But as much as he was proud of his team Tuesday, Bowness did acknowledge that while he does believe the Jets improved this season, they still have a ways to go as they head into the off-season.

In each of the past two playoff series, the Jets lost the final four games after winning the opener.

“There are no moral victories, there’s growth, you gotta grow,” Bowness said. “We took a lot of strides as a group this year, we grew a lot, we did. That’s why we were 110 points and led the league in goals against.

“Now is there still room for growth? Absolutely.”

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