Marek asked Friedman about his thoughts on the hiring of Rick Bowness. Marek called it a “real surprise move by the Winnipeg Jets”. Friedman added this:
“Ya it caught me by surprise. I know they’ve been talking about him as an assistant so I didn’t even really think of him as the head coach. I was a little bit surprised by the reaction.”
Marek interjects to say “first of all they were all expecting Barry Trotz”. Friedman continues:
“No, no, no I’m talking about post-Trotz. We knew for a week that it wasn’t gonna be Trotz. I have to tell you, I know some of the candidates, they just said the week after it was crazy. They just said you could tell the Jets were disappointed and they were kinda really wrestling with which way they could go. And he said you could see they were really stressed. We’ve talked before about the familiarity and Winnipeg thinks this is such a big hire that they wanted someone they kinda knew a bit. The thing about Bowness is, if you remember when he took over in Dallas, it was an unusual and difficult situation. That was Jim Montgomery fired for cause and it came out as a big surprise and they were reeling and he stabilized the ship. They went to a Stanley Cup Final. They went to the first round this year. Some young players like Jason Robertson really thrived under Bowness and some young players like Gurianov didn’t and he’ll get a fresh start this year. But they play with a lot of structure. They’re kinda an interesting team. They played different ways depending on what the score was. Anyways, the point I am saying is that Winnipeg is reeling a bit right now. They didn’t get the coach they wanted. I think things after Trotz said no were a little crazy. They’ve got some roster issues with players who wanna go or aren’t 100% happy. I know there were people last year or their fans who said they didn’t like the structure they did or didn’t play with. Bowness to me, he can handle all that. He handled a really tough situation in season in Dallas and they play with structure, I get it. I know there were some people they said ‘awww it’s not inspiring’ ‘he was basically retiring’. I don’t think he was retiring. I thought he was going to retire initially but the day they announced he was leaving he made it very clear to anyone who was interested that he would listen if there were other options out there that he liked. I get this one for Winnipeg. I realize it’s not the sexiest hire and I hope that the Bowness family doesn’t think that I am insulting Rick Bowness by not calling him sexy”
At which point Marek starts laughing at that last line. Friedman continues:
“I get what Winnipeg’s doing here. I think they are saying we’re reeling, we’ve had a really tough year and potentially tough off-season. We need someone whose going to have us playing a certain way and is going to have a firm hand on the rudder. Cause he did it in Dallas. That team could have fallen apart that year. He didn’t let it happen. I get why they did this. I get this one.”
The two went on to talk about the positive impact Bowness has on defence.
Listen here (Starts at 24:24) :