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Rick Bowness leaves Stars' game at Hurricanes due to COVID-19 protocols

Assistant John Stevens assumed head coaching duties for the third period on Sunday against Carolina

by Jeff Odom @jeffodom /

Stars coach Rick Bowness did not return to the bench for the third period of Sunday's 1-0 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes because of league COVID-19 protocols.

Tweet from @DallasStars: Dallas Stars Head Coach Rick Bowness will not return to the bench for the third period due to COVID protocols.��Assistant Coach John Stevens will assume head coaching responsibilities for the remainder of the game.#GoStars

The team announced Bowness had been pulled from the game during the second intermission. Assistant John Stevens assumed head coaching duties for the remainder of the contest at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

Stars general manager Jim Nill said after the game that the team received its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results from Sunday morning during the intermission and that the team believes Bowness' test is a "false positive."

Bowness, 66, has received both vaccine doses for COVID-19. No other staff members have tested positive, Nill said, and Bowness has not experienced any symptoms of the virus.

"He was a very low grade, but it is still positive," Nill told reporters. "So out of safety concerns, he was pulled."

Tweet from @MikeHeika: Jim Nill said hope is Rick Bowness is a false positive. He has no symptoms.Nill said Anton Khudobin's retest has come back negative and he is cleared to travel with team to Chicago.

Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin was added to the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday, but has been cleared to travel with the team after testing negative on Sunday morning, Nill said. The Stars are scheduled to travel to Chicago for games on Tuesday and Thursday against the Blackhawks to finish this six-game road trip.

Bowness will remain quarantined in Raleigh and will rejoin the team after additional testing.

"Next man up, and we've had great contributions from next men up this year," said Stevens, who previously filled in while Bowness was ill for one game against the St. Louis Blues in February 2020 -- a 3-2 overtime victory for the Stars.

"I think the group deserves a lot of credit. I think we put ourselves right back in the fight. I think adversity is something that we've come to expect every day and we know how to deal with it."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Jeff Odom is the editor of and writes about the Stars/NHL. Follow him on Twitter @jeffodom.

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