It appears that Glen Sather and the Rangers brass, who interviewed former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault in California this week, may be nearer to inking him to a multi-year deal to assume the vacant head coaching job in New York. TSN's Darren Dreger tweeted shortly after midnight Friday that he was told "a very substantial" offer was on the table.
Again, this is not confirmed. The Rangers have repeatedly declined to discuss the search to replace John Tortorella, who was fired May 29.
One scenario is this: Vigneault has always been interested in New York's roster and the organization (he's worked in big market pressure in Montreal and Vancouver). The execs liked what they heard from Vigneault, and with the news trickling out from Arizona that it appears the Coyotes have a good shot to stay in Phoenix, coach Dave Tippett won't be on the market.
Couple that with the report tonight from TSN's Arron Ward that Vigneault has told the Dallas Stars that he is no longer interested in their head coaching slot, and GM Jim Nill later confirmed that.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com, citing a source, said that Vigneault was in New York Friday, and speculated that he was meeting with Garden boss James Dolan.
On May 29, the day Tortorella was fired, Newsday was told by people familiar with the issue that Vigneault and Tippett were among the top candidates, based on experience, with Lindy Ruff, Sather's assistant Mark Messier, who confirmed in Chicago Friday that he was interviewed for the post, and AHL coach Dallas Eakins, in the mix.
Since then, Eakins agreed to a deal with Edmonton, and it was believed that Dan Bylsma would have been a target had he not been offered an extension by the Penguins. The L.A. Times reported Friday that the Rangers also sought permission to speak with Kings assistant coach John Stevens.
But the hunt may soon be drawing to a close....
Vigneault, 52, has won six Northwest Division titles in Vancouver and in 2011, brought the Canucks to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 2007.
Sather has said he hoped to have a coach in place by the draft, which is two weeks away.
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Rangers, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.