With a little more than two weeks left before the NHL draft, the hunt for a head coach in two major markets centered on the West Coast on Tuesday, raising the possibility of an unusual swap.
While Alain Vigneault, the former Canucks coach, was in California being interviewed by Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather, Canucks GM Mike Gillis reportedly was having discussions with former Rangers coach John Tortorella in Vancouver.
Each team is doing its due diligence, and weighing how much to change the voice and approach from behind the bench after disappointing finishes.
The Rangers targeted Vigneault early, seeking permission to speak with him soon after they dismissed Tortorella. Vigneault, a Quebec City native, left Vancouver with a 313-170-57 record and six division titles in seven years and a Game 7 loss at home to the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. The Canucks were 26-15-7 during the shortened season, and finished third in the West, but were eliminated in the first round by the Sharks. Vigneault was fired May 22.
The Rangers sent questionnaires to candidates, including Dallas Eakins, who was hired by Edmonton two days ago. The Rangers also have received permission to speak with former Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. Mark Messier, Sather's special assistant for the past four years, also has expressed interest in the job.
Tortorella, hired in February 2009, is just one candidate in Vancouver, which also was interested in Eakins. The Canucks already have spoken to former Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
Ruff, Kings assistant coach John Stevens, and ex-Lightning coach Guy Boucher also appear to be under consideration.