With Edmonton announcing their recent signing of up-and-coming AHL coach Dallas Eakins as their new bench boss, Rangers GM Glen Sather and the rest of New York’s top brass have stepped up their interest in the pursuit of the axed Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and former Canucks man behind the pine Alain Vigneault.
Vigneault, already scheduled to meet with Sather and Co. today at his ‘White House of the West’, is believed to be towards the top of a short list of candidates in line to replace the ousted Tortorella. The Canucks former coach brought Vancouver to the brink of the Stanley Cup in 2011 and two time winner the Presidents’ Trophy in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, is widely considered to be the anthesis to the brash and at times hostile communication style of the recently departed Tortorella.
While his coaching pedigree speaks for itself, one thing that stacks up against Vigneault is the four-line philosophy he famously employed while north of the border; a style for a team like New York that could seriously wreak havoc with their lack of depth on the bench. Further compounding the issue is for Vigneault is Buffalo recently granting permission for New York to finally meet with their former 16-year coach Ruff, and the recent rumors swirling around the league that Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma may be dismissed by the team as early as next week following their dismal two goal performance in the Eastern Conference finals against Boston.
Meanwhile “The Captain”, Mark Messier, who has been working as special assistant to GM Sather for the last four years and has quietly thrown his hat in the ring in consideration for the coaching title is still in the mix. Even with the least experience of the group, Messier has clearly emerged as fan favorite around the tri-state area and should keep things interesting as New York looks to fill their coaching void before the start of the NHL draft on June 30th.