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Russo's coaching candidates: hot shots and long shots

  • April 11, 2011 - 11:27 PM

THE CANDIDATES

It's early on in the Wild's coaching search, but staff writer Michael Russo takes a look at some potential candidates to become the third coach in franchise history:

BATTLE-TESTED

Here are coaches who have run NHL benches in the past:

1. Ken Hitchcock (Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus): Won a Cup in '99, hard-nosed Hitch's teams play structured, defensively-sound and fast hockey.

2. Craig MacTavish (Edmonton): Tremendous defensive player in his day, the well-spoken TSN analyst coached the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.

3. Craig Hartsburg (Chicago, Anaheim, Ottawa): Former North Stars defenseman has a history with some in the Wild front office.

4. Andy Murray (Los Angeles, St. Louis): The former Shattuck-St. Mary's coach and North Stars assistant is entrenched in Minnesota hockey and works tirelessly.

5. Michel Therrien (Montreal, Pittsburgh): A Jacques Lemaire disciple, this fiery coach doesn't seem the right fit, but he has been scouting for the Wild.

Other possibilities: Los Angeles assistant coach John Stevens (Philadelphia); Atlanta associate coach John Torchetti (Florida, Los Angeles); Pete DeBoer (Florida); Guy Carbonneau (Montreal); Bob Hartley (Colorado, Atlanta).

* parentheses constitutes former teams

UNTESTED

Here are experienced coaches with no NHL head coaching experience:

1. Mike Haviland, right: The Blackhawks assistant is said to be ready for a head job, and he'd be a hit with Martin Havlat.

2. Mike Yeo: Very young, but the Houston coach impressed in his first year, leading the Aeros to a second seed in the AHL's Western Conference.

3. Paul MacLean: The longtime Red Wings assistant has a strong pedigree behind the bench.

4. Kirk Muller, right: A terrific former NHL center and current Canadiens assistant, he might get his first shot somewhere this summer.

5. Rick Wilson: Has been an assistant forever; he helped tighten up the Wild's defense before the wheels fell off in March.

LONG SHOTS AND NO SHOTS

« « 1. Jacques Lemaire: Ain't happening, but maybe Chuck Fletcher should call and say, "We were wrong. We don't need to be up-tempo. We just need to win."

2. Dave Tippett: Pray the Coyotes move back to Winnipeg and reports are true the Minnesota resident has an "out" in his contract.

3/4. Todd McLellan and Bruce Boudreau: Hope that San Jose and/or Washington is bounced in the first round and one or the other is canned.

5. Ted Nolan: Ugh!!!

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