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Russo's Rants

Michael Russo gives you complete coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL

Wild's Fletcher reportedly in Southern California today

TSN's Darren Dreger reported via Twitter that he hears Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is in California today.

This jibes with what I was hearing yesterday, which is why I ended yesterday's John Torchetti/Bruce Boudreau blog with, Both Boudreau and [Randy] Carlyle live in southern California, so if Fletcher's planning a trip there, he could conceivably kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

I couldn't second source that the reason Fletcher met with Torchetti yesterday was because he planned to fly to California last night for "a couple days." As of now, I haven't confirmed Fletcher is in California, but like I said, what the always trustworthy Dreger reports jibes with what I heard yesterday.

I believe Boudreau is meeting with Fletcher today.

As I also have reported, Fletcher is interested in Randy Carlyle. He lives in southern California, too, so it would make sense that Fletcher meets with them both while in the O.C. the next few days.

Fletcher is usually patient and methodical. The fact he's being so aggressive here shows the urgency of the situation.

Boudreau is very likely at the top of his list. But Ottawa has also been granted permission to talk to Boudreau, and after today's news that Calgary has fired Bob Hartley, Calgary will surely seek permission, too.

So, suddenly, Boudreau's got a line of suitors.

It certainly sounds like Fletcher is putting on the hard sell. I'm sure he would love to wrap up this coaching search quickly. I'd guess though that Boudreau will want to meet with Ottawa and Calgary, so I'd suspect this search won't end imminently.

I'll update the blog later if there's a need or further confirmations of anything.

And, of course, Hartley is suddenly another name available if Fletcher wants to do his due diligence there.

Hartley, who won a Cup with Colorado, was 134-135-25 in four seasons with Calgary and won the Jack Adams last season as Coach of the Year. But the Flames came back to life this season in large part because of goalie issues.

But from everything I've been hearing before the Hartley news came down, Boudreau, Carlyle and Torchetti are the guys Fletcher is really focusing on. Fletcher does have interest in Anaheim assistant coach Paul MacLean, but from what I heard as of yesterday, it didn't sound like the Ducks granted Fletcher permission to talk with MacLean yet.

"Bob has taken this team as far as I feel he can take it," Flames GM Brad Treliving said of Hartley. "Each coach has their own style, their own way of doing things. Bob, to me, is able to get a lot out of players. But when you sit back and review and as I’ve gone through this process over the last few weeks, I felt for us to move forward as an organization that it was time, it was important and it was critical that we made this decision."

Wild GM Fletcher talks to Boudreau, Torchetti; Yeo talks to Ottawa

The search for the Wild's fifth (or maybe fourth if John Torchetti keeps the gig) head coach has officially begun.

According to sources, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher received permission and had his first phone conversation with recently fired Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau over the weekend. In addition, Fletcher sat down with Torchetti today for the first time since the season ended.

Fletcher said last week that Torchetti was "definitely a very serious candidate."

Part of the reason for meeting with Torchetti, despite the obvious discussion about whether his vision for the future aligns with Fletcher's vision, was to deconstruct what happened with the team down the stretch as Fletcher begins the intel and analysis phase of the offseason.

But as much as Fletcher said last week he's in no rush to hire a coach, the timetable clearly was accelerated once Boudreau was fired Friday by the Ducks.

The last time Boudreau was unemployed, that lasted two days. And with the Wild and Ottawa Senators the only two current teams looking for coaches besides Anaheim, Fletcher had to get a move on it. Boudreau indicated to the Orange County Register's Eric Stephens today that he doesn't want to take a break and does hope to coach another team next season.

Per sources, Fletcher received that permission from GM Bob Murray and touched base with Boudreau, although a formal in-person interview has not yet taken place.

It is very likely that Ottawa, which has also interviewed Mike Yeo, has also sought and received permission as well.

“I’ve had a couple conversations,” Boudreau told the Orange County Register. “I can’t delve into it right now. Let’s put it this way, this is why my voice is so bad. I couldn’t talk at all Sunday. I’ve been on the phone all day Friday and Saturday. For 15 hours a day, it was pretty crazy."

Boudreau, like Yeo, has a year left on his contract (which is why permission must be granted).

Speaking of that, it's believed on that same phone call with Murray, Fletcher asked about the status of Ducks assistant coach Paul MacLean. I've been led to believe Fletcher has yet to receive permission to talk with MacLean. If that's true, it likely means MacLean, the former Senators head coach, is a candidate to replace Boudreau in Anaheim. That would make sense since MacLean was Murray's hire in the first place.

In addition, as I reported in my Boudreau piece in Saturday's paper here, sources told me that Fletcher did plan to contact Randy Carlyle. I don't know if that contact has been made yet with the former Ducks and Maple Leafs coach.

Both Boudreau and Carlyle live in southern California, so if Fletcher's planning a trip there, he could conceivably kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.