Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, who did his best to get in front of the Bruce Boudreau line of suitors, appears to be in waiting mode.
Boudreau, the former coach of the Anaheim Ducks, will interview with the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa on Friday. The Senators have also interviewed several other strong candidates, including Mike Yeo twice, Randy Carlyle, Marc Crawford and Guy Boucher.
Just sayin', don't be shocked if Boudreau desires a chance to coach Ottawa over Minnesota. Besides the fact Boudreau is from Toronto, his mom lives in St. Catharines and he has a daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who live ... in Ottawa.
They posed for pictures in the lobby of Boudreau's hotel in downtown Ottawa on Friday night. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch was there waiting and interviewed Boudreau. He certainly sounds like a man who'd love to coach the Sens.
This is why there was zero chance Fletcher could dissuade Boudreau from even interviewing in Ottawa.
This doesn't mean Boudreau is offered the Ottawa job. The Sens are well into their coaching search and owner Eugene Melnyk reportedly said the list should be down to a handful by the weekend.
But if Boudreau has the choice between the two jobs, the lure of being so close to family could sway him over simply money.
While Fletcher has contacted and talked with a number of potential coaching candidates, I have not been able to confirm that any interviews have been conducted or scheduled besides Boudreau, Randy Carlyle and John Torchetti.
That obviously could change, but it would not be shocking if he's in wait-and-see mode regarding Boudreau. As usual with something like this, there are a ton of moving parts.
I heard that Torchetti was supposed to meet with Fletcher again on Wednesday, but I'm not certain that conversation took place.
Two candidates out there that I hear Fletcher has talked with by phone are Crawford and Boucher.
Crawford, who ranks 18th in NHL history with 549 wins, coached the Avalanche to a Stanley Cup in 1996 (Uwe Krupp!) and spent the past four seasons in Switzerland. Crawford coached likely No. 1 pick Auston Matthews there, feels he has learned a ton overseas and is itching to get back into the NHL.
Boucher is also looking to return from Switzerland. He coached Tampa Bay for parts of three seasons, including to the Eastern Conference Final his first year.
I'd assume Fletcher has called Calgary for permission to talk with Bob Hartley, as well. Hartley coached Colorado to a Cup in 2001 and is 28th in NHL history with 463 wins.
Hartley wants to coach again and told Calgary reporters that he'll be respectful of the process. He's still under contract, so if Minnesota, Ottawa and/or Anaheim have interest, they must call for permission.
“Coaching is my passion and coaching is in my blood,” Hartley said. “I want to coach. I’m only 55 years old and I believe that I’m in great shape, I love the game and I love teaching and I love competing to win hockey games.”
Other folks out there with previous NHL head-coaching experience include John Stevens, Kevin Dineen, Kirk Muller and Brad Shaw. Muller and Shaw are currently assistant coaches with the St. Louis Blues, who are in the second round of the playoffs.
I know Fletcher has a great deal of respect for Anaheim assistant coach Paul MacLean, but he is a candidate to replace Boudreau in Anaheim.
There are names like Phil Housley, Luke Richardson and Travis Green out there, but after hiring first-time coaches in Todd Richards and Yeo, my guess is Fletcher is being instructed to go the experience route this time.
In the past couple days, I've talked to so many people, including some pals of the coaching candidates. Judging from the questions I'm getting, I do think there's questions among the candidates regarding Fletcher's contract status and how safe he is in the future and also the makeup of the locker room and team chemistry questions that became a topic during the second-half of the season.
So my guess is Fletcher is getting questioned by candidates, too.
Also, please check out my Twitter account at @russostrib or malepatternpodcasts.com in the next hour. I recorded a podcast this morning with columnist Jim Souhan that is Wild and coaching search heavy.