Talks between the New York Rangers and former Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault are heating up, according to Hockey Central insider John Shannon.
According to Shannon, a contract between the two sides has not been settled on, but there are strong indications that a deal to make Vigneault the next bench boss in the Big Apple is imminent.
Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill confirmed Friday that Vigneault had removed his name from the Dallas Stars coaching search.
The longtime Canucks coach was fired after the team was swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In seven seasons with the club, Vigneault became the all-time winningest coach in franchise history.
Earlier on Friday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos spoke to Mark Messier, who confirmed he interviewed for the Rangers coaching position.
Messier expressed interest in the Rangers’ coaching vacancy last month after the club fired bench boss John Tortorella.
“Yes, of course,” Messier told NHL.com when asked if he had interviewed for the position. “That was one thing I wanted to have happen, to go through the process like everybody else and to experience that, and to give Glen the opportunity to make a decision that he feels comfortable with.”
Messier, despite his popularity in New York after helping the club win the Stanley Cup in 1994, has limited experience behind the bench (stints at the Spengler Cup and Deutschland Cup in 2010) and has never coached at the professional level.
The Hall of Fame forward is said to be one of the game’s all-time great leaders during his NHL career but it remains unclear if the Rangers believe Messier is a legitimate candidate for the position.
Messier has obvious ties to general manager Glen Sather – who was his head coach with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s.