Despite being among six of the eight candidates to interview for the Penguins job still available, veteran coach Marc Crawford has decided against pursuing the Penguins job anymore.
Crawford was informed by the Penguins Thursday morning that he was no longer in the mix and despite things falling through for the Penguins in their attempt to hire Willie Desjardins, Crawford has decided against re-entering the mix, an NHL source said on Friday evening.
Crawford has committed to return to Switzerland.
Crawford, according to team sources, interviewed strong with the Penguins, selling himself on his ability to deal with star players, egos, but there was some pause from top decision makers. As the Penguins cut their list down to two candidates Wednesday night, Bill Peters and Willie Desjardins, Crawford was not among the primary discussions late Wednesday night.
Crawford is unlikely to be the only coach to decide against re-entering the mix after being informed they were out of the mix just days ago.
The Penguins are re-opening the search and could interview as many as 3-4 new candidates. The Penguins have already reached out to a Edmonton Oilers AHL coach Todd Nelson, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned.
Nelson who believes in Barry Trotz type of philosophies when it comes to coaching style, is expected to be among the next group of interviews. He was given very strong consideration for the Hurricanes job.
The Penguins focus has been on AHL coaches and NHL assistants, more so than veteran coaches, though, Ron Wilson remains a consideration and it’s believed he still has interest in the job. Penguins Assistant GM Billy Guerin is among the supporters for Wilson to get a stronger look, a team source says.
There has been a push by many in the Shero regime still here for Wilkes Barre coach John Hynes to get the job, multiple sources say, but Rutherford has not been on board yet with that direction as Hynes was not among the Penguins final four considerations during the first go around which were believed to have been Bill Peters, Willie Desjardins, Ulf Samuelsson, and Ron Wilson in that order.
However, there’s no sense Samuelsson, who is lukewarm about the job, and Wilson are jumping to the top of the leader board right away.
Meanwhile, Rick Tocchet confirmed today he has had discussions with Jim Rutherford about many roles in the organization. It hasn’t been ruled out that Tocchet gets consideration as the head coach, which didn’t happen this week during the first stage of the search.
Notes: The Penguins home opener will be October 9th vs Anaheim Ducks. The entire schedule will be announced Sunday afternoon