LATEST ON COACHING SEARCH
(UPDATED 11:30 P.M.)
The Penguins have spoken with up to 10 candidates and had conducted seven in-person or phone interviews as of Wednesday morning. It’s believed an eighth interview happened this afternoon, which will be the last, and the Penguins search is moving closer to the end than the beginning.
The Penguins officially requested permission to talk to Texas AHL coach Willie Desjardins on Wednesday morning but it’s unclear if an interview will happen. Because the Penguins requested permission to talk to Desjardins, mixed information was coming out all day on Desjardins, but he was not the eighth candidate that interviewed on Wednesday, team sources said.
The Post-Gazette reports it appears unlikely at this point that Desjardins will talk to the Penguins.
Desjardins regarded as the top coach in the AHL ranks, has a coaching style centered around an attacking forecheck and pushing the pace style. He is a top candidate for the Vancouver job.
The Penguins coaching search is accelerating as team officials met late Wednesday and the Penguins coaching list has been or is being cut down to two-three candidates, team sources say. No second interviews will happen.
Candidates no longer under consideration are expected to be informed Thursday morning, a team source says.
Six candidates Inside Pittsburgh Sports can confirm that have interviewed (phone or in-person) are Marc Crawford, Ron Wilson, John Hynes, Bill Peters, Ulf Samuelsson and Tom Renney.
There remains a mystery candidate or two who interviewed still out there. Things remain quite on coaches with close ties to Rutherford like Kevin Dineen, Jeff Daniels and Rod Brind’Amour. All three had been candidates discussed internally at one point.
A representative for veteran coach Mike Keenan declined comment when asked Wednesday afternoon if Keenan had been in contact with the Penguins. Keenan had been a name discussed internally by the Penguins brass but it remains unclear if the Keenan discussion ever went past the discussion phase.
Crawford, Wilson, Renney, and Hynes are among the group of candidates to have interviewed in person.
Ulf Samuelsson, as expected, has talked with the Penguins and heard them out, though, it remains unclear if he will actually pursue the job. If he wants the job, it’s believed he is one of the Penguins primary considerations and a candidate ownership is very high on.
One candidate you can now officially cross off the list, is John Stevens as the Kings have informed interested teams that he is staying with the Los Angeles Kings. Late Tuesday, Penguins officials were operating with the mindset that Stevens wouldn’t be a candidate for the job.
The Penguins prefer to sign a coach to a two year term length with a club option for a third year.