We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.

Penguins' top choice to coach out of mix: report

Saturday, 06.21.2014 / 6:23 PM NHL.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins' choice to be their next coach "is going to go in a different direction," general manager Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on Friday.

That coach is believed to be Willie Desjardins, who TSN reports will be named coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Rutherford said he will resume his search next week and plans to hire someone by July 1.

“We couldn't make it work," Rutherford told the newspaper. "... I'm going to take the weekend to sort some things out."

Asked about Desjardins, Rutherford told Yahoo Sports, "I think we tried to meet what he was looking for, but my opinion is, he was … His mind was set on going back to Canada. But that's just my opinion. He's the only guy who can really answer that."

Thursday, Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the Penguins were "checking out a few things" before they extended a formal offer to an unidentified candidate.

"There are a few guys that I could have selected, but this one person is a guy with great character and leadership qualities. He’s very well-prepared," Rutherford said Thursday.

TSN reported Thursday that Desjardins, the Texas Stars coach, was the Penguins' front-runner. The Post-Gazette said Desjardins, who is from Saskatchewan, had a phone interview Thursday morning and was expected to have a face-to-face interview later in Pittsburgh.

Friday, TSN said the Canucks were going to announce Desjardins as their new coach sometime next week.

Under Desjardins, Texas had the best regular-season record in the American Hockey League (48-18-10, 106 points) and won the Calder Cup in a five-game series against the St. John's IceCaps.

Texas celebrated its first championship with a rally Thursday; Desjardins reportedly did not attend.

The Penguins’ new coach also will not be Bill Peters, who was reported to be a candidate. The Carolina Hurricanes introduced the former Detroit Red Wings assistant as their coach Friday.

Others who reportedly interviewed with the Penguins are: John Hynes, coach of their American Hockey League affiliate; Ulf Samuelsson, a New York Rangers assistant and former Penguins defenseman; Red Wings assistant Tom Renney; and former NHL coaches Ron Wilson and Marc Crawford.

Crawford reportedly has agreed to return to coach the ZSC Lions in the Swiss National League.

Former NHL coach Doug MacLean told FAN 590 in Toronto on Thursday that he interviewed for the job, which has been vacant since Rutherford fired Dan Bylsma on June 6, but said he was not a finalist.

Rutherford told the Tribune Review he will work off his original list of candidates and likely will add two or three names.

"… It's important to get somebody that wants to go there and win and pay the price that it takes to do it. And so if it takes longer, it'll take longer," Rutherford told Yahoo. "And if I don't meet my deadline of July 1, so be it. I'll wait until I'm comfortable with somebody."

Back to top