There obviously will be a lot on the mind of Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett between now and the end of the month.
That's when his contract is set to expire with the Coyotes, which could lead to him examining other coaching opportunities starting July 1. The New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars have coaching vacancies.
Though there is no question Coyotes general manager Don Maloney would like nothing more than to keep Tippett with the Coyotes for the foreseeable future, striking a deal is easier said than done at a time when there needs to be some clarity on ownership.
In an interview on the Arizona Republic on Tuesday, Tippett expressed his desire to remain with the Coyotes, the team he's coached the past four seasons. He replaced Wayne Gretzky on Sept. 24, 2009, and in four seasons has gotten the Coyotes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times, after the club had failed to get there in the previous six.
"I haven't thought about moving yet," Tippett told the newspaper. "If Phoenix offers me a contract and it looks like we're going to keep moving in the right direction, then I'll look at it.
"It'd be great to have an opportunity to take it to the next level. To get it there, I think you're going to need ownership at some point."
The Coyotes were 10th in the Western Conference in 2012-13, the first time they missed the postseason with Tippett behind the bench. In 2011-12, the team won the Pacific Division for the first time and advanced to the Western Conference Final. He has led the team to a 50-win season (in 2009-10) and won a Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year (2010).
"You look at what you have and try to squeeze every ounce you can out of everybody and put them in roles they can excel at, and two things happen," Tippett said. "One, you have the chance to win if they do their jobs right. But the other thing is everybody is a part of it. That's a big thing. Everybody has to be a part of the equation."
Once Tippett's situation is settled, Maloney's next order of business likely will be extending the contract of goalie Mike Smith, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July.