Alain Vigneault reportedly has withdrawn his name from contention for the Dallas Stars' coaching job and is in line to take over behind the New York Rangers' bench if a contract can be worked out.
Vigneault was in New York on Friday, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com, and was believed to be meeting with team owner James Dolan. A team spokesperson and a spokesperson for Dolan declined to comment on whether there was a meeting when reached via email Friday night.
Vigneault, fired by the Vancouver Canucks after the team was swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, met with the Rangers during their organizational meetings earlier this week in La Quinta, Calif.
The Stars were also interested in hiring Vigneault to replace Glen Gulutzan, who was fired after Dallas missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. But multiple media reports said Vigneault withdrew his name from consideration for the Stars' job on Friday night.
Vigneault, 52, has 11 years of experience behind an NHL bench, the last seven with Vancouver after three-plus seasons in Montreal. The Canucks, who lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, won the Presidents' Trophy in 2010-11 and 2011-12. They finished first in the Northwest Division this season before being swept by San Jose.
Vigneault had a 313-170-57 regular-season record in Vancouver, but was 33-32 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Former Rangers captain Mark Messier, now a special assistant to team president and general manager Glen Sather, told reporters Friday he has interviewed for the job.
"We had our scouts meetings and I've had conversations with Glen, and like anybody that would be interested in coaching, obviously the Rangers would be a dream come true for a lot of coaches," Messier said in Chicago, where he presented the Mark Messier Leadership Award to Ottawa Senators' captain Daniel Alfredsson, "I told Glen I would have interest, so we've had discussions, and that's where it stands right now."
The Rangers have received permission to speak with Lindy Ruff, who was fired by the Buffalo Sabres during the season. The L.A. Times reported Friday that Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi expects the Rangers to ask for permission to interview assistant coach John Stevens, who has also been linked with the opening in Vancouver.