With almost every report out of Phoenix stating that an extension between Dave Tippett and the Coyotes is imminent, I really haven't mentioned the possibility of him being a serious candidate for the Rangers head coaching position despite being linked to the team.
However, with new Coyotes ownership group still negotiating with the City of Glendale on a lease agreement, the team's future in Phoenix is very much in doubt and questions have begun to surface regarding Tippett's comfort level in this chaos. Here's Pat Leonard of the Daily News…
"Tippett’s contract expires on July 1, and though he recently told the Arizona Republic that re-signing in Phoenix is his top choice, he has hesitated due to the tenuous ownership situation and the uncertainty surrounding the franchise."
Bettman has offered no timetable for the City of Glendale but with a city council meeting on June 25th and an NHL Board of Governors meeting on the 27th, he says "stuff's gonna happen."
Bettman added that there are several markets interested in the Coyotes should the ownership situation not be resolved. He would not name cities, however.
…in watching this head coach search play out, you've got to assume the biggest reason Sather has hesitated in offering the position to Vigneault is because of his interest in Tippett. I initially thought it would be a pipe dream, but based on Bettman's recent comments on the situation in Phoenix it might be more of a reality than I anticipated. Although, I'm still worried Vigneault might be gobbled up by the Stars while the Rangers wait to see how this plays out. And if Tippett does stay, then we're left with you know who.
…while a lot of Rangers fans are excited about the prospect of Tippett, I hope they're not expecting him to fix the power play as in the last five years his Phoenix and Dallas teams have been just as dreadful with the extra man as the Rangers:
Phx 2012-13: 25th (14.8%)
Phx 2011-12: 29th (13.5%)
Phx 2010-11: 23rd (15.9%)
Phx 2009-10: 28th (14.6%)
Dal 2008-09: 27th (15.4%)
…my only hope is that those numbers have more to do with the lack of talent in Phoenix than Tippett's power play philosophy.
…and while Tippett's focus on defense is similar to Torts, it might actually make more sense bring in someone like that instead of a candidate who would radically alter things making it more likely the team's personnel might not fit or feel comfortable with the new strategy.
Meanwhile, today marks the final day of the Rangers organizational meetings in California and during that time they only interviewed Alain Vigneault.
Finally, Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report spoke with Brian Leetch about the possibility of becoming an assistant coach with the Rangers…
"He said he wasn’t sure he wanted to leave his family life and be a full-timer at this point, but the feeling I got is that he would be interested in being involved to some lesser degree depending on whom (ahem) was named coach."
…shit is getting real with Messier and Leetch.