Wanted: National Hockey League head coach for Winnipeg franchise.
Qualifications: Must be master motivator and communicator. Previous head-coaching experience at NHL level an asset, but not required. Experience handling fans and media without coming across as a robot/dictator an asset.
True North thanks all candidates for applying, however only those applicants under consideration will be contacted.
Expect the NHL coaching carousel to spit out a few names this week -- former Winnipeg Jet Paul MacLean will be introduced as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday while Dallas and Minnesota are also seeking help -- but the new management team in place here in Winnipeg is not in any panic to make their decision quickly.
Claude Noel and Craig Ramsay have been identified as front-runners and the Free Press learned Monday afternoon from Montreal sources that Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has contacted Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller and it is believed the two are working on scheduling an interview.
With the interview process expected to begin this week, don't expect Cheveldayoff, assistant GM Craig Heisinger and owner Mark Chipman to be making any significant announcements until after this weekend.
Of course, that won't stop us from earnestly playing the name game in the interim.
Now, as hockey fans gather around the water cooler to debate the issue, consider this take from Cheveldayoff when asked what characteristics he would be seeking in a coach. And then take a gander at the list of candidate names we've put together to see who might make the best fit:
"Communication is extremely important," Cheveldayoff said. "In today's day and age, communication between management and the players is something you have to have. Players want to be led and it doesn't matter what age they are or what their salary figures are: they want to be led. I want someone who can communicate.
"I want someone who has passion for the game, I want someone that coaches an exciting team and I want someone that has some personality for the fans... that they can relate to. I don't know if we can find all those things in one person.
"It's a great opportunity for whoever ends up coaching here."
Our list of potential candidates:
Credentials: Stops in 16-year playing career included Winnipeg, with the Jets and as captain of AHL's Manitoba Moose. Undoubtedly an individual admired by True North, he previously played for Cheveldayoff's Chicago Wolves. Has spent the last five years in the Toronto Maple Leafs' organization, both at the AHL and NHL level.
Status: Just finished second year as head coach of AHL Marlies; Leafs would have to approve a discussion.
Credentials: Suited up for 18 years in the NHL, winning a cup with Calgary in 1989. Has been an assistant coach in the NHL since 2000 with Calgary, Atlanta and Detroit.
Status: Just took a job in the KHL with Yaroslavl, so likely not in the picture.
Credentials: Former Wheat Kings D, 12-year minor league player who turned to coaching and came up through ECHL and AHL ranks. Guided Hershey Bears to title in 2009 over Moose, then promoted to assistant with NHL's Washington Capitals.
Status: Under contract to the Capitals.
Credentials: Was the Thrashers head coach before Ramsay, posting a record of 70-75-19 and missing the playoffs twice. But a highly successful coach in the AHL with Cheveldayoff and the Wolves. STATUS: Looking for a gig.
Credentials: Has 15 years of head coaching experience in the NHL, including six-plus years with Canucks. That stint included Manitoba's first five in its affiliation (2001-06) and given some events of the time, might not always fall on the pro side of pros and cons. Won the Jack Adams in 1995 and the Cup in 1996.
Status: Out as coach of NHL's Dallas Stars in April.
Credentials: Seventeen seasons a gritty player, won four Cups. As Oilers coach, made the 2006 final.
Status: Has not had full-time coaching job since 2009, when an eight-season run ended in Edmonton, but rumoured as hot in the chase in Minnesota. Frequently a TV analyst.
Credentials: Head coach from 2004 to 2006 in Columbus, where he had previously been an assistant. Then worked two seasons as an assistant for the Islanders. Just won the Memorial Cup in his second season with QMJHL Saint John.
Status: Off a national junior championship, could pop up on several radars.
Credentials: Just like Carlyle, Arniel has a lot of friends in the True North organization. A former Jets and Moose player and Moose head coach, he just finished his first year as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets (34-35-13, missed playoffs).
Status: See Carlyle, above.
Credentials: Spent the last three years as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks and has AHL head coaching experience with Norfolk and Rockford.
Status: Under contract with the Blackhawks; Cheveldayoff would have to dial up his old bosses for permission to speak to him.
Credentials: Left a significant playing and coaching impression in his years in Winnipeg with the Jets and the Moose. Has a .603 winning percentage in six years in Anaheim, winning the Cup in 2007 and missing the playoffs only once.
Status: He's the Ducks bench boss and likely not able to make a lateral move back to Winnipeg.
Credentials: If True North is going 'homegrown' the Souris-born Murray more than qualifies. Has 10 years of head coaching experience with Los Angeles and St. Louis and his squads posted a combined record 45 games above .500. Also coached Canada to three gold medals at the IIHF World Championships in 1991, 2003 and 2007.
Status: He was fired by the Blues in January, 2010, but his contract with them expires on June 30.
Credentials: Long and successful junior career between Plymouth and Kitchener in OHL, one losing season in 13. Has previous experience with Hockey Canada program.
Status: Terminated at the end of this season after three years behind Florida Panthers' bench.
Credentials: Coaching since 1990, has been head coach of the IHL's Michigan K-Wings, AHL's Milwaukee Admirals and Manitoba Moose and interim head coach of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, in addition to three seasons as an assistant in Columbus.
Status: Under contract to the Canucks, an interview will require permission from Vancouver.
Credentials: Played 19 years in the NHL and was a respected teammate and leader. Has earned that same respect with the Montreal Canadiens as an assistant under Jacques Martin. THE sexy head-coach-in-waiting candidate bandied about by hockey media. Only head coaching experience came with Queen's University in 2005-06.
Status: Permission from the Habs to speak to Muller would need to come first.
Credentials: The Thrashers head coach in 2010-11, Ramsay obviously has the most knowledge -- both in terms of skillsets and mental makeups -- of the current roster. Played the game (Buffalo, 1971-85) and has had head-coaching stints in Buffalo, Philadelphia and Atlanta while winning a Stanley Cup as an assistant in Tampa Bay. Atlanta was 34-36-12 last year and missed the playoffs.
Status: Still the boss until informed otherwise. Will get an interview with Cheveldayoff/Heisinger.