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Quote That May Interest Only Me: Craig MacTavish - The Copper & Blue

Great stuff from Derek Zona over at The Copper & Blue on Craig MacTavish fitting with the Wild The Wild have a team built for the carefully-managed matchups MacTavish likes to employ, from defensive zone horses on the blueline to a tough minutes killer in Mikko Koivu. MacTavish would take the mantle from Jacques Lemaire, something Todd Richards was unable to do, and immediately make the Wild a competitor for the Northwest Division title.

Russo’s Rants - Heatley-Wild trade chatter; Coaching search continues with Laviolette sitdown

But from everything I hear, this is between Todd Richards, Peter Laviolette and eventually Paul MacLean. I don’t know exactly where Craig MacTavish sits right now. As for Heatley, there seems to be a perception out there that if the Wild loses Marian Gaborik, it can just go out and acquire $7.5 million players. It’s a lot more complex than that, especially since it’s unknown where the salary cap will dip to in the next two or three years and because the team spent $6 million a year on Niklas Backstrom. That $4.08 million salary cap hit for Pierre-Marc Bouchard the next four years tightens things up as well. Yes, the Wild could take Heatley’s $7.5 million cap hit the next five years, but it would affect any flexibility or ability to plug other holes, like center and defenseman though the end of his contract. And remember, Mikko Koivu’s a UFA after two seasons and Brent Burns after three seasons. It’s imperative in today’s day and age to think that far ahead. With that said, however, I am sure Chuck Fletcher will investigate what Ottawa GM Bryan Murray would want in a package if — and I repeat, if — he moves Heatley, who’s top-three in goals per game the last several years along with Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. He’s a true superstar, and if you want to make a splash as a first-year GM, well, Heatley would be more like a tidal wave.

Russo’s Rants " Blog Archive " Tremblay over and out; MacTavish speaks — kinda, sorta

I spoke with Wild assistant coach Mario Tremblay this afternoon, or actually former Wild assistant coach Mario Tremblay. As expected, Tremblay said he’s moving on and will be leaving Minnesota. Tremblay said he was informed by Wild GM Chuck Fletcher he didn’t make the short list of candidates to be head coach. He was disappointed but completely understood Fletcher’s decision. He said he’ll move on and look for another job. Rumors in Montreal are that he’ll join Jacques Martin’s staff as an assistant. Tremblay said he hopes that is the case, but he said he’s spoken to nobody with the Canadiens. He said he had a wonderful nine years in Minnesota and wanted me to make sure to thank the fans. On a personal note, just a great dude to deal with for my purposes. He was a walking cartoon character.

Ex-Gopher Richards among top contenders for Wild job

Local boy Todd Richards still appears to be among the frontrunners for the Wild's coaching vacancy. According to sources, General Manager Chuck Fletcher flew to California last week to interview the San Jose Sharks assistant coach and former Gophers captain. The two have been in contact since, although it's unclear how close Fletcher is to hiring a coach. That's because, according to sources, Fletcher also interviewed former Edmonton Oilers coach Craig MacTavish in recent days and at least had a conversation with former Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders coach Peter Laviolette. It's believed that Fletcher is also interested in Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean, whom he worked with in Anaheim. Fletcher could not be reached for comment, but last week he said he wanted to trim his long list of candidates to roughly four people.

Russo’s Rants - Sources: Wild already has permission to speak to Richards

t’s been 25 hours since Chuck Fletcher was officially introduced as the Wild GM, and NHL sources say he already has permission to speak to the one coaching candidate I anticipate will be a heavy favorite — San Jose Sharks assistant coach Todd Richards. As you’ll see from this San Jose Mercury News blog by David Pollak, a Sharks’ spokesman has confirmed to David that the Sharks have given two teams permission to speak to the former Gophers star. Only the Wild, Edmonton and Calgary are without coaches, and I’ve confirmed through a league source that the Wild is one of the two. Lots of respect between Fletcher and Richards. Fletcher originally hired him in Wilkes-Barre. Yesterday morning, I talked to Penguins GM Ray Shero about Richards, and not only did he give him a glowing recommendation, he talked a lot about the skills Richards has and they’re probably not so coincidentally some of the ones Fletcher said he wants as the next Wild coach.

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