Coach before GM for Leafs?

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

With word from up top that the Maple Leafs might hire a coach before their new general manager is in place, the guessing game with National Hockey League coaching vacancies heats up.

Two recently fired Western Conference coaches with Toronto ties, Ron Wilson and Joel Quenneville, are worth watching, while the Ottawa Senators have invited two high-profile candidates back for second interviews.

Bob Hartley, fired in October in Atlanta, and Craig Hartsburg, who coached junior hockey and ran the Soo Greyhounds and the national team after six years in the NHL with Chicago and Anaheim, are on tap in Bytown according to Sun Media.

Reports continue to link Quenneville with Wilson's old post in San Jose. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports that Providence Bruins minor-league coach Scott Gordon has been approached by one NHL team to interview for its head coaching job.

Gordon has connections in Atlanta where the Thrashers have an opening, though some think it should go to John Anderson, who has taken the Chicago Wolves, their farm team, to the AHL final. Kevin Dineen, coach of Anaheim's farm club in Portland, Me., also is being mentioned frequently.

In Florida, GM Jacques Martin is said to be pitching for Andre Savard, once the Stanley Cup is done and the Pittsburgh Penguins' assistant can assess his future.

Sharks veteran Jeremy Roenick weighed in with his opinion on what San Jose's next coach's attributes should be.

"They need a guy that's confident like Ron was," Roenick told the Contra Costa Times. "I think they need a guy who knows how to coach players with different egos. That's very important, that you know when to put the egos in check and you know when to let them blossom."

On the list of those in the mix with Quenneville are three ex-Leafs, Pat Burns, Paul Maurice and Pat Quinn.


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