WINNIPEG - It appears Kevin Cheveldayoff’s short list may be a little longer than some thought.
The GM of Winnipeg’s new NHL team is interviewing former Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish about the job in Winnipeg.
Meanwhile, NHL.com reported Wednesday Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland is also on Cheveldayoff’s short list, and will get an interview.
MacTavish’s interview was expected to happen either Wednesday night or early Thursday.
Cheveldayoff had previously confirmed he’ll give Craig Ramsay a chance to argue why he should hang onto the job he held last season, when the team was in Atlanta.
The other person believed to be getting an interview is Manitoba Moose head coach Claude Noel. Sun sources say Montreal Canadiens assistant Kirk Muller is not on the short list of candidates to be interviewed.
Cheveldayoff wouldn’t discuss any specific candidates, only the process.
“We’re scheduling interviews, receiving permission (from NHL clubs), starting to do some talking,” he told the Sun, Wednesday, adding he’d already met with one candidate.
That would most likely be Noel, who’d be the most convenient.
Cheveldayoff, who was in Winnipeg, Wednesday, said he’ll conduct some of his interviews on the road, before concluding a hunt that’s producing plenty of interest.
“It’s a plum job, there’s no question,” he said. “With all the excitement that has been generated, it’s a national story. From that standpoint, it’s a very, very intriguing position.
“There’s a lot of interest in a lot of different positions. We’ve got a head coaching position in St. John’s (AHL) available, there’s different staffing things that are going to come on down the line.”
MacTavish’s interest comes after he was linked to the vacant position with the Minnesota Wild. Word is he remains the leading candidate, there.
The 52-year-old spent eight years with the Oilers, making the playoffs twice and reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2006. He was fired following the 2008-09 season.
“The person we hire is going to fit in with the culture we want to create, here, the type of game we want to play, the values we believe are important,” Cheveldayoff said. “They all have to be consistent.”
Haviland, 43, has been behind the Blackhawks bench the last three seasons, so Cheveldayoff, Chicago’s assistant GM the last two, will be familiar with him. A native of Middletown, N.J., he won a pair of ECHL championships before being named the AHL coach of the year (Norfolk) in 2007.
In seven years as a coach in the minors, Haviland never missed the playoffs.
“I’m not going to put a time frame on it,” Cheveldayoff said of the hiring. “We want to get the right guy ... we’ll spend the time it takes to do it.”