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Ken Hitchcock, Michel Therrien On Short List For New Minnesota Wild Head Coach

The Minnesota Wild are still without a head coach, but that does not mean that they are without several choices. General manager Chuck Fletcher has confirmed that he has interviewed Craig MacTavish, Michel Therrien and Ken Hitchcock for the open position.

With the departure of Todd Richards April 11, the Wild are coincidentally looking at coaches with a more defensive-minded scheme as compared to Richards' wide-open style of play. Richards' predecessor, Jacques Lemaire, also relied on defense. MacTavish, best known for leading the Edmonton Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, is a defense-first coach. Fletcher interviewed MacTavish in early May.

Meanwhile, the Wild received permission to speak Hitchcock, who is still on the Columbus Blue Jackets' payroll despite being fired in February 2010. Hitchcock, as Pro Hockey Talk's Joe Yerdon points out, is "synonymous with stifling defense." Hitchcock has coached the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and, most recently, the Blue Jackets. Hitchcock has one Stanley Cup to his name as he led the Stars to the 1999 championship.

Therrien, currently a Wild scout, would be another interesting hire. Therrien coached the Pittsburgh Penguins until February 2009, when the team replaced him with Dan Bylsma, who subsequently led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup that summer.

Another possible candidate is Mike Yeo, currently the head coach of Minnesota's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. The Aeros currently hold a 2-1 series lead over the Binghamton Senators in the 2011 Calder Cup Finals.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.