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Reports: List Of Candidates Grows As Sather Searches For Next Rangers Coach

Messier, Gretzky And Eakins Interested According To Reports
Glen Sather (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Glen Sather (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Rangers’ president and general manager Glen Sather pulled the plug on head coach John Tortorella on Wednesday. Now, Sather has his hands full of options to replace the feisty and combative coach that led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012.

“I am certain that we’re going to find the right person,” Sather said during Wednesday’s conference call.

Tortorella was let go four days after the Rangers’ season ended with a Game 5 loss to the Boston Bruins. New York was considered a championship contender in this lockout-shortened season and ultimately failed to live up to expectations.

Already, Alain Vigneault and Lindy Ruff are considered leading candidates. The list also includes two of the greatest legends in NHL history, both who shared a locker room together in New York. Multiple reports confirm that Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky are interested in the opening.

HARTNETT: MESSIER MIGHT BE WHAT THE RANGERS NEED

In addition, TSN Canada is reporting that the Rangers have been given permission by the Toronto Marlies to speak with American Hockey League head coach Dallas Eakins. The Marlies are the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Eakins has become a hot candidate for coaching vacancies in Vancouver and Dallas.

Dave Tippett of the Phoenix Coyotes was considered a prime candidate, though the Coyotes have not allowed Tippett to speak with interested teams. His contract with Phoenix is set to expire on June 30.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)