MacTavish visits Wild, remains top candidate

Seven weeks after being the first candidate to be interviewed for the Wild’s coaching vacancy, Craig MacTavish continues to intrigue the franchise.

The longtime former Edmonton Oilers coach still is considered a strong candidate — if not the leading one.

According to multiple sources, “MacT” spent part of last week in the Twin Cities. He had his second formal interview with the Wild and toured Xcel Energy Center and the team’s locker-room facilities.

MacTavish has had numerous conversations with Chuck Fletcher during the general manager’s two-month search for the third coach in team history. With the Stanley Cup Finals set to conclude Monday or Wednesday and the NHL draft in St. Paul on June 24 and 25, Fletcher’s decision could be days away.

Former Montreal and Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien, who coached the Penguins to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, and former Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitch*****, who won a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999, also are candidates, although it doesn’t appear either has had second interviews.

Houston coach Mike Yeo — Therrien’s former assistant in Pittsburgh who coached the Aeros to the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals during his first season — was interviewed Friday and continues to be an appealing choice. He won a Stanley Cup as Dan Bylsma’s assistant in Pittsburgh in 2009, and if the Wild doesn’t hire Yeo now, he’ll be a future hot commodity in the NHL.

Because MacTavish spent eight seasons in one city — a rarity in pro sports, let alone the NHL — Fletcher could be looking at MacTavish as the option that provides the most stability.

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