In searching for a new person to lead the franchise, Leipold appears to have reached out to a great variance of candidates. The list of finalists reported by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is quite intriguing, as is word of a Tuesday interview with one of the candidates.
Russo reports that TSN/NBC commentator Pierre McGuire is interviewing for the gig, possibly on Tuesday. His next on-air responsibility with TSN is Wednesday in Raleigh, so this is entirely possible.
So, what exactly is the appeal here? Why would Leipold hire a general manager who has been exclusively in front of microphones and cameras since 1995?
McGuire is an intriguing choice and would be following the blueprint set by St. Louis (John Davidson) and Chicago (Dale Tallon), which took men from the broadcast booth to run their franchises.Leipold gets to see a lot of the Blues and Blackhawks. He owned a team (Nashville) in their division for a long time, and the Wild play each team four times annually. There's no doubt that Davidson and Tallon have done some fantastic work. Does that mean another veteran broadcaster would be just as capable?
... Since 1995, he has been in the broadcast booth and is considered one of the most passionate, well-spoken broadcasters in the NHL. He has friends everywhere entrenched in teams and has seen more NHL players and prospects close up than most team personnel have.
"Pierre's a hard worker, and in such a 24-7 job, you need to be strong in a lot of areas," (former NHL coach Scotty) Bowman said. "You've got to have enthusiasm and a connection is what it's all about. Pierre's got that."
Remember, the Blues and Blackhawks were basically rebuilt from scratch. Each team has had a number-one pick in the last four years. There's a lot of work, but also more opportunity, when you start from the bottom. The Wild are nowhere near that bad, and it's doubtful that their notoriously patient fan base would tolerate them getting bad enough to earn the top pick.
To me, McGuire has always come off as quite the know-it-all. While this is great for a broadcaster, it doesn't always translate to running a front office. He can be the smartest guy in the room, but McGuire is going to put off a lot of people if he acts like a know-it-all during meetings. The flip side of this possibility is that McGuire is obviously very passionate about the sport. He would likely become a great spokesman for this franchise around the state, and he brings with him the kind of name recognition that no other candidate has.
The other hot name in this search is Pittsburgh assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher. After 16 years in the NHL, it appears he's poised for his shot at being a general manager. Given his qualifications, as listed by Russo, this seems like such a slam dunk that it's ridiculous he hasn't already been hired.
Former NHL coach and GM Pat Quinn, Nashville assistant Paul Fenton, and Minnesota assistant Tom Lynn are the other candidates Russo mentions as being on the short list.
Common sense dictates that a hire will be made soon, so the new guy can hire a coach, evaluate the situation with the scouting staff, and begin earnest preparations for the draft and free agency.