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Coaching Search Heating Up

Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson has created a short list of names to be considered for the vacant head-coaching position on the Columbus bench and has begun seeking permission to speak to said names.

Earlier this week, the Blue Jackets were granted permission by the Vancouver Canucks to interview minor-league coach Scott Arniel. Arniel, 47, has been the head coach of Vancouver’s AHL club the Manitoba Moose for the past four seasons.

In his time with Manitoba, Arniel has compiled a 181-106-33 record, taking his team to the AHL playoffs all four seasons. In 2009, Arniel led his club to the league’s best regular-season record en route to winning the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL coach of the year.

An interview with Arniel is likely to take place next week. After ousting the Los Angeles Kings, The Canucks play the Chicago Blackhawks in a second-round playoff series beginning later this week.

Other candidates Howson will likely be requesting to interview are former Blue Jacket Kevin Dineen and current associate coach of the Nashville Predators Brent Peterson.

Dineen is currently the head coach of the Portland Pirates, AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, and because of his obvious ties to the Columbus organization has been mentioned as a possible replacement since Ken Hitchcock was let go.

Peterson’s Predators were bounced from the playoffs earlier this week by Chicago, and Howson is likely waiting for the team to finish their end-of-season duties before requesting permission to speak to Peterson.

Interim head coach Cluade Noel is also a candidate for the permanent job. In his time with the interim tag, Noel went 10-8-6 behind the Columbus bench.

Other possible candidates Howson may look to interview are Detroit assistant coach Paul MacLean and Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher.

MacLean is generally considered off-limits while the Red Wings remain alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Detroit defeated Phoenix last night in a game seven route to earn a spot in round two.

The Hamilton Bulldogs are the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens who face the top-seeded Washington Capitals tonight in a deciding game seven.

Howson has said he would like to wrap up the coaching search before the end of May.

Stay tuned.

RO137807@ohio.edu – Twitter: @Rob_Ogden

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