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Examining the Rangers coaching candidates

Time waits for no one and neither do team charter flights – not even for the coach. And so when the shared Team USA-Team Canada charter flight to the World Championship tournament in Riga, Latvia, departs from JFK on Sunday, Team Canada head coach Gerard Gallant will be aboard.

But only after having interviewed with Rangers president-general manager Chris Drury for the vacancy at MSG, The Post has learned.

It is unclear whether talks between Gallant, who has entered the Rangers coaching search at the top of the club’s wish list, and Drury took place on Friday or will be conducted on Saturday.  

Drury, who is GM of Team USA but is not traveling to the tournament, was not about to wait for the June 6 conclusion of the tournament to speak to the coach, who has been biding his time since he was dismissed by Vegas on Jan. 15, 2020 in favor of Peter DeBoer.

The 57-year-old Gallant, who has compiled a 270-216-55 (.550) career record behind the bench of the Blue Jackets, Panthers and Golden Knights, has no personal connection to the 44-year-old Drury. But the Blueshirts have received multiple positive reports on Gallant from people who do have a personal connection with him.

It is theoretically possible that Drury could hire Gallant immediately if the coach aces the interview in order to give a jump-start to the offseason remodeling, but that seems unlikely. Speaking to other potential candidates would seem the appropriate way to proceed even if Drury is smitten with the one-time power winger for the Red Wings, who recorded 318 points (147-171) in 298 games over a four-season stretch beginning in 1986-87.

There would be value in Drury interviewing other candidates, including John Tortorella, Bob Hartley, Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau and perhaps Patrick Roy to glean their impressions of the Blueshirts roster and learn their respective plans of attack. Gallant may be well thought of, but he has not (yet) demonstrated that he is the second coming of Al Arbour.

At the same time, though, it would be unfair to conduct “show interviews” if Drury has no intention whatsoever of hiring the interviewee.

In addition, The Post has learned that Drury has hired Mike Grier as hockey operations adviser to fill the vacancy created on Thursday by Brian Leetch’s departure from the organization.

Drury, who is moving quickly in reaching out to candidates to fill open slots within the front office, was a teammate of Grier for two seasons at Boston University in 1994-95 and 1995-96, and were together for two seasons with the Sabres in 2003-04 and 2005-06.

Grier, 47, served two years as an assistant coach for the Devils before stepping down after 2019-20.

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