With the Bruins in the midst of what the brass has called an “exhaustive search” for their next general manager after the firing of Peter Chiarelli, it appears things have hit a snag.
Rangers assistant general manager — and former longtime Bruins employee — Jeff Gorton was expected to be on the short list of candidates, but Rangers general manager Glen Sather told the New York Post that he had not given the Bruins permission to interview Gorton with the team in the midst of a playoff run.
“I haven’t given permission to anybody to speak to anyone and I won’t as long as we’re playing,” Sather told the Post ahead of Game 3 of the Rangers-Capitals Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday night. “And there’s a question whether I would, anyway, after it’s over.”
Gorton, who is under contract to the Rangers for another year, worked for the Bruins for 15 years, from 1992 until he was fired in 2007. He served as the team’s interim GM in the spring of 2006, after the Bruins had hired Chiarelli but before he was allowed to officially take over by his former employer, the Ottawa Senators, because of a non-compete clause.
During that time — from March to July of 2006 — the Bruins made some significant moves that led to their Stanley Cup win in 2011. They traded Andrew Raycroft to the Maple Leafs for Tuukka Rask, signed free agents Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard, and drafted Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Phil Kessel.
Gorton has been with the Rangers for the last eight years, four as assistant GM.
With Gorton off the table, at least at the moment, the Bruins continue to look for a new executive to lead a team that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. That general manager, once named, will decide the fate of coach Claude Julien, who is under contract but without a firm commitment from the team about his future.
One name that had come up repeatedly is Ray Shero, the former Penguins GM who oversaw a Stanley Cup run in Pittsburgh. Shero, who was a finalist for the Boston job when it went to Chiarelli, was named GM of the New Jersey Devils Monday, reporting to team president Lou Lamoriello.
Don Sweeney, the Bruins assistant GM under Chiarelli, is still considered the favorite to take over the team he played on for 15 seasons as a defenseman, racking up more than 1,000 games. He is currently the GM of the Providence Bruins, in addition to his work as an assistant for the NHL club.
A report from ESPN Monday said the Bruins have narrowed the field to four candidates as the team enters the second round of the interview process, naming Sweeney and Shero on that list. Shero, of course, is now out. And it appears that Gorton might be, as well.