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SEARCH CONTINUES: Panthers Closing in on New Coach

The Panthers have narrowed their coaching candidates to five with general manager Dale Tallon as well as owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu meeting with those candidates this week in New York.

Tallon told TSN's Darren Dreger at the GM meetings today that former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma "interviewed strong" on Tuesday.

I was told the team had a good interview with veteran coach Tom Renney on Wednesday as well.

Tallon confirmed five of the finalists for the job although Renney wasn't among them. It sounds like the former Rangers coach is still in play for the job, however.

The other candidates for the job are: Bylsma, former Blue Jackets head coach and current Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant (who coached Jonathan Huberdeau in juniors), former Sharks and Leafs coach Ron Wilson, former Avs coach Marc Crawford and Red Wings assistant Bill Peters.

Expect this interview process to be wrapped up quickly with the new coach hired as soon as this weekend. A announcement is expected to be made some time next week, although, it could come sooner.