So here’s the situation as far as the Rangers and Alain Vigneault, who spent yesterday presenting himself to Glen Sather and his people at the general manager’s home in La Quinta, Calif.:

If the Blueshirts wish to hire Vigneault as John Tortorella’s successor behind the bench, their general manager needs to move reasonably quickly before Dallas makes an offer to the former Canucks coach.

The Stars aren’t in the same win-soon altitude as the Rangers, but Vigneault not only has a long personal relationship with recently hired Stars GM Jim Nill, but is hardly likely to wait if that means being odd man out in a game of musical chairs.

For better or worse, moving quickly hasn’t exactly been Sather’s style in matters such as these. In 2002, for instance, Vigneault was among a number of experienced coaches who for one reason or another either were passed up or withdrew from the hunt — including Ken Hitchcock, Larry Robinson, Herb Brooks, Ted Nolan and Dave Tippett—before Sather hired Bryan Trottier.

The field this time is far, far smaller. Though the Rangers have received permission to speak to Lindy Ruff, they had not as of last night scheduled an appointment to meet with the former Buffalo coach. The availability of potential candidate Dan Bylsma remains as unknown as his fate in Pittsburgh. Unless matters change in Phoenix, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett won’t be available until July 1, if then.