After leaving the Penguins organization to take the vacant head coaching position in Arizona, Rick Tocchet, former assistant coach to Mike Sullivan, will make his return to Pittsburgh as the Coyotes come to town. Not only that, he’ll get to see another Stanley Cup banner hanging in the rafters of PPG Paints Arena and be celebrated for his accomplishments. According to him, however, receiving his third Penguins ring is what he’s most excited about.
Per the Associative Press, Tocchet doesn’t plan to spend much time reminiscing about back-to-back titles, but it’s no question the Penguins team has a lot of gratitude for what he did in his little over two-year tenure as a member of the Pittsburgh coaching staff.
“The role he had, he did it extremely well,” said GM Jim Rutherford. “He had a a good read on the players and was able to communicate one a one-on-one basis with whatever they were dealing with hockey-wise and personally or whatever. He did a terrific job for us and played a key role.”
In his new job, Tocchet uses a lot of the connections and relationships his built with the players on the Penguins to help guide the rookies on his young Arizona roster.
“It’s mostly the players engaging: ‘Hey, what does Sidney Crosby do in these situations? What does Evgeni Malkin do in this situation? How does this guy do that?’” he said. “So that’s the engagement, and I love that because they want to learn. If you’re 20-year-old kids, they watch YouTube. They want to see how these guys do certain thing, and I love that about it.”
A video tribute for Tocchet is set to play before the puck drops in the Coyotes only visit to Pittsburgh this season, as the fanbase undoubtedly has a special bond with him being that he also played on the 1992 Cup-winning team.
However, Tocchet mentioned that he spent an adequate enough time celebrating the consecutive victory over the summer and is more focused on remedying Arizona’s poor start to the season, as it’s lost 14 of its first 16 games, the league’s worst record.