Rick Tocchet has yet to run a practice, let alone coach a game, but the Coyotes’ newest bench boss has already generated plenty of buzz for the impression he’s made in less than three weeks on the job. He’s advertised a fast, aggressive and creative style of play while conveying an open-door policy to help young players learn and grow. And after naming John MacLean and Scott Allen as assistants Wednesday to finalize his coaching staff, Tocchet has made it clear what to expect from the team’s next regime. But the rest of the offseason should still be busy for Tocchet as he continues to prep for his future with the Coyotes, but also celebrates what he accomplished this past season as an assistant coach with the Penguins. “I’m honestly anxious to meet these guys and get training camp started,” Tocchet said. Since getting hired July 11, Tocchet has reached out to every player. He’s touched base with everyone via text and is likely to have talked to each player soon. The response has been the same: Players are excited about how Tocchet wants to play and are eager to improve. “They want to have better years,” he said. “I talked to a couple guys. They feel they can have a better year. I like hearing that. They’re owning their game. I like guys that own their game. There’s no excuses and it seems like a tight-knit group, which I like.” Not only do players want to know more about how the team’s going to be structured on-ice, but they’re also curious how Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby handles certain situations – insight Tocchet picked up while coaching one of the sport’s top players. “I just tell them to slow down,” Tocchet said. “It’s a process, inch by inch by day. This isn’t an overnight thing, so I think you gotta enjoy the process. It’s gonna hurt. Most of my text messages to most guys are, ‘Winning hurts. It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna hurt. But at the end of the day, there’s no better feeling.’ So that’s kind of my motto I try to preach to these kids.” Communication has been regarded as one of Tocchet’s strengths; he feels he can connect with any type of personality and realizes a quick chat on the ice can be just as effective as a sit-down in the coach’s office. And Tocchet, who’s noticed he’s become more decisive during his coaching tenure, believes he can pick up on what each individual needs.
Tocchet warns young Coyotes: 'Winning hurts'
Arizona Republic | Aug 1