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The Official Site of the Arizona Coyotes


by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes

as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

Here’s a quick blog from my better-late-than-never file.

A few days ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning fired Head Coach Barry Melrose and replaced him with former Coyotes assistant Rick Tocchet on an interim basis.

Since both Melrose and Tocchet are friends of Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky, I asked him his thoughts on the situation.

“It’s a strange game,” Gretzky said. “I’m good friends with one guy who is now out of a job and I feel bad for him and I’m disappointed for him. On the other side of it, I’m good friends with Toc, too, and I’m happy for Toc. I talked to him last night after his (first) game and I know he’s excited about coaching, and it’s a big challenge and he knows it. But he’s put in a lot of apprenticeship and he’s been an assistant coach for a great number of years, and he’s been around the game a long time. He understands the scenario he has and I know he’ll do a good job there.”

I then asked Gretzky if he could tell that Tocchet was destined to be an NHL head coach while Tocchet was one of his assistants.

“Absolutely,” Gretzky said. “I think that’s part of coaching. If you don’t have that aspiration to make that next step, then you’re in tough. I look at Ulfie (Samuelsson) and I see Ulfie one day being a head coach. He’s a really good coach and he’s put in his apprenticeship...And I thought that about Rick and Rick is now a head coach.”

Finally, I asked Gretzky if he gave Tocchet any advice on his new gig, you know, head coach to head coach.

“There’s nothing that I know that he doesn’t know,” Gretzky said. “We were around each other so much, everything I know about coaching, or think I know about coaching, he knows, too.”

Thanks for reading.


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