GLENDALE -- Coyotes Head Coach Rick Tocchet enjoyed his "Day with the Stanley Cup" on Sunday with friends and family in Atlantic City, N.J. The outing punctuated Tocchet's very successful three-year tenure as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup the past two seasons.
"It's a hard feeling because I love that organization, had a lot of success there, (made) a ton of friends," Tocchet told NHL.com. "But it's closure for me. Now I'm an Arizona Coyote."
Prior to Sunday's party with the Stanley Cup at Wild Wild West at Bally's Hotel and Casino, Tocchet spent last week in Arizona meeting with his coaching staff. They went over many things, including job responsibilities and the team's depth chart. Training camp begins in just a few weeks, and it's there, Tocchet said, the lineup would work itself out.
"We played around last week, we had coaches' meetings," Tocchet told NHL.com. "But there's nothing set in stone. I really don't know at this point. That will play itself out. Training camp you want to put stuff together. We want to play fast, so you want to make sure you play fast guys with fast guys."
The Coyotes are loaded with fast, young prospects who are looking to establish themselves as NHL players. Tocchet is eager to help them reach that goal.
"I like the young kids," Tocchet told NHL.com. "Don't get me wrong, I love the older guys too. But it's really nice to be able to mold a team. You look at some of the great (recent) teams, the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, they had a young nucleus and they molded these guys. They stuck with the process. Everybody always says that but I think it's important as an organization that you stick with the process."
Tocchet has won the Stanley Cup three times in his career, once as a player with Pittsburgh (1992) and twice as a Penguins assistant coach (2016, 2017). While he's sad to leave the Penguins, he's thrilled for the chance to be an NHL head coach again, this time with Arizona.
"It's a privilege to coach in this League," Tocchet told NHL.com. "I didn't know if I would get the opportunity again. I had the best assistant coaching job in sports with the Penguins. This opportunity arrived, it's a tough decision in some ways, and in some ways it isn't because to be a head coach in the NHL is a privilege."
As part of Sunday's event, Tocchet posed for photos with fans and the Stanley Cup.