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Rick Tocchet potential candidate for coaching vacancies

Penguins assistant could fill spot with Sabres, Panthers

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NASHVILLE -- The Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers still have coaching vacancies and one candidate available to them is Pittsburgh Penguins assistant Rick Tocchet.

Tocchet, whose name has been linked to both teams in various reports and rumors, said he hasn't had a single conversation with executives from the Sabres or Panthers yet.

"I'd love to have another kick at it, but honestly I haven't been contacted by anybody," Tocchet said after the Penguins practiced at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. "I'm just focused on [the Stanley Cup Final]. I have no idea what's going to happen at the end of the year."

Tocchet is in his third season as assistant with the Penguins, who have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series against the Nashville Predators with Game 4 here on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Tocchet said working with the Penguins has a lot to do with why his name is being floated as a candidate in Buffalo and Florida, and why there might be interest from those teams too.

"When you're a successful team and you win other teams like to look at the people in that organization," Tocchet said. "That's good. That's a good thing with being with Pittsburgh, you get looked at because we've won a lot of games the last couple of years. We've got a really good staff. Mike Sullivan is a great coach. I've gone way back with him and that helps. But I don't know what's going to happen after the season."

Tocchet was 53-69-26 as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008-10. He has also been an assistant with the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche since ending his playing career 15 years ago.

"I'd love another kick at it for sure," he said. "Nowadays communication with today's athlete is huge, and that's one of my strengths. I was a first-liner and I was a fourth-liner and a guy that sat out. I can relate with anybody. Communication is a key, definitely."

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