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Pittsburgh Penguins' Phil Kessel, right, skates with assistant coach Rick Tocchet on the outdoor hockey rink during NHL hockey practice at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
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Hire of Rick Tocchet will pay off for Coyotes in the long run

Pittsburgh Penguins' Phil Kessel, right, skates with assistant coach Rick Tocchet on the outdoor hockey rink during NHL hockey practice at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

LISTEN: Rick Tocchet, Coyotes head coach

I couldn’t be more excited with the announcement that Rick Tocchet will become the sixth coach in Coyotes franchise history. Tocchet emerged from a group of eight candidates to take the helm of the Coyotes organization on a four-year deal worth roughly $1.5 million per season.

A no nonsense coach, Tocchet will hold players accountable and make them responsible. He was a heck of a player winning a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1993 as well as being a part of some good Coyotes teams in the early years of desert hockey. He also won two Stanley Cups as an assistant with the Penguins these last two years.

I spoke with Tocchet by phone this morning as the announcement was coming down and he told me that he wants the Coyotes to play an up-tempo style, pushing the puck to create offense, having defensemen jump into the play to be aggressive. And he will put pressure on the players to win. Tocchet believes pressure is good for you, makes you better and he wants the players to feel the pressure to succeed right away.

The Coyotes are young. They have a lot of talent that needs to be developed. Tocchet is the right guy for the job.

Dave Tippett was a good head coach. He did the best with what he had. But his voice had panned out, the players weren’t responding and the message was getting lost. You only have so many years as a coach to keep telling players to do it a certain way before you have to win. After a while if you keep losing, the players stop believing in your message, your system and you.

Tocchet will begin building a staff immediately he has a list of names he wants to reach out to — he wants coaches who are innovative and not “yes” men. He has the chance to get this organization headed in the right direction. It will take time, but Tocchet’s reputation as a player and a coach is solid. He automatically gets respect and players will listen and respond. All in all a great hire by the Coyotes, one that will certainly pay off in the long run.

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