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Fired All-Star: Coyotes’ Rick Tocchet weighs in on Vegas coaching change

Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Arizona Coyotes looks on during the first period against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on January 7, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. The Coyotes defeated the Panthers 5-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet was already tied with two others for being the longest-tenured head coaches in the Pacific Division entering Wednesday. Now he’s only tied with one other.

That’s because the Vegas Golden Knights let go of bench boss Gerard Gallant on Wednesday, shocking just about everyone in the hockey world. Gallant was in his third season in Vegas, which is just three points (1.5 wins) out of first place in the division and went to the Stanley Cup Final in Gallant’s first year in charge.

Tocchet and Vancouver coach Travis Greene are also in just their third seasons.

“I was shocked like everybody,” Tocchet said. “He’s a friend of mine. I think he’s a great coach. He did a great job in Florida and he did a great job in Las Vegas. I just know for him, I just think he’s a great coach. So I feel bad for him.”

Vegas went 118-75-20 under Gallant, the only coach in the franchise’s history. They were in line to go 3-for-3 in making the playoffs despite being a brand new expansion franchise, and Gallant was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy — given to the league’s top coach — in 2018.

Now Gallant is jobless after a four-game losing streak by the Golden Knights.

“I can’t speak for what happened. All I know is the relationships of the GM and the owner — how you’re going to play, what type of players you want, if you’re on the same page with a general manager and an owner, you’ve got a good shot of surviving,” Tocchet said. “And I guess that’s what it comes down to. And obviously results. Obviously his results are pretty damn good.

“I’ve been there before and you just move on. You do your best and you move on.”

Because of Gallant’s firing, Tocchet was named to coach the Pacific Division All-Star team on Thursday, a role originally held by Gallant. It stands to reason; Tocchet got Jack Adams Trophy votes last season and also is the head coach of the division’s first-place at time of this writing.

“We’re all in it. We know the results at the end of the day,” Tocchet said. “But to get the end results, it’s a commitment to the process. There’s a process that you have to go through. Sometimes the results won’t be there right away. Sometimes you don’t like it because sometimes it’s not the coach’s fault. But there’s always different reasons.”


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