- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Rick Tocchet was named the 21st head coach in Vancouver Canucks history on Sunday.
He takes over a team that’s 27th in the NHL in points percentage (.424), is expected to trade its leading goal-scorer, Bo Horvat, and faces a full-on fan revolt against ownership and management about how they mismanaged his predecessor Bruce Boudreau’s firing and the abysmal state of the team.
Welcome to Vancouver, Coach.
“I don’t look at it as a tough start,” Tocchet said during his introductory news conference. “I look at it as a new day tomorrow. All of that other stuff lessens and lessens [each day].”
Tocchet, 58, had served as a studio analyst for TNT’s NHL coverage for the past two seasons. Prior to that, he coached the Arizona Coyotes from 2017-18 through 2020-21 and earned praise for exceeding the low expectations for those teams — thanks in part to frequently outstanding goaltending. He was also a head coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning for two seasons.
His most notable coaching success came as an assistant to Mike Sullivan in Pittsburgh, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups as part of his staff. Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford was the general manager of those teams; Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin was the Penguins’ director of amateur scouting.
Tocchet played 1,144 games in the NHL with six franchises and was known as a physical forward who could hang offensively.
What does Tocchet’s hiring mean for the Canucks, both on the ice and in the trade market? Here’s a glance at what happened, and where it’s going for the team and its new coach.
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