Lightning has interest in Tocchet
Adding to the almost certainty that Barry Melrose will be the next Lightning coach is this: the team apparently has asked for permission to speak to Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet about joining Tampa Bay. Neither the Lightning, incoming owner Oren Koules nor the Coyotes are talking, so it is unclear if Phoenix granted permission or if the sides already have spoken. But the pieces fit. Tocchet's Phoenix contract expires at the end of the month and he played wing for Melrose during the 1994-95 season with the Kings. He also played the tough, hard-nosed game Melrose favors.
Tocchet, 44, was involved in a gambling scandal that broke open in February 2006 and ended with him in August 2007 pleading guilty to promoting gambling and conspiracy to promote gambling and receiving two years probabtion. An independent investigation by the NHL was said to have found no evidence of gambling on hockey in the ring that news reports at the time said received more than 1,000 wagers exceeding $1.7-million, and Tocchet, who took a leave of absence after charges were filed against him and two others, was permitted to return to the Coyotes bench in February 2008.
Tocchet played 18 NHL seasons, mostly with the Flyers, and had 440 goals, 952 points and 2,970 penalty minutes in 1,144 games.