Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rick Tocchet is Tampa Bay Lightning's 'interim' coach in name only

Rick Tocchet, it seems, is an interim coach in name only.

Players Mark Recchi and Marty St. Louis both say Tocchet, who took over Nov. 14 for the fired Barry Melrose, deserves to have the interim label removed. Captain Vinny Lecavalier has explained how Tocchet, associate coach Mike Sullivan and assistant Wes Walz brought structure and on-ice discipline to the team with in-depth instruction, tough love and video.

"He's done a great job," St. Louis said. "He's brought accountability and a work ethic. He's proven he can lead this team. He deserves the opportunity."

The interim label, St. Louis said, "It's just on paper."

It likely will be status quo until the season ends.

Tocchet, 12-15-6 in his first head-coaching gig, said he was told when he got the job that his future would not be discussed until then, and general manager Brian Lawton reiterated that still is the plan.

That worked in Tocchet's favor when the team went 1-7-4 in his first 12 games and he didn't have to look over his shoulder.

"They've been honest saying they were going to wait, and I have no problem with that," Tocchet said. "I know what I can do as a coach, and I love my coaching staff. Whatever happens, happens. My focus is on trying to get this team some wins."

He keeps perspective, though. When St. Louis, wife Heather and sons, Ryan, 5; Lucas, 3; and Mason, 1, had travel troubles returning from Montreal the day after the All-Star Game, Tocchet texted the right wing to skip practice.

"He had a hell of a time with his family and young kids," Tocchet said. "I just felt the last thing he needed was a 45-minute practice. I just wanted to make sure he was with his family. It's important. Hockey is a priority, but family is No. 1."

Which is why when defenseman Jamie Heward was carted off the ice with a concussion during a Jan. 1 game in Washington, the coaches made sure Heward's wife was called with the news her husband was conscious and moving.

"That's just respect, and that goes a long way with your players," Tocchet said. "If you're asking them to go through a wall for you, you have to step up to the plate. It's something I always thought you should do, whether you're a coach or anybody."

Interim or not.

Rick Tocchet is Tampa Bay Lightning's 'interim' coach in name only 01/31/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 1, 2009 8:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  2. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.
  3. Signs point to Jameis Winston dressing vs. Bills

    Sports

    TAMPA — The Bucs didn't sign another quarterback Wednesday, which would suggest they are confident that Jameis Winston can be active as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday at Buffalo if he doesn't start.

  4. FSU doesn't feel need for ongoing reminder of last year's beatdown at Louisville

    Sports

    Of course Florida State remembers what happened against Louisville last year. The 63-20 loss was one of the worst defeats in Seminoles history.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson looks back at the action from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Murray State, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
  5. Goodell: NFL not changing its national anthem policy

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — In the face of fan unrest and accusations from the president about the league being unpatriotic, the NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference, Wednesday in New York. [AP Photo/Julie Jacobson]