Arizona Coyotes Fans Want Coach Rick Tocchet’s Head on a Platter – or They Don’t

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Arizona Coyotes fans are clamoring for the immediate firing of head coach Rick Tocchet, or maybe they’re not. It depends on who you ask.

The Arizona Coyotes are in a bit of a pickle right now. Their standing in the NHL’s Honda West Division is literally and figuratively dropping. To some “fans” and spectators, there’s no hope in sight, as the Yotes are already toast regarding making the playoffs this season. They are barely at “.500” and will probably remain there while the surging LA Kings, the hot Minnesota Wild, and perhaps the ever optimistic Anaheim Ducks fight it out for the precious and elusive 4th playoff spot.

Why such a dismal view of the future you ask? Because of Head Coach Rick Tocchet. That’s right, Tocchet. He knows full well that when a head coach gets hired, it’s only a matter of time before he or she is fired, and many of the Coyotes’ experts viewing from the stands or from the living room couch are demanding that he be fired. After all, if he’s not going to guarantee that the men on the roster that he inherited from “gone like the wind” super GM John Chayka are going to win, then why should the Coyotes keep him around?

People agree that Rick Tocchet was a damn good, physical hockey player, tough as they come. He had a successful career on the ice and won a Stanley Cup as a player and two others as an assistant coach with the Penguins. So why the heck can’t Mr. Tocchet get his Coyotes’ players to be as successful as he was on the ice? Is he an abject failure? Well, no.

When a team is underachieving, it’s much easier to blame the head coach, since he or she is responsible for the overall success or failure of the squad. In the Arizona Coyotes’ case, some folks feel as though Tocchet doesn’t have the attention or respect of his roster, that they have tuned him out, and Tocchet therefore has to be replaced NOW if the Coyotes are going to start making “real” progress before this season is gone. I haven’t seen, read, or heard anything that would indicate that “Tocc” has lost his audience, however. Have you?

There are many fans that firmly believe that GM Bill Armstrong will replace Coach Tocchet with a man of his choosing, not someone that isn’t “Bill’s guy.” That’s certainly an option, but is that necessarily in the best interests of the organization? With more money finally being available at the end of this campaign, could Tocchet and Armstrong work together to build a better, competitive team for next season?

When the Coyotes were called for having too many men on the ice at least four times recently, I wondered who was running the asylum. I bet you did too. I also wondered how in heck the Yotes could ever get into the playoffs when they apparently got confused about who is supposed to go where and when?

The Coyotes roster is full of well-paid professionals that are expected to play to a high standard on a consistent basis – as in always! Of course it’s just not reasonable, as humans are fallible. None of the coaches can play for them, and they have to execute on the ice for themselves while under pressure.

Is it possible that the Coyotes, both individually and collectively, are just not talented enough to perform at the level that their coaching staff and their loyal, desperate fans expect of them? If that’s the case, then would replacing the head coach resolve much of anything?

What all Coyotes supporters have in common is that we love our team and want them to be consistent winners. After all, when they’re successful, in our eyes we’re winners too.

I have no recommendations as to what the Arizona Coyotes could or should do, but my gut tells me that to sack Rick Tocchet at this juncture is not the answer. I know it’s easier to dismiss a single coach than fire a pack of overpaid yet under-performing players, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for the organization.

As painful as it is sometimes (I know – it’s been years), I’ll stay the course, and I’m asking you to consider doing the same. Let’s go Coyotes!