Tag: Rick Tocchet

2014 NHL Stadium Series - Chicago - Practice Day And Family Skate

Martin rejoins Pens’ coaching staff as special assistant to Johnston


Jacques Martin will have a new role with the Pittsburgh Penguins next season the club announced on Tuesday.

Martin will now be a special assistant to head coach Mike Johnston.

During the 2014-15 season Martin was a part of the Pens’ coaching staff in a scouting and advisory role. The 62-year-old was in charge of pre-scouting opponents and providing the coaching staff with opponent’s tendencies, strengths and weaknesses.

“One is personnel, on players, some strengths and areas that we can exploit on certain players,” Martin said of his role last season. “The second component is looking at the team’s play, systems and what we can to do to counteract that.”

Martin will continue to pre-scout opponents next season, but will do it via video.

His new role will be to analyze games from the media level and provide instant analysis to Johnston and his assistants on the bench.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Martin said. “I have a good relationship with the coaching staff and management. Being closer to the team and provide feedback, use my experience from over the years, just giving them another opinion.”

Martin joined the club as an assistant coach in 2013-14 on Dan Bylsma’s staff. Last season his official title was senior advisor of hockey operations.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, assistant coaches Gary Agnew and Rick Tocchet will remain on the bench with Johnston.

It’s Pittsburgh Penguins Day at PHT

Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Pittsburgh Penguins

Another year with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their prime turned into another year without a Stanley Cup.

The Penguins got an MVP season out of Crosby, who was head and shoulders above everyone last season, but wound up getting bumped out in the second round of the playoffs by the New York Rangers. Making matters worse, the Pens had a 3-1 lead in the series until Henrik Lundqvist turned into brick wall.

Crosby struggled in the postseason and not just because of Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky’s heroics. A rumored wrist injury may or may not have slowed him down. He also didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates. Outside of Malkin, Jussi Jokinen, and Matt Niskanen others failed to show up. James Neal, Chris Kunitz, and Kris Letang all had lackluster performances.

The Pens got a breakout season from 19-year-old Olli Maatta on defense and managed to dance around a stroke to Letang during the regular season to have a solid year on the blue line. Niskanen’s big season helped soften the blow of losing Letang and Paul Martin was steady as well.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury was steady as anyone putting up a .915 save percentage both in the regular season and playoffs. While he’s always easy to point the finger at when things go south, he wasn’t Pittsburgh’s problem last season. A lack of strong forward depth, especially in the wake of losing Pascal Dupuis for the season, and defensive injuries helped make life a lot harder than it had to be during the season and worse still during the playoffs.

Offseason recap

If was a summer of front office changes for the Pens. Both GM Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma were sent packing and in came former Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford as well as first-time NHL coach Mike Johnston from the WHL Portland Winterhawks. After bowing out to the New York Rangers, that was the last straw for Penguins ownership.

The Pens also made big changes on the ice as well as they traded Neal to Nashville in exchange for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik bolted for the truly greener pastures of Washington to join the Capitals. They also let Jokinen, Tanner Glass, and Joe Vitale walk in free agency.

Pittsburgh may have made the sneakiest splashes of the offseason landing former Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and former Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie on one-year deals. Blake Comeau, along with Spaling, will also help their bottom six be not as easy to push around.

PHT Morning Skate: Grabovski, Kulemin reuniting makes for good story

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The story of how Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski reunited to sign with the New York Islanders is something pretty special. (Sportsnet)

Remember how crazy it seemed when Jonathan Drouin didn’t make the Tampa Bay Lightning last season? Yeah, he’s very motivated to do that this time around and that’s great news for the ‘Bolts. (Tampa Bay Times)

Is Paul Stastny throwing shade? He said he sees more opportunity with the Blues. (Post-Dispatch)

Does spending tons of money guarantee success? No, but it sure makes it look like teams are trying. (Sportsnet)

Brian Gionta signing with the Buffalo Sabres makes for a nice homecoming story for a guy who becomes a leader for a young team. (NHL.com)

Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen better be ready for lots of scrutiny in Washington with their big deals. (Washington Post)

Steve Downie reuniting with Rick Tocchet in Pittsburgh makes for a nice story, but his history of menacing the Penguins brings questions. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

What about the other guy involved in the Jason Spezza trade? Alex Chiasson hopes to emerge as a star with the Senators. (NHL.com)

Pens make Johnston hiring official, name Rick Tocchet assistant

Rick Tocchet

The Pittsburgh Penguins made the hiring of Mike Johnston as the new head coach official this afternoon and with it there are more changes behind the bench.

The Penguins have hired Rick Tocchet to assist Johnston behind the bench and Tony Granato and Todd Reirden have been let go. Those two assisted Dan Bylsma and now with Johnston in charge, he’s bringing in a new group of assistants with one more coach to be hired. Assistant coach Jacques Martin’s role with the team is yet to be determined and goaltending coach Mike Bales will return.

Tocchet was last seen behind the bench with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the team’s head coach from 2008-2010. Now he’ll make his return to action coaching Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang among others alongside Johnston.

“Rick is going to be a very valuable member of the staff here ,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said. “He was an outstanding NHL player, a guy who brought toughness and intensity every night along with a high level of skill. The fans in Pittsburgh know that first-hand. He also gained great experience as a coach with three different NHL organizations. We all know he’s got a lot to offer in his new role with the Penguins.”

Tocchet was also an assistant with the Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, and Phoenix Coyotes.

Rick Tocchet thinks the Capitals should hire Adam Oates as head coach

Adam Oates

If it was up to former NHL head coach and star forward Rick Tocchet to pick the new coach for the Washington Capitals, his choice would be simple. He’d be all about Adam Oates.

Tocchet tells CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley that Oates has that special something other candidates can’t provide behind the bench.

“He’s not a rah-rah guy. He’s not going to stand up and give you a Knute Rockne speech. But he’s a man’s man and a pro. I think he could be a great head coach.

“Let’s put it this way: If I was an owner or a GM I’d find a way to get Adam Oates on my team. In my opinion, 85 percent of the league’s coaches are the same. Adam gives you that extra 15 percent that can put a team over the top.”

Tocchet and Oates were teammates in both Boston and Washington and were on the same coaching staff together in Tampa Bay. To say Tocchet has a good feel for what Oates can do might be an understatement. Oates is believed to be a finalist for the Caps job along with Norfolk Admirals coach Jon Cooper and Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Haviland.

One thing working in Oates’ favor is his history with Caps GM George McPhee as he was running the Caps when Oates called D.C. his home from 1997 to 2001. The Caps are expected to make their coaching choice this week.