Wednesday: Tocchet will return to the team in time for their game Thursday night against the Nashville Predators.
Monday: The Arizona Coyotes will be coached by John MacLean for the time being, after announcing that Rick Tocchet will be taking a leave of absence to deal with a family illness. The Coyotes have 14 games remaining in the regular season.
Though they still sit last in the NHL, the Coyotes have played well of late, going 9-3-1 over the last month. Although coming last increases your odds in the draft lottery, climbing out of the bottom would be an accomplishment for a team that has struggled right from the start of the season. Arizona, led by new head coach Tocchet, didn’t win in regulation until the 21st game of the season. It’s been a work in progress for the coaching staff, but there are some things to look forward to.
MacLean will bring some experience to the job, as he served as head coach of the New Jersey Devils briefly and was a long-time player in the league. In 1,194 regular season games as a player, MacLean scored 842 points and won the Stanley Cup in 1995 with the Devils. It’s not clear when Tocchet will return, but for now it will be MacLean’s team to guide through the remainder of the season.