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Tocchet brings lessons from past mistakes (and successes) to Coyotes

Nashville Predators v Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Rick Tocchet of the Tampa Bay Lightning watches his team take on the Nashville Predators at the St. Pete Times Forum on November 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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A decade ago, Rick Tocchet - then an assistant for Wayne Gretzky with the Phoenix Coyotes - plead guilty to gambling charges. After that, he faced more mundane struggles behind the bench with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Some would fold after such humbling mistakes, but Tocchet kept forging his coaching career, culminating with being assistant for Mike Sullivan’s championship Penguins staff.

MORE: Coyotes hire Tocchet as head coach

Tocchet knows full well that you can recover - and learn from - mistakes, and it sounds like he’ll take that approach with an Arizona Coyotes team full of young players who will almost certainly go through their own ups and downs.

That also means embracing what you do well and what you need to improve upon as a coach. Tocchet admits that he wasn’t decisive enough in his first run-through, but seeing Mike Sullivan really opened his eyes in that regard, as’s Dan Rosen reports.

The Coyotes took their time in replacing Dave Tippett - going through more than 20 candidates with about five interviews in person - and Coyotes GM John Chayka made it sound like Tocchet was a slam-dunk (or maybe more appropriately, a resounding body check).

It probably doesn’t hurt that members of the Penguins give glowing reviews of Tocchet as he leaves, too.

As promising as it is to hear that he endorses a “fun” style and doesn’t want to stifle creativity, the positive feedback has to inspire optimism in a Coyotes fan base that’s been through a lot.

Then again, Tocchet has been through quite a bit, too.