Penguins Update: Recchi to Replace Tocchet – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Update: Recchi to Replace Tocchet

The Arizona Coyotes have hired popular Penguins assistant Rick Tocchet as their new head coach. The appointment–rumored to be in the works for some time–was announced earlier today by Coyotes GM John Chayka.

“I’m extremely happy to be back with the Coyotes organization,” Tocchet said. “I loved playing here in the Valley and have always considered Arizona my home. We have a great young team and a ton of talent and I’m excited about leading this group of players.”

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The Pens wasted little time in naming a replacement. Mark Recchi, who served as the organization’s player development coach the past three seasons, will step behind the bench.

“His recent history with the organization, especially with our players and coaches, and his incredible knowledge of the game, will help to ensure a seamless transition,” general manager Jim Rutherford said.

The moves continue an odd symbiosis of sorts between Tocchet, 53, and Recchi, 49. On February 19, 1992, they were the featured players in a huge three-team trade, with Recchi departing the Steel City for Philly and Tocchet joining the black and gold.

While Recchi blossomed into a 50-goal scorer with the Flyers, the hard-driving Tocchet won a Stanley Cup with the Pens.

Penguins Sign Czuczman

The Pens added another depth defenseman today. The club signed 26-year-old Kevin Czuczman to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

Czuczman, a 6’2″ 206-pounder, was initially signed by the New York Islanders out of Lake Superior State in 2014. Following a 13-game stint with the Isles, he’s spent the past three seasons in the American Hockey League.

Regarded as a diligent two-way defenseman with a decent shot, Czuczman tallied 9 goals and 32 points with the Manitoba Moose last season.

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  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    July 13, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Hey Rick,
    There is a very interesting article below about Pen’s Billionaire co-owner Ron Burkle and his interview he just gave. If you get a chance you should read it because it gives you an insight to the Pens Hockey club that many would not have any knowledge of.
    He mentions several times in the article that ” HE has no intentions of selling the Penguins. ” Plus he sates that Mario and he agreed that if one left, they both would. So by that statement you can rest assured the stable ownership of the team for the future.
    As for the business side Burkle discloses some key points.
    1. When they first bought the team out of bankruptcy the deal was structured so Mario would get back the money that he had deferred from earlier contracts, that at the time were basically worthless.
    2. The team turns a profit and they base their budget projections on getting to the second round of the play offs every year.Detroit did the same approach.
    3. I found this comment very interesting. Up to a few years ago the majority of Mario’s wealth was his shares of the Pens, plus his home in Pittsburgh and his mansion in Quebec. That should not surprise anybody. Mario was worried and wanted to change that situation.Burkle said he fully understands because his Penguins shares represent only a small fraction of his wealth. 5 % ??
    Burkle mentions that there were ways in which Mario could still own his Pen’s shares and yet accomplish what he wanted to do and he noted that Mario is now renovating his Pittsburgh home. So for me that appears that Mario has been able to cash in on the increased value of the team and that is great for him.Plus he is planning to stay in Pittsburgh.
    4. If his friend Mario ever wanted out he would buy him out… Burkle’s last point.
    Rick that is really great news. Both are good friends and partners and the stability of ownership is KEY. He also mentions Crosby, MAF, Letang,Max Talbot and others. For a very private man it revealed a lot.
    Great story.

    * Please note,To his detractors I am not defending his other business practices and how he accumulated his 2 to 3 billion in wealth. He was a capitalist and take over specialist. In that type of business nice guys finish last.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 13, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Hey Jim,

      I’ve only skimmed over the article, but it looks like an outstanding piece.

      Excellent comments and synopsis, by the way … 🙂


  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    July 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick
    Just checked Cap friendly and we have 12 forwards, 6 d men and 2 goalies signed. 10,380 million Cap space left.
    Plus Pouliot 800 k 1 way salary is being recorded in AHL and not part of the above totals. Same as Sprong and Aston-Reeves.So they bring Pouliot up and send Ruwedel to AHL.Only 150 K difference. Point being we have 10.230 million to sign Dumo, a center man and maybe upgrade the left side a bit if we are creative.
    All in all looking pretty good.
    I am assuming Sheary will fetch a high number in Arbitration. 3 to 3.5 million and he will be traded.

  3. July 12, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Pouliot & Archibald are signed. Both to one way deals. Maybe the Pens aren’t looking for another defenseman.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 12, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Hey Phil,

      Thanks for the update!

      I agree. Barring a trade involving d-men, I think the Pens are content with a top-seven of Letang, Schultz, Dumoulin, Cole, Maatta, Hunwick and Ruhwedel…with Czuczman, Summers, Tinordi and Trotman in reserve.

      I’m glad they re-signed Archibald…love his speed and spunk. Given the lack of organizational depth at center, I’m a little surprised they let Dea walk, although I don’t think he fit into their plans at the big-league level.

      Anyways, the team’s starting to take shape.


      PS–Oops…totally forgot to include Pouliot in the defensive mix. Shows you how I view him…as an afterthought. Hope he proves me wrong.

  4. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    July 12, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey all,

    An interesting article over on puckprose.com by Dave Stevenson. He suggests a couple of center options I wouldn’t have thought of…Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo) and Artem Anisimov (Chicago).

    Dave tosses out Girgensons as a low-cost option, possibly in a swap for Derrick Pouliot. He also mentions Tyler Bozak, who seems to be the latest hot-button name to be bandied about.

    Anyways…interesting reading.


    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      July 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Rick,
      Bozak age 31 is not cheap. $ 4. 2 million cap hit for 1 year then he is UFA.
      But Bozak is an enigma. He scored 18 goals,12 goals,23 goals,19 goals,12 goals, 18 goals and 15 goals in his rookie season. He never became the number one / two center everyone expected him to be in terms of goals scored. Plus in his big years, 3 and 4 years ago he had Phil as his winger a lot of the time.
      So I am not to thrilled to get Bozak if we have to give up an Olli Maatta.
      Kadri now that is a different story.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        July 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Hey Jim,

        I’d love to have Kadri, too. But it’s hard to imagine the Leafs being willing to part with him.

        Plus…in all honesty…he’s overqualified for the role of third-line center.


  5. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    July 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Just saw Gonchar promoted to full asst coach now too. Glad to see that.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      That’s good news, indeed. Gonchar is so well liked and respected.

      While I’m sure their friendship has evolved over the years, it doesn’t hurt to have him in close proximity to Geno, either.


  6. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    July 12, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Hey all,

    One of those goofy little things I must’ve stared at dozens of times through the years but never took note of until now.

    Both Tocchet and Recchi have “cch” in their last name, which only reinforces the odd connection between them.


    • July 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      I have never noticed that!

      Sullivan stated today that Recchi & Kessel are pals and have a good rapport.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        July 12, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Hey Phil
        When you are paying a guy $ 7.65 million a year actual salary in 2017-18 what is another 200-300 K for a baby sitter if it keeps him happy.
        I like Sarge and Mark both and I think they bring a depth of knowledge and stability to the team. Great signings. I also think the Geno/ Gonchar is also a great fit. Personally, would like to see another Russian on the team because it helps the chemistry for Geno.

  7. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    July 11, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    Just read an interesting article on the PG by Ron Cook and this question is to any/everyone; Cook is suggesting that with Tocchet gone, is Kessel next? Cook says yes, maybe not until the season starts but yes.

    I want to extent that question a little farther, with his LNTC and his quote that Tocchet was the best asst coach he has ever played for, would that trade be to Az?

    I may be in the minority, but I like Phil. I hate to see him go; particularly since the Pens didn’t win the Cup until he got here and he has been one of the most prolific post season players in the post season these past 2 seasons.

    If Sprong is ready to burst on the scene, then I wouldn’t be upset; particularly if we could garner Az’s 1st pick out of a deal like that, but trading Phil isn’t a priority for me.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      July 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I will say this, I don’t think a Kessel trade may be on the Pens minds right now, particularly since there is some talk of Kessel’s friend Bozak may be JRs 3rd line C.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      I saw that article, too.

      Interesting, to say the least. I guess it’s no secret that Kessel and Sullivan have had, at times, a strained relationship. Sully’s the kind of coach who, when he tells you to do something, he expects you to do it. And Phil? Let’s say he travels to the beat of his own drum.

      Still, as my hockey buddy Tom pointed out, Kessel always comes through on a big stage, as he did this spring (23 points in 25 games, plus-12) and the year before (10 postseason goals). And there’s no denying his skill and creativity, especially as a playmaker, or the difference he makes on the power play.

      For all the headaches he may have caused the coaching staff, it sounds like he’s a genuinely popular guy with his teammates. Heck, they may even live through him in a vicarious sort of way for the way he cocks his snoot…intentionally or otherwise…at the coaching staff.

      In his own way, Kessel may actually serve as an emotional buffer or safety valve between his teammates and the ultra-intense Sullivan. Kind of like Tocchet was with him, only in the opposite direction.

      And yet … from a strictly clinical standpoint, now might be the perfect time to move him. With so many teams looking for offense, Kessel’s trade value may never be higher. Given that folks are shelling out $6 million for the likes of Radulov, I think they’d gladly pay a little more for a scorer of Phil’s pedigree.

      Plus, we’re comparatively stacked at right wing.

      I just don’t know if trading him would be the right move. At least right now.


      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        July 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Hey Rick,

        As you know and as I have stated, I am in agreement with you. I like Phil. I would like to see him stay. And if the Pens may be entertaining getting Bozak, it would make tons of sense to keep him.

        However, if Sprong is really ready to explode and the Pens can rake Az over the coals, I wouldn’t complain as loudly as I would otherwise. I hate to say this but I thought I read somewhere that there is a player coming up in the draft that may be on par with the likes of McDavid and Matthews. and if the Pens can deal him to one of the bottom feeders which Az may end up being the Pens will at least have some chance of getting him.

        Since I don’t get a chance to watch these kids in the Jrs I can’t really say, but the big IF could work out for the Pens.

        My gut though says stay with Phil.

    • July 11, 2017 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Cook is an idiot. He said the same thing about Malkin a few years back. His radio show numbers are probably down.

      I think he also claimed Kessel is overpaid and long spells of not scoring.
      Last two cup wins:
      Kessel 18 goals – 45 pts $6.5 mil
      Malkin 16 goals – 46 pts $9.5 mil
      Crosby 14 goals – 46 pts $8.7 mil

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        July 12, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Great job of putting things into perspective, Phil.

        Kessel may go through fits and starts during the regular season (most players do). But he’s money come playoff time. The numbers sure don’t lie, do they?

        Plus, there’s something about foes having to deal with Crosby, Malkin and Kessel that makes it exceedingly difficult for them to match up. Take one away, and I’m not sure they have the same issues.


        • Jim's Gravatar Jim
          July 12, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          Hey guys,
          Interesting conversation about Phil. Before I waeigh in I want you to all know that Phil Kessel is one of the top 10 US born hockey players of all time by the numbers. Through out his career he seemed to perform his best on the big,big stage. Meaning the bigger the games the more his competitive spirit took over and the better he played.
          With regards to his difficulties in being coached, I am reminded of a Toronto print article early on in Phil’s career where he basically said Hey,your the guys that offered me 10 million a year for 10 years… it was not me ! Next time be more careful.. ( I am paraphrasing ). I laughed when I read the article at the time. But he was 100% right. The Pen’s knew exactly what they were getting when they traded for Phil. No surprises. Phil Krundle is right by the numbers he has shown in his post. Phil Kessel was a vital part of us winning back to back championships !! Having said all the above, I want to address the point The Other Rick raises from the Cook article.
          Should Phil Kessel be traded to Arizona ?? My thinking is the option should be explored quietly to see what return could you generate for the team if Kessel wanted to leave to be with his friend Rick Tocchet. If does not want to go to Arizona then it is a MUTE point. But just maybe you could do a Blockbuster trade in Letang and Kessel for 25 year old star defense man Oliver Ekman-Larsson,( he has scored 71 goals in the last 4 years on a very weak team. Letang has scored 43 in the same period). 19 year old first round d man 6′ 3″Jakob Chychrun,( he scored 20 points in his rookie season, 7 goals ), 20 year old 6’5″ junior star center Dylan Strome,( led Canada in the WJC), and maybe left wingers Anthony Duclair or Brendan Perlini . What ever other pieces needed to make the deal make sense.
          My point is this is just an illustration of what could happen and any good GM, which Rutherford is would be a fool not to investigate this possibility quietly. Remember they traded Gretzky, Brett Hull, and Mark Messier, so yes I think for the right favorable deal I would trade Phil. It would have to be heavily in my favor !!
          Of course this will never happen… Armchair GM stuff.

          • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
            July 12, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Great thoughts, Jim.

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            July 12, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            Hey Jim,

            Yes as I wrote, I like Kessel. His numbers speak for themselves, so I am not looking to push him out the door by any stretch of the imagination. However, like you, for the right price I would deal. My only thoughts I would add to your trade thoughts is that I want Az’s first pick as well, assuming that I do deal.

            However, when it comes to this particular trade, I am not that disposed without a large, large return.


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