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  • 北京pk10彩票官网 www.bjn98.com When it took the Coyotes 21 games to notch a regulation win last season, there were some serious questions about Rick Tocchet’s claim to the club’s head-coaching position.

    There were high expectations regarding Tocchet’s supposed brilliance in grooming young talent, but most support quickly evaporated with the Coyotes' struggles out of the gate?in 2017-18.

    At that point, it would have been easy for Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka to make a rash decision about the coaching situation, Tocchet acknowledged, but the Coyotes have done little else but flourish since their early-season struggles last season.

    “I think it’s important to just believe in what you’re doing,” Tocchet said. “John Chayka, I give him a lot of credit. It was a bad first half, a lot of ugliness and he didn’t waver. He came up to me and said, ‘Stick with what you’re doing.’ He could have easily said a lot of other things, but he didn’t.

    “We stuck with it and the players stuck with it, too. Sometimes you don’t get the results right off the bat, and you’ve just got to stick with what you believe in.”

    Are you a sports fan? Stay in the know. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

    Tocchet had just taken his first head-coaching job since his two-year stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008-10. He was fired by the?Lightning?after posting an aggregate 53-69-14 record, but Tocchet went on to win a pair of Stanley Cups as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins before ultimately returning to the Coyotes, with whom he was a player from 1998-2000.

    Now, almost 20 full months after being hired, Tocchet is the recipient of legitimate national buzz surrounding the Jack Adams Award, which is handed out annually to the NHL’s top coach. Since Feb. 4, 2018, the Coyotes have posted a record of 50-39-8.

    Tocchet let out a grin when asked about his name being thrown around for the award.

    “I honestly don’t even know what you’re talking about, man,” Tocchet said. “We’re a day-to-day team. … Tomorrow is another day, and we just have to treat it that way. We can’t even scoreboard watch. I like our team when we’re just narrowed in.”

    Tocchet should get some serious consideration for the award?if the Coyotes are able to grab one of the two Western Conference wild-card spots. After a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday, the Coyotes were three points off the playoff pace when NHL play finished Friday night.

    There is little doubt that Tocchet has gotten the best out of what he's had at his disposal this season. The Coyotes are running away with the league-lead in man-games lost, a calculation of aggregate games missed by injured players, and yet the team is in?its most-productive stretch of the 2018-19 season.

    a group of people wearing red uniforms: Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet reacts against the Anaheim Ducks in the second period on Mar. 5, 2019, at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.? Rob Schumacher/The Republic Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet reacts against the Anaheim Ducks in the second period on Mar. 5, 2019, at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

    The Coyotes have won six of their last seven games and seven of their last nine at home. They are 5-1 on a season-long, seven-game homestand which?wraps up Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.

    Most recently, they rebounded from a low-effort loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday to shut out a team that had outscored them by a margin of?18-4 in three prior meetings this season. That?statement win underscores the job Tocchet has done in terms of how the team handles adversity on a mental and emotional level.

    “I get pretty emotional after a game when we don’t play well,” Tocchet said. “But the next day, we’ve done a nice job as a staff and with the players of resetting our minds. … I think that’s a key. I have to give my coaches a lot of credit, as well as the veteran (players). It’s something I want these guys to understand in that we’re in a position where, if we lay it on the line, we can live with it.

    “I don’t want them to regret anything when the season is over, and I feel like most games we’re emptying the tank.”

    One of those veteran players is forward Michael Grabner, who returned to the Coyotes lineup?Thursday after missing 41 games with an eye injury. Grabner had the unique perspective of watching Tocchet from the outside and noticed his ability to keep the ship afloat.

    “I think they just kept the guys on track without changing a whole lot,” Grabner said after Thursday’s game. “We played the way we wanted to play regardless of who was in the lineup. … Obviously I wasn’t around that closely and was just watching on TV mostly, so I don’t really know what was going on in the locker room or in meetings, but from what I watched I saw everyone put in 100 percent and buy into the system and philosophy.

    Even if the Coyotes are able to make the playoffs, Tocchet would face some steep competition for the award. Ex-Capitals head coach Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders have shocked the league with their turnaround season, Jon Cooper is leading a juggernaut Tampa Bay Lightning squad, and Bill Peters in Calgary will get some looks as well.

    “I think he definitely deserves to be in the conversation (for the award)," Grabner said.?"We’ve had some key injuries and we’re right there to make the playoffs. Hopefully we can get in and get him some votes there.”

    Den’s digest

    The score: Coyotes 2, Flames 0.

    The streak: W1.

    The record: 33-29-5, 4th in Pacific.

    The 82-game pace: 40-35-7, 87 points.

    The position: 3 points back of the second wild card.

    The player: Jakob Chychrun.

    The moment: Clayton Keller’s goal at 10:18 of the first period.

    The number: 24 —?The Coyotes are 24-1-1 when leading after two periods this season.

    The quote: "I liked that we stuck to the game plan ... I liked that we had more guys invested in what we're trying to do. I don't think there were any passengers." —?Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet.

    View from the press box: It cannot be overemphasized how vital these two points were to the Coyotes, whose competition in the the wild-card race simply refuses to lose. It’s a shame Flames goaltender Mike Smith didn’t pass to any players who could score.

    Song of the night: “Right Back At It Again” by A Day To Remember.

    This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Rick Tocchet's Jack Adams buzz validated as Coyotes collect statement win over Flames

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