It's been fairly mum on the Blue Jackets' head coaching search since they and John Tortorella parted ways after the 2020-21 regular season ended.
Now, as the playoffs pick up steam and eliminated teams turn to offseason business, the interview cycle is accelerating as well.
Veteran NHL coach Rick Tocchet will reportedly interview for the Blue Jackets' head coaching job this week, news first reported by Craig Morgan of Arizona Coyotes Insider. Tocchet, 57, has six seasons of head coaching experience, having spent the last four behind the bench of the Coyotes.
Rick Tocchet interviewed for the New York Rangers vacant coaching position today.— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) May 26, 2021
Also hearing that he will interview for the Buffalo Sabres' job on Thursday, and likely for the Columbus Blue Jackets' job at some point this week.
Tocchet began his head coaching career with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, when he was named interim coach following Barry Melrose's disastrous and short-lived 16-game tenure. He had the interim tag removed and remained as Tampa's head coach through 2010, when he was fired and later joined the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach.
Tocchet and the Coyotes parted ways (sound familiar?) following the 2020-21 campaign. In four seasons in the desert, Tocchet's teams made the playoffs once: in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 run, where Arizona advanced out of the qualifying round before losing to Colorado in the "first round."
Like Tocchet during his playing career, his teams have a reputation for playing hard, disciplined hockey with a commitment to defense. The Coyotes never had an exciting offense (though largely due to a talent disparity) but improved in the last three seasons of his tenure.