Breaking: NHL head coach granted indefinite leave of absence

Wow… who saw this coming!? Thoughts and prayers, hoping that everything is okay.

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According to a report from Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet has been granted an indefinite leave of absence to deal with a family matter.

Coyotes assistant John MacLean will fill in for Tocchet on an interim basis.

The details surrounding Tocchet's situation have not been revealed and the team has yet to make an official statement, so stay tuned for that.


The Coyotes have now officially confirmed the news and issued a statement regarding Tocchet and his family.

From Coyotes general manager and president John Chayka:

Arizona Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka announced today that Head Coach Rick Tocchet has been granted a leave of absence from the team to deal with a family illness. Assistant Coach John MacLean will assume the Coyotes' head coaching responsibilities until Tocchet returns.
"Family comes first," Chayka said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Toc as he deals with this personal matter. It's important that he takes the time to be there with his family."

At this point we can only speculate, so we'll reserve any further investigation on this topic and grant Tocchet his privacy while he deals with family matters.

Former NHLer knocks out referee out cold with a brutal sucker punch

Hands up if you remember former NHLer Andrei Kovalenko. The big Russian winger played over 600 career games in the NHL split between the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins, but left for the KHL, or rather its predecessors the Russian Super League (RSL) following the 2000-2001 NHL season. 

The big man affectionately known as “The Tank” by former teammates is probably best known for being part of the trade package that netted the Avs goaltender Patrick Roy from the Canadiens. Kovalenko was shipped to the Habs, along with goaltender Jocelyn Thibault and Martin Rucinsky for Roy and forward Mike Keane. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since leaving North America and retiring from professional hockey in Russia in the late 2000s, Kovalenko has remained in the sport and is currently the head of the KHL’s Players Association. As such, Kovalenko is a spokesman for the league and often participates in promotional events including one earlier this week in the league’s United Corporate league where he apparently took issue with a referee’s call. So much so that he delivered a devastating sucker punch to the official, knocking him out cold and giving him a concussion.

Check it out:

WTF!? The referee, Vladislav Kiselev, was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a concussion. He made an official statement to Swedish hockey magazine Aftonbladet the next day saying:

“He could not control himself, he hit me several times. He was furious. I told him to go and sit in the stall, then he pulled me in, burst out all other judges and players - and hit me hard again.”

Kovalenko has reportedly not reached out to Kiselev to offer an apology or to explain his actions. Double WTF!?