Bookies, coaches just don't mix

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Why should Rick Tocchet be reinstated to work again in the NHL?

Working in the NHL isn't a right, it should be a privilege. By being involved in a bookmaking operation, and now pleading guilty to such involvement while working as an assistant coach in Phoenix, Tocchet violated that privilege.

He brought disgrace to himself, his league, his team and those who supported him. Never mind that Tocchet was a player you couldn't help but admire. Never mind that he has plenty of friends around the NHL.

As a player, he needed to be responsible for himself. But as a coach, his responsibilities were beyond that: His job description meant being a leader, a person of influence, a role model of sorts for those who played under him.

Tocchet violated that with his involvement with a betting operation that took in $1.7 million (all terms US) in wagering over a 40-day period. This was no office pool. The fact he won't do jail time isn't any revelation: Bookies rarely do any real time.

Tocchet was a bookie: You can't be a bookie and a coach in professional sport. You can't.

THIS AND THAT: Anaheim wins the Stanley Cup if its checking line of Sammy Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen, along with Chris Pronger, do a job on the Big Three from Ottawa ... The Senators were clearly ripped off by the NHL in the scheduling of the Cup final. The one absolute advantage the Sens had, having won their playoff rounds quickly, was being well-rested. Now, because of quirky scheduling, both teams are too well-rested ... The difficulty of game planning for the Ducks: If you match your top defensive pair against their No. 1 line with Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald, the second line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry beats you ... Can't remember a coach who runs a shorter bench when it matters than the Ducks' Randy Carlyle ... If the reported numbers are accurate and the soft Andrei Markov is about to sign in Montreal for $5 million a season, I only have one question: When did John Ferguson become GM of the Habs?

HEAR AND THERE: In six seasons on the job, GM J.P. Ricciardi has proven to talk a better game than he plays. For those keeping track, this is his fourth losing season in six. In his first five years, the Blue Jays averaged just below 80 wins a season. By comparison, Gord Ash was fired after averaging 80 wins in his final five seasons with the Jays, three of them winning seasons. Ash left behind Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells, Reed Johnson and Alex Rios. Should Ricciardi leave, which isn't a consideration, what would he be leaving behind? ... One sharp Ricciardi deal: Jeremy Accardo for Shea Hillenbrand. Accardo has been all but perfect with the not-so-perfect Jays. Hillenbrand is off to a terrible start, playing only part time with the Angels, hitting .236 with crummy power numbers.

SCENE AND HEARD: The worst part about the Raptors not having their first pick in the NBA draft: Glen Grunwald traded it away in a deal for the sulking and forgettable Lamond Murray ... Now this is new: American tennis player Mardy Fish had to pull out of the French Open after injuring his ankle while trying to kick a field goal while visiting buddies who play for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europa. By the way, NFL Europa used to be called NFL Europe and before that the World League of American Football. This isn't to be confused with the CIS, which used to be the CIAU, or the OUA, which used to be the OUAA. Or the WWE, which used to be the WWF and before that was the WWWF. Got that? ... There was a regal quality to his name, if not his game: Signor Mobley, suddenly retired in Edmonton, sounded important and played important ... When the Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary, the people most upset about it were players' wives. A lot of marriages didn't survive the move. Wonder if anything similar will happen when the Nashville Predators eventually move to Western Ontario.

AND ANOTHER THING: To put Bobby Orr's career into some kind of modern perspective, consider this: Scott Niedermayer led all NHL defencemen in scoring this season with 69 points. Orr, in his 20s, scored at a 123-point pace, or 1.5 points per game. Another way of looking at it: Orr scored at a 78% higher rate than the best scorer of today ... On second thought, shouldn't the Predators have held off announcing that rise in season-ticket prices? ... The real big hurt: The Blue Jays gave Frank Thomas $9 million up front to sign with the club ... A four-year contract for any coach -- not just Sam Mitchell -- is too long a deal. It's like someone once said of Jacques Demers: "Five-year contract, two-year act." ... And hey, whatever became of Barry Beck?


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