Guilty Plea Expected From Tocchet
Rick Hepp of The Star-Ledger is reporting that Rick Tocchet is expected to enter a guilty plea today in the Operation Slapshot case.
Tocchet, who took a leave of absence from his job as associate coach of the Phoenix Coyotes after the State Police busted the ring in February 2006, is expected to plead guilty to third-degree conspiracy and third-degree promoting gambling, according to two people with knowledge of the case. The presumption in third-degree crimes is no prison time for first offenders.
With prison avoided, the obvious question is: will he be back behind the bench for the Coyotes? Also from the Star-Ledger:
It was not clear last night how Tocchet’s admission would affect his dealings with the NHL, where he is best known in this area for his two tours with the Philadelphia Flyers during his 18-year career. After he was charged, Tocchet was granted an indefinite leave of absence by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman as long as Tocchet ceased all contact and communication with all NHL and team personnel.
So when/if he can return is unknown. It’ll be interesting to see how the league deals with the situation.
Also, yesterday I wrote:
Additionally, Tocchet’s been suspended without pay from his job as assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes.
The phrasing of that was similar to what was reported by many news outlets over the course of this story. However, the Star-Ledger paints a different version of Tocchet’s absence and I wanted to point that out for clarification.