Every Penguins coaching scenario I hear envisions RICK TOCCHET as the associate head coach. He’d be the brawn behind the brain. The bad cop.

Why not hire Tocchet as head coach and get some Xs and Os specialist to be his right hand? Reverse the roles. If Tocchet is held in such high regard, why not?

Don’t underestimate Tocchet’s hockey acumen. He was a tough player, but a smart player. Tocchet displayed a high hockey IQ.

Tocchet has been a head coach and an assistant at the NHL level. He was teammates with Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, and is trusted and held in high esteem by both. Tocchet, in any significant role, will be of great help to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Tocchet understands stars.

Willie Desjardins turned down the Pens’ head coaching position. So what? For a guy who’s been riding a bus his whole career, he seems a bit entitled.

The Penguins’ coaching search (and entire off-season) has been widely characterized as a “mess.” I’ve heard the term “dumpster fire.”

It’s not. There’s nothing disastrous about it. It’s just a regular off-season and a typical coaching search. You don’t always get your first choice. The Steelers didn’t. Joe Paterno turned down the Steelers in 1969. Chuck Noll didn’t.

For further explanation, read my column at timesonline.com.

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