GLENDALE, Ariz. -- One of Dave Tippett's best anecdotes from his playing days involves his former coach with the Hartford Whalers, Jack Evans.
Tippett made his living and built a solid reputation as a diligent checking forward, but while he was in the midst of a goal-scoring drought, Evans, a man of few words, offered this counsel.
"'Tip, I love the way you're checking. You're checking your ass off,'" Tippett recalled Evans saying. "'Just let me give you one bit of advice. When you check a guy, you don't have to give the puck back to him just so you can check him again.'"
At the risk of ascribing too much meaning, the anecdote perfectly illustrates Tippett. There's the genuine humility of a former role player who isn't afraid to admit that role -- or his failings. There's the blue-collar approach that he has transferred to his coaching and now demands from all of his players. And there is the ability to learn and in...