NHL commissioner Gary Bettman meets with suspended coach Rick Tocchet

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NEW YORK - Rick Tocchet is closer to finding out when or if he'll be reinstated by the NHL.

The suspended Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach met with commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, a source told The Canadian Press.

Tocchet has been on leave from the Coyotes since February 2006, when he was accused of running a U.S. sports gambling ring. He later agreed to a plea deal on counts of promoting gambling and conspiracy to promote gambling and received two years probation.

Bettman has said that he would only make a ruling on Tocchet's status with the league after seeing the report of an independent investigation by lawyer Robert Cleary. A source said that Cleary has delivered that document.

The Bettman-Tocchet meeting was expected to be the last step before the NHL commissioner makes a ruling on the former player's status with the league.

If he's cleared to return, Tocchet could find himself back on the Coyotes bench working alongside head coach Wayne Gretzky.

"I'm going to wait, absolutely," Gretzky said in April. "That would be my choice, and I know the players would like it, so that's where I'm at."

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