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Posted On Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 3:19 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes' Doan remains out 'for the foreseeable future'

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Exactly what has been ailing Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan for the last week hasn't been revealed. But coach Dave Tippett said Thursday the illness isn't simply a short-term concern and could keep Phoenix's leading goal-scorer out of the lineup for an extended period.

Doan was not on the ice Thursday morning and will miss his third straight game when the Coyotes host the New York Islanders. Doan has 12 goals and 23 points in 27 games and leaves a big hole in the Coyotes lineup, in production and leadership.

"He's still under the weather and he's still not going to be available for the foreseeable future," Tippett said. "He's still getting some tests done, so hopefully it's not long, long-term."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 3:27 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes hope to make up ground on Blackhawks

GLENDALE, Ariz. – It doesn't take much of a losing streak to lose ground in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The Phoenix Coyotes found that out the hard way last week, when a 0-2-1 mini-slump left them looking up at West teams that just keep winning.

The Coyotes got back on track with a tight 2-1 road win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday and have a chance to make up ground Saturday against the NHL-leading Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago moved eight points ahead of Phoenix with its fifth straight win, a 2-1 shootout victory against the Dallas Stars Friday.

Chicago is now 5-1 on a road trip that ends in Arizona, collecting points in bunches while the Coyotes scuffled before finding their game in front of backup goalie Thomas Greiss against the Wild.

"Before the game talked about not letting things spiral out of control, that losing three was bad enough," Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle said. "The great teams find ways to end those runs quickly, and now we have to take the momentum from that win and run with it."

The Coyotes are off to a 15-6-4 start after 25 games and things are looking up off the ice as well. The game on Saturday is a sellout and all 87 luxury suites have been sold at Jobing.com Arena for the first time since the Coyotes moved to Glendale in 2003. Team officials are projecting the highest regular season gate revenue since the team moved to Arizona in 1996

The Coyotes still have defenseman Rostislav Klesla on the roster, but after clearing waivers this week he is likely headed for the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League. Klesla was allowed to stay in Arizona to tend to personal matters but it was clear coach Dave Tippett wants him to play heavy minutes in the minors and work on improving his game.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stone providing unlikely offense for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz.Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone had five shots on goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. That was highly unusual for the second-year player.

Stone also scored in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Avalanche. Lately, that's not news.

With four goals in his past three games, Stone now has seven goals for the season, tying him with Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators for the most among NHL defensemen. Stone has accomplished the feat while putting 29 shots on goal, scoring on 24.1 percent of his shots on goal, compared to 10.3 percent for Karlsson.

Stone will try to keep it going Saturday when the Coyotes face the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena. Phoenix trails Anaheim by three points in the Western Conference, which has eight teams with at least 32 points.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rested Coyotes back to chasing points in wild West

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes enjoyed a much-needed, four-day break to heal bumps and bruises and recharge batteries tested by a difficult early schedule.

But the rest of the potent Western Conference, boasting teams that have compiled the top eight point totals in the NHL, has been working while Phoenix sat on the sidelines. To keep pace, the Coyotes need to hit the ground running when they face off against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

The Coyotes (31 points) and Avalanche (30) are part of the eight-team logjam that is separated by three points in the standings. Colorado lost three straight before rebounding with a 5-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.16.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Morris, Michalek remain out for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Much of the Phoenix Coyotes' early-season success can be traced to a strong effort from the defense corps. But the depth of the blueline is being tested as two main cogs will be on the sidelines when Phoenix plays host to the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday.

Derek Morris (lower body) is expected to miss his fifth straight game and Zbynek Michalek was injured in the 5-4 shootout loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday and won't play Saturday. The Coyotes recalled rookie Connor Murphy from Portland of the American Hockey League Friday and he is expected to make his NHL debut against the Lightning.

Even with the injuries, the Phoenix defense continues to produce. Michael Stone had the first two-goal game of his career against the Blackhawks as the Coyotes collected three of four points in tough road stops against the St. Louis Blues and Chicago.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 3:09 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes' Ribeiro ready for former Capitals mates

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Mike Ribeiro will see a lot of familiar faces when the Washington Capitals visit his new home in Arizona on Saturday night.

But one of Ribeiro’s new friends on the Phoenix Coyotes will be missing.

Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata, who has scored all six of his goals this season in his team’s first seven home games, sustained a lower-body injury early in Phoenix’s 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. He skated briefly at an optional workout Saturday morning but will miss his first game of the season against Alex Ovechkin and the surging Capitals.

Ribeiro was traded from Dallas to Washington in June of 2012 and had 49 points in 48 games for the Capitals in the shortened 2012-13 season. He couldn’t agree on a new deal in Washington and was snapped up by the Coyotes on the first day of free agency with a four-year, $22 million contract.

"It will be a fun game to play against my old teammates," Ribeiro said. "I was traded, I had no choice to go there. But it was great to be part of a team with players like [Nicklas Backstrom] and [Mike] Green and [Ovechkin] and live in D.C. for a year. But it was great to come here and get out in the sun a little more."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.05.2013 / 3:12 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes after improvement despite fast start

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes are off to their best start in more than a decade, but even with a four-game winning streak and the NHL's most potent defense, coach Dave Tippett is still tinkering with his lineup and looking for more production.

After allowing 50 shots and needing 48 saves from goalie Mike Smith to pull out a 3-2 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, Tippett juggled his defense pairings at the morning skate Tuesday, splitting up Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zbynek Michalek for the first time this season.

Turnovers and defensive zone coverage remain a concern for the Coyotes, who have allowed 46 goals in their first 15 games and been forced to come from behind in several of them. The Coyotes face the equally hot Vancouver Canucks in another big Pacific Division matchup Tuesday at Jobing.com Arena.


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Posted On Thursday, 10.31.2013 / 3:56 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes surviving injuries, aim for homestand sweep

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes have done a lot of lineup juggling and player shuffling thanks to sickness, injuries and suspensions early in the season. But the results have them sitting right in the thick of the NHL’s toughest division and playing especially tough at home.

The Coyotes will shoot for a three-game homestand sweep against the Nashville Predators on Thursday at Jobing.com Arena, where they are 5-0-1 this season as part of an 8-3-2 start.

The Coyotes will get back Lauri Korpikoski, who missed the last three games with an upper-body injury. But Phoenix will still be without defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body), center Jeff Halpern and center Martin Hanzal, who completes his two-game suspension for a charging offense against the Edmonton Oilers' Jeff Petry on Saturday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.29.2013 / 3:40 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Banged-up Coyotes now deal with Hanzal's absence

GLENDALE Ariz. -- For a number of reasons, Martin Hanzal's two-game suspension could not have come at a worse time for the Phoenix Coyotes as they host the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday.

Hanzal, a repeat offender under the NHL's disciplinary system, will miss the game against the Kings and Thursday against the Nashville Predators after charging Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry in a 5-4 comeback victory on Saturday.

The Coyotes are banged up and Hanzal is one of four regulars who will miss the game. Forwards Lauri Korpikoski and Jeff Halpern are injured, as well as defenseman Rostislav Klesla. The two-game break might actually be beneficial to Hanzal, who has been banged up for more than a week himself, but the Coyotes will certainly miss him.


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Posted On Saturday, 10.26.2013 / 10:35 AM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers' LaBarbera to start against former team

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Boyd Gordon and Jason LaBarbera, two former Phoenix Coyotes players who signed as free agents with the Edmonton Oilers during the summer, return to Arizona Saturday as the Oilers visit for a rare Saturday matinee.

LaBarbera will get the start against his old team. He spent four years backing up Ilya Bryzgalov and Mike Smith in Phoenix, going 22-26-9 in that span. He’s 1-2-0 this year in four appearances. The Coyotes lost Gordon when they signed Mike Ribeiro to a long-term deal, but Gordon’s faceoff ability and penalty killing prowess is missed.

The Coyotes will play without defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who suffered a lower-body injury early in a 7-4 road loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. The Coyotes had their seven-game points streak snapped (5-0-2) despite rallying from 4-0 down to tie the game in the third period.

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley