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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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Posted On Tuesday, 10.22.2013 / 4:40 PM

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

Coyotes captain Doan won't play vs. Flames

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will be without their captain Tuesday.

Alberta native Shane Doan, who sustained a lower-body injury in 5-2 win Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings, skated only briefly at an optional morning skate Tuesday and won't play Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena.

Doan skated briefly at an optional practice Monday and came off the ice looking disappointed. In anticipation of Doan's probable absence, the Coyotes recalled Brandon Yip from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League to add an extra forward to the roster. Center Tim Kennedy was sent back to the AHL.

A notoriously slow starter, Doan has one goal and three points in the first nine games this season.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 4:08 PM

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

Kronwall out, but Howard returns for Red Wings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -– For two teams that have played 25 times during the past four seasons, to be done with each other just three weeks into the season is a bit strange.

Western Conference foes and playoff opponents twice in the last four years, the Phoenix Coyotes host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday for the one and only time in Arizona. It's the second game in nine days between the two teams, but with Detroit now in the Eastern Conference, that's it unless the two teams meet in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Coyotes beat the Red Wings 4-2 on Oct. 10, snapping a two-game road losing streak. That win also began their current streak of five straight games with at least one point (3-0-2).

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.15.2013 / 5:28 PM

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

Senators' Turris has moved on from time with Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Turris has been back to Arizona once since being traded to the Ottawa Senators, but he doesn't expect the reception to be much different than the last time he returned to town when the Senators play the finale of a six-game season-opening road trip Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Taken by the Coyotes with the third pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, Turris played three NHL games in 2007-08 after his freshman season at college finished, and then had 20 points in 63 games in 2008-09. He spent two of the next three seasons in the minors, and after a difficult contract negotiation and complaints by Turris about the restrictive coaching style of Dave Tippett, his ice time and playing partners, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney opted to trade Turris on Dec. 17, 2011.

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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic