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Posted On Saturday, 02.16.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes shake up lines in order to find offense

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Columbus Blue Jackets lost center Artem Anisimov early in the second period of Friday’s 2-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings, but coach Todd Richards said the injury was just a bruise. Anisimov was walking without a limp and without a boot after the game and may be able to play Saturday.

Defenseman James Wisniewski remains away from the team to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter. Steve Mason is expected to be in the net tonight.

For the Phoenix Coyotes, Derek Morris is day-to-day with an upper-body injury he aggravated in the first period of Thursday’s 3-0 loss at the Nashville Predators. Coach Dave Tippett said center Matthew Lombardi, out since the second week of the season, could be ready to go as early as Monday against the Calgary Flames.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 2:48 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Torres faces Blackhawks for first time since hit

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks have already played this season, but this is the first time that Raffi Torres and Marian Hossa have shared the ice since Torres ended their seasons with an illegal hit to Hossa's head in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Playoff series last spring.

Hossa spent months recovering from the hit, while Torres was suspended for 25 games -- later reduced to 21 -- for the transgression. This is Torres' third game back after the suspension and he has vowed to change his reckless ways on the ice after being suspended or fined six times in his career.

"We have to protect the top players in the League, and if it's going to take me kind of thinking out there instead of running around with my head cut off, then that's what it’s going to take," said Torres, who called Hossa to apologize for the hit. "At the end of the day, I need to keep playing. This is what I do, and if I want to keep playing I'm going to have to change my way."

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Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 6:16 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wild's Coyle to make NHL debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Minnesota Wild will have a slightly different look when they take the ice Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Hours after the team traded Darroll Powe to the New York Rangers, rookie Charlie Coyle will make his NHL debut. A 2010 first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks acquired by the Wild as part of the Brent Burns trade, had 14 goals and 24 points in 44 games with the Wild's American Hockey League team, the Houston Aeros.

Here is where Coyle fits into the Wild lineup tonight:

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Matt Cullen - Charlie Coyle

Cal Clutterbuck - Kyle Brodziak - Torrey Mitchell

Mikael Granlund - Zenon Konopka - Devin Setoguchi

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner - Tom Gilbert

Marco Scandella - Justin Falk

Niklas Backstrom

Josh Harding

Scratched: Matt Kassian, Nate Prosser

Injured: Jared Spurgeon

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Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 2:38 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sullivan returning to Coyotes' lineup

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For the third straight game, the Phoenix Coyotes will be welcoming back a key player for Monday's game with the Minnesota Wild at Jobing.com Arena.

After getting goalie Mike Smith and center Martin Hanzal back for Friday's overtime loss in Dallas and Raffi Torres back prior to Saturday's win against the Stars in Arizona, forward and leading goal-scorer Steve Sullivan will return after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury.

Sullivan will be playing with Antoine Vermette and Shane Doan and will allow coach Dave Tippett to put one of his top lines back in place.

Defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) and forward Matthew Lombardi (shoulder) are the only Coyotes still out with injuries. Both were on the ice taking part in limited practice Monday. Klesla is day-to-day, while Lombardi could take a bit longer. However, the hope is he will be able to return by the end of the month.

The Coyotes have points in four straight games (2-0-2) and can even their record at 4-4-2 after a 1-4-0 start. Here is the lineup they'll likely use in their attempt to continue their strong play:

Steve Sullivan - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Nick Johnson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette, Alexandre Bolduc, David Rundblad

Injured: Rostislav Klesla, Matthew Lombardi

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Posted On Saturday, 02.02.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Whitney's return to Phoenix delayed

Glendale, AZ -- Phoenix Coyote fans anticipating Ray Whitney's return to the desert will be disappointed. Whitney, who has been battling a foot injury for the past week, was placed on injured reserve after Friday’s contest and will miss at least four games.

The Coyotes have called up Reilly Smith from Texas of the American Hockey League to replace Whitney. Smith should slide into Whitney’s spot alongside Cody Eakin and Michael Ryder and will be facing off against Coyotes call-up Andy Miele, a teammate of Smith's at the University of Miami.

The Stars may go with Richard Bachman in goal tonight to change their luck in the finales of back-to-back games. Since last season, the Stars are 1-13-2 in the second half of back-to-backs, including 0-2-0 this year.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.02.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Torres set to return for Coyotes

Glendale, AZ -- For the first time since his hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa in last year’s playoffs, Raffi Torres will be back on the ice for the Coyotes tonight. Following that hit, Torres was suspended for the first eight games of this season along with 13 playoff games. Now that he's back in the lineup, his energy will be a welcome addition to a Phoenix team that has limped to a 2-4-2 start.

“I'm excited (to play), it's been quite a long time,” Torres said. “I just want to be out there helping the boys out.”

Torres knows that, as a repeat offender when it comes to suspensions, he needs to alter his game. Coach Dave Tippett has spent extended time reviewing film with the wing, who scored 15 goals last season. The goal of these video sessions is to emphasize how Torres can maintain his aggressive edge while curbing the type of hits that cause controversy.

“A bunch (of the video clips) were me running out of position to make a big hit. It's got to be non-existent this year. I can't be running out of position, giving up my man in order to throw a big hit," Torres said. "(Tippett) showed me a bunch of clips where I was thinking puck first and hit second and it worked out, where I got a lot of scoring chances out of it. It's just a matter of me controlling my emotions throughout the game.”

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 9:54 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes' Sullivan out with lower-body injury

Steve Sullivan
Left Wing - PHX
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 5
SOG: 10 | +/-: -3
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix left wing Steve Sullivan, who leads the team with four goals in the first six games, is the latest Coyote to join the injured list.

Sullivan did not skate Wednesday morning and will sit out the game with the Edmonton Oilers with a lower-body injury. He one of five major cogs who will miss the game, along with goalie Mike Smith (groin), center Martin Hanzal (lower body) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) and winger Raffi Torres -- who still has two games left on his suspension dating back to last year's playoffs.

The Coyotes have only 11 healthy forwards for the game and will dress seven defensemen against the Oilers.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.30.2013 / 2:20 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Oilers, Coyotes

Here are the projected lineups for Wednesday night's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers practiced at a separate site than the Coyotes, so their lines are an estimate based off their game Monday against the Avalanche.

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Lennart Petrell

Teemu Hartikainen - Eric Belanger - Magnus Paajarvi

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Justin Schultz

Ryan Whitney - Corey Potter

Devan Dubnyk

Nikolai Khabibulin

Scratches: Darcy Hordichuk, Mark Fistric

COYOTES

Steve Sullivan - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Mikkel Boedker - Alexandre Bolduc - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Nick Johnson - Kyle Chipchura - Paul Bissonnette

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Chad Johnson

Jason LaBarbera

Scratches: David Rundblad

Injuries: Mike Smith (lower body), Rostislav Klesla (lower body), Martin Hanzal (lower body)

Hanzal and Klesla, game-time decisions Monday against the Predators, were unable to go in that game and were not on the ice at all Wednesday.

On the other hand, Smith, who is recovering from a groin injury suffered in warm-ups prior to the Jan. 23 game against the Blue Jackets, was able to practice fully and even stayed on the ice late with goalie coach Sean Burke for extra work. There is optimism he will be able to start on Friday when the Coyotes open a home-and-home against the Stars.

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett will go with Chad Johnson again Wednesday after he picked up his first career shutout against Nashville. Tippett said one of the big reasons for sticking with Johnson over veteran Jason LaBarbera is the amount of work Johnson had in the AHL this season, getting himself into a good rhythm.

Tippett added that he would like to see more communication on the ice between his top defensive pair of Michalek and Ekman-Larsson. Expected to be the team's shutdown pairing, both players are known to be quiet in nature, and Tippett would like to see them be more vocal on the ice.

Also, suspended forward Raffi Torres will be eligible to return Saturday night against Dallas. Torres has been skating fully and is expected to play once he becomes eligible.

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Posted On Monday, 01.28.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Predators, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups could look Monday night when the Phoenix Coyotes host the Nashville Predators:

PREDATORS

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat

Gabriel BourqueDavid LegwandSergei Kostitsyn

Nick SpalingPaul GaustadBrandon Yip

Rich Clune -- Craig SmithMatt Halischuk

Roman Josi -- Shea Weber

Scott Hannan -- Ryan Ellis

Hal GillKevin Klein

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Scratches – Jonathon Blum, Brian McGrattan

Injuries – Patric Hornqvist (lower body)

The Predators being without Hornqvist will force some shifting of the lines. Kostitsyn takes over for Hornqvist on the second line.

COYOTES

Steve SullivanAntoine VermetteShane Doan

Mikkel BoedkerMartin HanzalRadim Vrbata

Lauri KorpikoskiBoyd GordonDavid Moss

Alexandre BolducKyle ChipchuraNick Johnson

Zbynek Michalek – Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith YandleDerek Morris

David SchlemkoMichael Stone

Chad Johnson

Jason LaBarbera

Scratches – Paul Bissonnette. Mike Smith

Injuries – Matthew Lombardi (upper, IR), Rostislav Klesla (lower IR), Smith (lower)

With Mike Smith still out with an upper-body injury and LaBarbera ineffective in losses to San Jose and Los Angeles, Johnson will make his Coyotes debut in goal tonight against the Predators.

Johnson has appeared in six NHL games with the New York Rangers from 2009-11, starting once against the Coyotes on Jan. 30, 2010, in Glendale and taking the loss to LaBarbera, 3-2.

In 24 games with Portland of the American Hockey League, Johnson was this year 14-8-2 record with a 2.80 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Smith returned to the ice on his own Sunday and did the same on Monday. He remains day-to-day with no timetable for his return.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:29 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hanzal back for Coyotes against Kings

Here is the projected lineup for the Phoenix Coyotes, who will welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night:

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Alexandre Bouldoc - Nick Johnson - Paul Bissonette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Milan Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Jason Labarbera

Chad Johnson

Scratched: David Rundblad

Suspended: Raffi Torres

Injured: Mike Smith, Matthew Lombardi, Rostislav Klesla

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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players