Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
2014 NHL Draft
SHARE
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 3:34 PM

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

Coyotes end season against playoff-bound Stars

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The game was circled as a possible winner-take-all showdown in the fight for the final Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But the Dallas Stars punched their postseason ticket Friday night with a win against the St. Louis Blues and the Phoenix Coyotes have nothing to play for in their season finale Sunday but pride.

The Coyotes lost their seventh straight game Saturday, 3-2 to the playoff-bound San Jose Sharks. Phoenix was five points ahead of the Stars with eight games to play before scoring nine goals in a 0-4-3 tailspin that will leave them out of the postseason for a second straight year.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 4:19 PM

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

Visentin set for NHL debut in net for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention and the San Jose Sharks are locked into postseason position. That will make for plenty of lineup flexibility as the Coyotes open a season-ending two-game homestand against the Sharks Saturday.

The Coyotes sat and watched the Dallas Stars eliminate them Friday with a 3-0 win against the St. Louis Blues. Phoenix has lost six straight games (0-3-3) including a 2-0 loss Thursday against the Nashville Predators that cost the Coyotes control of their destiny.

"You've got to go out there, play games and play well. We're going to put some young players in and give them some experience, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "It's very disappointing, the situation that we're in. We're going to have to go out there and try to get better.

The changes will begin in goal. Top prospect Mark Visentin will make his NHL debut Saturday. He has been serving as the backup to Thomas Greiss since starter Mike Smith went down with a knee injury Mar. 24. Tippett said that Smith, who has been practicing with the aid of a knee brace in hopes of returning, is now done for the season.

"He's got a great attitude, he works hard and we're going to give him a chance to play tonight," Tippett said of Visentin. "He's prepared well he's had a lot of practice time with (goalie coach Sean Burke) and I think he'll go on there and play well for us."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 4:29 PM

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

Coyotes focused on taking care of business

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes continue to get some help from those around them in the Western Conference wild-card race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Sooner or later, though, they're going to have to help themselves.

The Coyotes remain even in points with the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot despite collecting one point in the past three games. They return home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Friday with two goal in the past three games and in need of a win, as much for their self-confidence as their place in the standings.

The Stars lost 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and hold a game in hand. Phoenix and Dallas will meet in the final game of the season April 13 here.

"We have to take care of ourselves," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "You watch other scores and everyone knows what's going on, but it's meaningless if you don't take care of your own business. You have to keep your fate in your own hands."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 3:52 PM

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

Coyotes' Moss game-time decision against Jets

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes forward David Moss took part in an optional skate Tuesday morning and coach Dave Tippett said Moss will be a game-time decision Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

Moss sustained an ankle injury against the New Jersey Devils on March 27 and missed the 3-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. If Moss can't play, Tippett will likely stick with the same lineup up front and play center Mike Ribeiro, who has been a healthy scratch in two of the past three games.

Goalie Mike Smith skated on Monday for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury on March 24 and was back on the ice in full equipment Tuesday before the team skate. Smith was able to do some side-to-side drills in the net and Tippett was happy to see his No. 1 goaltender back on the ice. Smith is to be re-evaluated on Friday and his status has not changed.

"He continues to move along like we'd hoped," Tippett said.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 2:56 PM

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

Coyotes' Smith to be re-evaluated next week

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith won't be on the ice to test his lower-body injury until at least the end of next week, but coach Dave Tippett is hoping he will be able to return to the lineup before the end of the regular season.

Smith, who was injured late in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Monday, is back to working out off the ice and will have his injury re-evaluated at the end of the week.

Tippett said he was very optimistic Smith would return before the end of the season. The Coyotes have eight games remaining, including Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.

Goalie Thomas Greiss will make his third straight start against the Wild. The teams hold the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and are separated by one point.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 4:14 PM

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

Coyotes keep riding goaltender Smith in playoff chase

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the Phoenix Coyotes are going to regroup and squeeze their way into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, goaltender Mike Smith is going to have to regain the form that carried them to the Western Conference Final in 2012.

For the past 15 games, Smith has looked the part. After half a season of inconsistent and frustrating play, Smith has a 1.86 goals-against average and .937 save percentage since Feb. 7 and the Coyotes have responded with seven wins in their past nine games. They now occupy the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Smith will celebrate his 32nd birthday and make his NHL-leading 61st start Saturday against the Boston Bruins. Boston has won 11 straight games and became the first team to top 100 points and clinch a playoff spot when they beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Friday.

"I don't think I'd be playing so much if the games weren't so important," said Smith, who has played more minutes and made more saves than any other goalie. "I like to play a lot, especially when you're playing good. You want to be helping the team win games. It's just in our blood, I guess. Once you get into the season, 60 starts is just a number. The body is feeling good now and hopefully I keep feeling well."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 3:28 PM

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

Erat's return lets Coyotes assemble all-Czech line

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes finally will have the all-Czech line they envisioned when they acquired forward Martin Erat prior to the NHL Trade Deadline healthy and together when they play against the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

Erat, center Martin Hanzal and right wing Radim Vrbata all took part in practice Wednesday for the first time since Phoenix traded for Erat on March 4. Hanzal was out with a lower-body injury at the time of the trade. By the time he returned, Erat had sustained a head injury.

Now the trio is intact, allowing Coyotes coach Dave Tippett to shuffle the lines in search of more offensive punch. Hanzal was a physical force in his return to the lineup, a 4-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, which moved Phoenix past the Dallas Stars into the second wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.

Tippett warned against expectations of instant chemistry.

"Let's get the line out there, see how they work out," he said. "Obviously they understand each other and understand how they play. But sometimes it takes a while to get going."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 4:09 PM

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

Coyotes could be without defenseman Michalek

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek was unable to take part in the morning skate but coach Dave Tippett is hoping he will be able to play against the Calgary Flames on Saturday .

"If he can find a way to play, he'll play," Tippett said

Michalek took a shot off the lower body in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. With David Schlemko in a walking boot after blocking a shot last week, the Coyotes will play rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley against the Flames if Michalek can't.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:10 PM

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

Coyotes counting on Erat to provide spark

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Erat has scored one goal this season and news of his acquisition at the NHL Trade Deadline barely registered around the League compared to some of the other big names changing addresses Wednesday.

But the Coyotes are hoping that adding Erat from the Washington Capitals will have a ripple effect when the team makes a final push for a Western Conference playoff spot. That push begins Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes had an optional skate Thursday and coach Dave Tippett wouldn't say who he plans to play Erat with in his Phoenix debut. That might depend on whether center Martin Hanzal, who missed the 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and hasn't skated since, can play against Montreal.

Erat would make sense as a partner for fellow Czech forwards Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. The players know each other well, and Erat's pass-first mentality (23 assists) would give Hanzal and Vrbata the element they have been missing since Ray Whitney left as a free agent after the 2011-12 season.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 6:01 PM

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

Miller, Ott to make Blues debuts vs. Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ryan Miller is 6-1-1 lifetime against the Phoenix Coyotes with a 1.15 goals-against average. He's already beaten them twice this season and that was with the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

Miller and veteran Steve Ott make their respective debuts with the St. Louis Blues on Sunday and Miller will again face the Coyotes. But he's going to need a little help from his new teammates to complete the hat trick against Phoenix.

The Blues weren't shut out for the first 57 games of the regular season, but back-to-back 1-0 losses to the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks coming out of the break have them searching for offense.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, however, isn't looking to change much other than a little luck.

"I think the concern for us is getting a reward for playing well," he said. "We've come out of the gate and played two really good hockey games and got no reward for it. I think we want to start getting a reward."


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 10:21 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

'Miracle on Ice' team members salute 2014 Olympians

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 15 members of the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes who will take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics were given a rousing sendoff at Jobing.com Arena on Friday, with 10 members of the 1980 United States "Miracle on Ice" team leading the way.

Beginning with Kurt Russell's recreation of coach Herb Brooks' famous USA-Soviet Union pregame speech from the movie "Miracle" and continuing with Aerosmith's iconic "Dream On," 10 members of the gold medal winning team were introduced to a sellout crowd that recreated the "U-S-A!, U-S-A!" chant that echoed through the mountains of Lake Placid 34 years ago.

The 10 team members, Beginning with sniper Neal Broten and ending with captain Mike Eruzione, donned their red, white and blue jerseys again and lined up at center ice before the five Phoenix and 10 Chicago Olympians were introduced to the crowd. Broten and Eruzione were joined by Steve Janaszak, Rob McClanahan, Ken Morrow, Buzz Schneider, Dave Silk, Bob Suter, Phil Verchota and Mark Wells.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 8:56 PM

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

Hanzal to sit out for Coyotes due to illness

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will be without center Martin Hanzal for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night due to illness.

Hanzal, who has 14 goals and 36 points this season and is a key defensive player and penalty killer, did not take part in the pregame skate. This is the sixth game Hanzal has missed this season due to suspension, injury or illness.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 3:02 PM

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

Blackhawks minus Kane, Oduya against Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two of the 10 Chicago Blackhawks headed to the 2014 Sochi Olympics won't be in the lineup when the team ends a six-game road trip and the pre-Olympic portion of its schedule Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

U.S. Olympian Patrick Kane, the team's leading scorer with 63 points, will miss his second straight game as he attends the funeral of his grandfather in Buffalo. Defenseman Johnny Oduya, who will play for Sweden in Sochi, will miss his second game with a lower-body injury.

Without those two players the Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-0 on Wednesday to improve to 3-0-2 on the trip. Corey Crawford, coming off his first shutout of the season, will be in goal as the Blackhawks attempt to jump ahead of the slumping Ducks and back atop the Western Conference standings.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 4:03 PM

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

Ribeiro reunion comes as Stars, Coyotes need points

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's been nearly two years since the Dallas Stars traded Mike Ribeiro to the Washington Capitals, signaling a youth movement in Texas and giving Alex Ovechkin a set-up man in D.C.

Riberio and the Stars haven't seen each other since. Dallas and Washington didn't play in the shortened 2012-13 season. Riberio signed with the Phoenix Coyotes as a free agent in the summer of 2013, but the Stars moved out of the Pacific Division and the number of games between the teams was reduced to three.

The first encounter comes Tuesday at Jobing.com Arena, and there is a lot more than a reunion to talk about.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 02.01.2014 / 1:35 PM

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

Struggling Coyotes look to rebound against Penguins

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Two days after a frustrating loss at the hands of the team with the NHL's worst record, the Phoenix Coyotes have to try to regroup against the best the East has to offer.

Still on the outside looking in at a Western Conference playoff spot, the struggling Coyotes meet the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday. Phoenix is now 10-7-3 against the East after a 3-2 regulation loss against the Buffalo Sabres Thursday.

With a golden opportunity to gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race, the Coyotes lost to the Sabres for the second time in five weeks and were a frustrated group afterward. Phoenix captain Shane Doan called out himself and his teammates, saying it was more than a matter of playing to the level of competition.

"I don't even know what our level is because we're barely above average right now, if average," Doan said after the Coyotes lost Thursday. "It's not acceptable. Not even close."

Both teams will have their starters in goal tonight.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 2:31 PM

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

Vermette earning rave reviews as Coyotes' MVP

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Phoenix Coyotes center Antoine Vermette celebrated the return to his old stomping grounds with a Dec. 21 hat trick against the Ottawa Senators, he hoped it would be the catalyst to a hot streak.

The hot streak did come, but there was a delayed reaction.

After his three goals in Ottawa, Vermette went 11 games without a goal and had one assist during that span. With captain Shane Doan still not 100 percent and the Coyotes scrounging for goals, his cold snap was reflective of their offensive struggles.

But since scoring the only goal in a clutch 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 16, Vermette has had the hot stick the Coyotes need as they try to fight back into Western Conference playoff position. He added a second hat trick this season in an overtime loss to the Canucks on Jan. 26 and scored his seventh goal in the past seven games in a big 3-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 3:26 PM

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

Coyotes' Greiss to give Smith a break in net

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With starter Mike Smith still searching to find his form, the Phoenix Coyotes will go with backup Thomas Greiss in goal when they open a crucial five-game homestand against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

Smith played in all three games of a 1-1-1 Western Canada road trip and had his struggles in a wild 5-4 overtime loss Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Coyotes have allowed 156 non-shootout goals in 52 games this season (3.00 per game). Only the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have allowed more in the Western Conference.

Greiss hasn't played since Jan. 11 when he allowed four goals on 23 shots and was lifted in the second period of a 5-3 home loss against the Anaheim Ducks. In 12 games he is 6-3-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and one shutout, which he recorded Jan. 7 against the Calgary Flames.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 01.20.2014 / 7:58 PM

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

Coyotes' Hanzal out vs. Maple Leafs with injury

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, who is tied for the team lead with 14 goals, will not play against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday due to a lower-body injury.

Hanzal, who had the game-winning goal and an assist in the Coyotes' 3-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, has missed three straight morning skates, but he was able to play Thursday in a 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks and Saturday against the Devils.

Tim Kennedy will center the second line for Phoenix, between Radim Vrbata and Lauri Korpikoski. Rob Klinkhammer returns to the Phoenix lineup after sitting the past two games as a healthy scratch.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 01.20.2014 / 2:16 PM

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

Coyotes' Szwarz rebounds after stint in minors

GLENDALE, Ariz. – A return to the minor leagues after a player's first shot at the NHL can be a deflating experience that results in a lingering negative effect.

But Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said forward Jordan Szwarz took his recent six-game trip to the Portland Pirates with the right mindset. He worked on the areas of his game that required improvement and prepared for a return trip to the NHL. He's getting rewarded for it since coming back to the Coyotes.

Szwarz was part of a fourth line that produced two goals in a 3-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Szwarz scored his third League goal and required 11 stitches in the second period after Reid Boucher's skate blade cut his chin.

"When guys get their first taste and then they go back to the minors, it's tough. But when they come back they're a different player," Tippett said. "It's all part of the process. You just have to take it the right way."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 2:54 PM

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

Coyotes' Yandle looking to build on strong effort

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes have a power-play goal in each of the past six games and havingKeith Yandle on the point is a key component.

Not just for his shot or his passes, but for his goaltending as well.

Time and again this season Yandle had made acrobatic "saves" to thwart an enemy clearing attempt, sometimes going into a vertical dive like a baseball shortstop knocking down a hard hit ground ball.

Yandle had another key keep-in Thursday leading to an Antoine Vermette power-play goal in the first period. It turned out to be the difference in a 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 3:50 PM

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

Michalek back in Coyotes lineup against Canucks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes remain stuck in a January funk, but they will have all hands on deck for the first time in months when they face the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, out since Dec. 17 with a hip injury, will return to the lineup and give the Coyotes some much-needed stability. Michalek had played in four games since Nov. 14, and his shot-blocking and penalty-killing abilities have been missed by a Phoenix team that has gone 7-12-5 since mid-November after starting the season 14-4-4.

That was about the time Michalek first was injured.

"It's been a very frustrating season for me," Michalek said. "I'm happy to be back. I've been working very hard to get back in the lineup and I hope I can contribute to the lineup."

To make room on the roster the Coyotes place veteran defenseman Rostislav Klesla on waivers for the second time this season.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 2:28 PM

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

Coyotes' Smith 'needs some work with his game'

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Mike Smith continues to struggle between the pipes and Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will sit his No. 1 goaltender in favor of backup Thomas Greiss for the second time in three games Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Smith was named to Canada's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics this week, but on the ice things aren't going well. He stopped 25 of 28 shots in a 4-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, and the game-winning goal by Kyle Brodziak was one Smith would like to have back.

"[Smith] needs some work with his game and [goalie coach Sean Burke] wanted to work with him for a couple days," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Greiss has played very well lately, so we're going to him tonight and we'll see if we can get a win."

The Wild jumped past Phoenix into the final Western Conference playoff spot Thursday but Tippett said he doesn't regret going with his struggling goalie. Smith has one win in his last nine decisions (1-5-3) and he has three wins in his last 17 starts. His goals-against average has risen to 2.90 and he hasn't given the Coyotes the consistent play they crave in net.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 3:23 PM

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

Coyotes get Ekman-Larsson back, lose Chipchura

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's one step forward, one step back when it comes to the Phoenix Coyotes' injury situation.

The Coyotes will have defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson back in the lineup Thursday for an important game against the Minnesota Wild. Ekman-Larsson missed the past two games after a hit from behind by Derek MacKenzie of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 2. MacKenzie was suspended for three games for the hit, which led to an upper-body injury.

"We missed his smarts and puck movement and he will bring some energy. He's a top player for us," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "It was interesting in practice [Wednesday], it looked like the rest has done him some good. He has a lot of energy and you could tell before the injury that it was down a little bit. We rely on that a lot."

As Ekman-Larsson returns, Phoenix will be without center Kyle Chipchura against the Wild. Chipchura sustained a lower-body injury during a 6-0 win Tuesday against the Calgary Flames and will miss his first game this season. Tim Kennedy, a healthy scratch for the past two games, will replace Chipchura on the fourth line.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Selection by Canada overwhelming for Coyotes' Smith

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Mike Smith woke up Tuesday morning, there were already two Canadian Olympians in his house.

It took less than 10 minutes for that number to increase.

With his wife and 2010 Canadian Olympic skier Brigitte (Acton) Smith and mother-in-law, 1972 Olympian Diane Pratte looking on, Smith took a phone call from Team Canada Associate Director of Player Personnel Doug Armstrong. When the tears on his face converged with the ear-to-ear smile, everyone knew he had been selected to join Carey Price and Roberto Luongo as the goaltenders for Canada for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I was trying to hold back the tears," said Smith, whose eyes told all that he failed in that attempt. "Brigette's family was there today. Her mother skied in the Olympics and Brigette skied in the Olympics. The grandparents were there and were saying in their cute little French voices, 'Now there are three Olympians in the house.'

"The whole thing is pretty surreal to me."


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:09 PM

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

Coyotes turn to Greiss against Flames

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes are sending five players to the 2014 Sochi Olympics next month, but three of them will not be in the lineup Tuesday when they face the Calgary Flames.

Goalie Mike Smith, who was named to Canada's team Tuesday, will get the night off. Defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson, selected to Sweden's team Tuesday, and Zbynek Michalek (Czech Republic) remain out with injuries for the Coyotes, although both were on the ice Tuesday and are getting closer to playing.

Backup goalie Thomas Greiss, who is 5-2-1 with a 2.13 goals against average in 10 games, will make his seventh start of the season for the Coyotes, who have one win in their past six games (1-2-3).

But Phoenix coach Dave Tippett was clear that Smith, who is 1-4-3 in his past nine starts and saw his goals against average rise to 2.89 following a 5-3 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday, remains the No. 1 goaltender.

"We're not close to thinking about a change," Tippett said. "Not even close. I think he'll work through it. He wants to be a top goaltender and he knows he hasn't played to that level yet. But I think we can play better in front of him too."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 2:29 PM

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

Coyotes captain Doan returns, Ekman-Larsson sits

GLENDALE, Ariz. – For the first time in a month, the Phoenix Coyotes will have their captain in the lineup Saturday. And his team could use the boost as they play host to the Philadelphia Flyers at Jobing.com Arena.

Shane Doan remains Phoenix's leading goal scorer, despite missing the past 12 games with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, an ailment likely brought on by a tick bite. That shows how much the Coyotes, who were 4-3-5 during Doan's absence, missed the presence and firepower of their leader.

The Coyotes didn't have a morning skate so where Doan plays isn't known. But it's a good bet that he can help any line even as he works his way back into playing shape.

"It adds another top player to our group, but we have to be realistic in the expectations [for Saturday]," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "He's worked awful hard to get back but he's missed a month. We'll see how many minutes he'll play. It will be more about watching that asking."

"Before he went out we had some pretty good rhythm in our lines. Hopefully we can get that back."

Doan was happy after getting clearance from the doctors on Friday and doesn't want to waste any more time.

"I think my energy level is high enough to go. I've done enough that I'm not worried about that," Doan said Friday. "I want to play. We've been involved in so many tight games lately and it's hard to watch when you want to help out.

"I know I'm going to do as much as I can and go as hard as I can. I know I can contribute. I'll be a little rusty, but I've skated five or six times now and that's enough."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 3:40 PM

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

Horton to make Blue Jackets debut

GLENDALE Ariz. -- Nathan Horton's long-awaited debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets will come Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Horton signed a seven-year, $37.1 million contract with the Blue Jackets in July. He had shoulder surgery shortly after joining Columbus.

"[Wednesday] I couldn't sleep too well," Horton said. "I've been waiting so long to play. It'll be tough the first few games but I want to get out there and contribute.

"I couldn’t even skate on the ice because I was smiling the whole time. It’s been a long road. I can feel it now. I can taste it. I’m pretty comfortable. I’ve done as much as I can without playing a game. It’s going to be a little bit weird. I’m sure I’ll have some nerves but overall I'm just excited."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 3:22 PM

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

Coyotes' Doan off antibiotics, regaining strength

GLENDALE Ariz. – Shane Doan will end 2013 where he has spent almost all of December -- watching the Phoenix Coyotes from the sidelines.

But a return in 2014 is looking more and more likely each day.

After taking part in his first full practice Monday, Doan was strong enough to participate in the morning skate Tuesday. That's a sign the Coyotes captain is on the road to recovery from a bout with Rocky Mountain fever that has kept him out of the lineup since Dec. 4, and on his back for several weeks.

Doan won't play against the Edmonton Oilers and the timetable for his return is still undetermined, but he is off antibiotics and building his strength and wind. He returned to the ice last week and made the trip to Anaheim on Saturday, and the progress is noticeable. Following the Saturday skate, Doan slept for four hours in the afternoon to recharge.

Skating on back-to-back days is another hurdle cleared.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 2:53 PM

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

Schlemko back in for Coyotes with Klesla ill

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will have another change on their blue line when they host the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

Rostislav Klesla, who had played well in three games since being recalled from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, came to the morning skate not feeling well and was sent home. Defenseman David Schlemko skated with Michael Stone on Friday and will come off injured reserve to play against the Sharks.

Phoenix still is without defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who suffered a lower-body injury in Montreal during the 1-1-2 pre-Christmas road trip. Michalek is not back on the ice and continues to undergo tests that coach Dave Tippett said showed some positive signs.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 12.14.2013 / 2:08 PM

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

Klinkhammer hopes to keep scoring against Carolina

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer has a pair of two-goal games in his NHL career, and both are fresh in his mind.

One came Thursday, when Klinkhammer had a career-high three points in Phoenix's 6-3 win against the New York Islanders. The other came Oct. 13 when he scored twice in a win against the Carolina Hurricanes, who visit the Coyotes for a rematch in Arizona on Saturday.

Playing with offensive-minded center Mike Ribeiro, Klinkhammer has set career highs for goals (seven) and points (14), helping to keep the Phoenix offense humming of late while captain Shane Doan misses his fourth straight game with an illness the team is trying to diagnose.

"Anytime your team scores six goals it's great and if you get a couple of points it's even better," said the 27-year-old forward, who played 16 NHL games in stops with the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators before finding a home with the Coyotes.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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).

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 3:37 PM

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

Coyotes aim to rediscover consistency

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the Phoenix Coyotes, the 2012-13 hurry-up-and-get-ready shortened season was a nightmare scenario for a team that relies on system play and good goaltending.

But in 2013-14, the Coyotes not only have had a full training camp to get veterans ready and see young players step into the lineup, they are one of the last teams to open the regular season, as they host the New York Rangers on Thursday at Jobing.com Arena.

"We have to be a real consistent team and we've had a good chance to build those habits in camp," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Our last preseason game [a win against San Jose last Friday] was a good example of where we need to be and a good blueprint for how we need to play. That was a shortcoming last year and we're aware of how it affected us. We don't want to miss the playoffs again."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 4:33 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Coyotes GM not happy with absent Ekman-Larsson

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney was happy that the long-awaited first day of training camp arrived Wednesday with player physicals at Jobing.com Arena.

But the fact that one of the team's top players, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, was not in Arizona made for some furrowed brows and head-shaking.

Ekman-Larsson apparently forgot to get his immigration papers in order in time for training camp. He is working on his visa, but will miss at least a few days and Maloney indicated there would be some action, possibly a fine assessed for the oversight.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 04.26.2013 / 3:30 PM

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

Giguere in net as Avalanche face Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are the lineups for the Phoenix Coyotes' regular season home finale against the Colorado Avalanche. Rob Klinkhammer will be back in the lineup for Phoenix after missing Wednesday's 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks with an upper-body injury.

Colorado will be without Milan Hejduk, who will sit out Friday before playing what could be his final game with the Avalanche on Saturday in Denver. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get the start in goal.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 3:06 PM

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

Punchless offense has Coyotes facing elimination

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes are all but mathematically eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the most important number that led to their fate is zero.

Zero goals. Zero offense. Zero chance.

The Coyotes were shut out for the ninth time this season -- and the seventh time in 23 road games -- in a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday that slammed the door on their last realistic path to the playoffs. That game looked an awful lot like the game that reduced their postseason chances to long-shot status, a 4-0 home loss to the San Jose Sharks nine days ago.

San Jose and Phoenix meet again Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena, but with a lot less on the line.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 04.15.2013 / 3:14 PM

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

Coyotes need wins now, starting with game vs. Sharks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes remain in control of their playoff destiny, but the grip on that control is getting looser and looser.

The Coyotes' 1-1-1 road trip to Western Canada left them alive in the playoff race but in need of a great finish -- likely 12 points out their final seven games -- beginning Monday night when they open a two-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes swept three games and all six points on their past homestand, and need to do the same against the Sharks and St. Louis Blues on Thursday to have any serious chance to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight year. Points in eight of the past nine games (5-1-3) have kept them afloat but even overtime losses aren't good enough anymore.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 3:34 PM

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

Smith returns to Coyotes crease

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes are going for a crucial sweep of their three-game homestand tonight, a cause that will be helped by the return of their No. 1 goalie between the pipes against the Colorado Avalanche.

Mike Smith, who hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury in a collision with Vancouver’s Alexander Edler on March 23, is back in the lineup as the Coyotes try to stay in the playoff hunt and extend their points streak to six games. Phoenix is 3-0-2 since a troubling stretch in which they lost six straight games.

“I expect him to play like a No. 1 goaltender,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said of Smith. “Last year, he missed a few games and when he came back we went on a run and we’re looking for the same thing to happen now.”

Smith hasn’t been the same goalie that led the Coyotes to the franchise’s first Western Conference Final berth last season. Four of his 11 wins are shutouts, but his 2.83 goals-against average and .901 save percentage are a shadow of last season’s 2.21 and .930 numbers.

Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Coyotes gutted out a 4-2 win despite having more than half a dozen players dealing with a nasty flu bug. It’s still running through the team and defensemen Keith Yandle and David Schlemko were unable to skate Saturday morning due to the bug. Tippett said he expects both to be able to play Saturday.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 3:31 PM

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

Coyotes call up replacements after dealing forwards

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After trading away three forwards at the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, and still without wing Lauri Korpikoski, the Phoenix Coyotes will have a different look Thursday night when they face the Detroit Red Wings and try to keep their Stanley Cup Playoffs hopes alive.

Matthew Lombardi, Steve Sullivan and Raffi Torres were dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks, respectively, so the Coyotes have recalled forwards Chris Brown and Chris Conner to join Paul Bissonnette as replacements against the Red Wings.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 2:30 PM

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

Coyotes must make homestand count

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes haven't won three games in a row all season. But if they are going force themselves back into the Western Conference playoff conversation as the final month of the season begins, three home wins this week are all but mandatory.

It begins Tuesday against the surging Los Angeles Kings, who beat the Coyotes twice in Los Angeles during a seven-game losing streak that sent Phoenix's season spiraling south. Phoenix will host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and Colorado Avalanche on Saturday before playing seven of their final 10 on the road.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 03.25.2013 / 3:14 PM

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

Smith out, LaBarbera starts Monday for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the Phoenix Coyotes are going to snap a season-long five-game losing streak and beat the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, they will have to do it without their No. 1 goaltender.

Mike Smith was not on the ice for Monday's morning stake and hasn't been on the ice since being run by Vancouver's Alexander Edler in the second period of Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Canucks. Jason LaBarbera will make only his second start since Jan. 26, and he steps in at a big moment -- with the Coyotes fading in the Western Conference playoff race, having collected just one point in the last 12 days.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 4:23 PM

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

Coyotes hoping return home means return of offense

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Last Thursday the Coyotes departed Phoenix after a win against the Los Angeles Kings sitting in a playoff spot and scoring goals with regularity.

A week later, they return from a road trip where they went 0-3-1, were shut out three times and scored a total of two goals -- both by Shane Doan in a 3-2 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Now outside of the top eight and struggling, the Coyotes hope a little home cooking will help as they face the banged-up Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes went more than 245 minutes without a goal -- the longest drought in franchise history, and pushing Columbus to a shootout Saturday provided them with their only point on the trip. Even Doan's incredible effort against the Kings -- two goals and an NHL single-game high 13 hits -- could keep Los Angeles from sweeping back-to-back games and keeping the Coyotes desperate for a win.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 3:48 PM

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

Coyotes might be without Michalek against Kings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes blocked a season-high 30 shots in Saturday's 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars, but one of them came at a price.

Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who recorded eight of his 68 blocked shots Saturday, took one off the skate boot during a 5-on-3 Dallas power play and limped off in pain. He didn't practice Monday, skated briefly Tuesday morning and is questionable for Tuesday night's battle with the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes recalled Chris Summers from Portland of the American Hockey League and he will play if Michalek can't go. Defenseman David Schlemko, out since January with a shoulder injury, is close to returning but not ready yet, according to coach Dave Tippett.

The Coyotes might get back Matthew Lombardi, who missed the win over the Stars. He took part in the early part of the skate and will be a game-time decision. Either way it's a good bet that Portland call-up Rob Klinkhammer will stay in the lineup after his first NHL goal proved to be the game-winner against the Stars.

Mike Smith, off his best game in over a week, is back in goal for his 17th start in the past 18 games.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.09.2013 / 3:47 PM

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

Coyotes hope to end losing streak against Stars

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes look to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season Saturday against the Dallas Stars and will have a new face in the lineup with Rob Klinkhammer making his Phoenix debut in place of injured Matthew Lombardi. Klinkhammer has 14 goals and 44 points in 53 games with Portland of the American Hockey League.

Mike Smith will be back in goal. One of his three shutouts this season has come in Glendale against Dallas, a 2-0 blanking on Feb. 2. But Smilth has struggled mightily of late, allowing 18 goals in his past four starts and watching his goals-against average soar to 3.09 and his save percentage sink to .894.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 4:15 PM

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

Smith back in net vs. Allen as Coyotes oppose Blues

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes finally get to face another opponent after a unique three-game series with the Anaheim Ducks. After falling 2-0 Wednesday in Anaheim but getting four out of six points in the three games, the Coyotes face the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Goalie Mike Smith, who sat out for the first time in 16 games Wednesday in favor of Jason LaBarbera, will be back in goal. The Coyotes are hoping to have Radim Vrbata (lower body) back in the lineup either against St. Louis or Saturday against the Dallas Stars, and sent Chris Brown back to the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

The Blues will start Jake Allen in net coming off Tuesday's 6-4 loss at the Los Angeles Kings.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 03.04.2013 / 1:04 PM

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

Coyotes try to make it two straight over Ducks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a very wild, sloppy and spirited game Saturday that featured four ties, several tussles, lots of trash talk and a shootout, the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks will play the second of three straight games against each other tonight at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes prevailed Saturday for a 5-4 shootout win, with Steve Sullivan tying the game with 6:29 left in regulation and securing the extra point with the only goal of the shootout. The Ducks were playing back-to-back nights and for the fifth time in seven days, so the Coyotes are expecting an even bigger push from one of the NHL's elite teams tonight.

The teams meet again Wednesday in Anaheim.

"It's a little like a playoffs series," Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski said. "And you know they will have some rest and come back hard. We have to be ready."


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 2:22 PM

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

Coyotes have Brown, Klinkhammer at their disposal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With center Martin Hanzal and winger Radim Vrbata now on injured reserve, the Phoenix Coyotes called up forwards Chris Brown and Rob Klinkhammer from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

Either Brown or Klinkhammer could make their Phoenix debuts when they open a rare run of three straight games Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 1:44 PM

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

With Hanzal, Vrbata out, Coyotes shuffle lines

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes again will be without two of their top six forwards with Martin Hanzal (upper body) and Radim Vrbata (lower body) back on the ice Thursday, but not ready for a game.

Defenseman Derek Morris, who has missed the past two weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in a Feb. 14 loss to the Nashville Predators, will return to the lineup to partner with Keith Yandle.

With Hanzal and Vrbata out, coach Dave Tippett has continued to juggle his forwards. Shane Doan will start with Matthew Lombardi and Raffi Torres, with Lauri Korpikoski joining Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette. Steve Sullivan was with checkers Boyd Gordon and David Moss, and Paul Bissonnette, riding a career-high three-game point streak, sticks with the clicking line of Kyle Chipchura and Nick Johnson.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 2:13 PM

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

Vrbata joins Coyotes' list of injuries

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a week or so of decent health, the Phoenix Coyotes are back down to all hands on deck for Monday's game with the Calgary Flames.

Leading scorer Radim Vrbata is the latest to join the list of the sidelined, suffering an upper-body injury early in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Columbus. Defensemen Derek Morris and David Schlemko are also down and center Matthew Lombardi is close but not quite ready to return from his upper-body injury. That means all 18 healthy skaters will be in the lineup.

Phoenix is 6-2-2 over the last 10 games and has six wins in the last eight games. But the Coyotes don't play again until Saturday in Edmonton and a loss to the Flames would stay with them for awhile.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.”

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
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

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 9:59 PM

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

Hanzal, Klesla out with injuries for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes were without center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla for Wednesday's game with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Coyotes said both players are out with lower-body injuries.

Both players sat out Tuesday's practice following Sunday's 6-4 loss to Chicago, but both skated on Wednesday morning. Hanzal had a goal and two points in the first two games of the season. Klesla was scoreless and minus-3 in the two games.

Alexandre Bolduc replaced Hanzal, while Michael Stone made his season debut in place of Klesla. Phoenix is looking to avoid an 0-3-0 start against the Blue Jackets, who are 1-0-1 after two games.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 01.23.2013 / 2:27 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blue Jackets, Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are the projected lineups for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes when the teams meet Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena.

BLUE JACKETS

Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Vinny Prospal

RJ Umberger - Derick Brassard - Derek Dorsett

Matt Calvert - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - James Wisniewski

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin

John Moore - Adrian Aucoin

Steve Mason

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Derek MacKenzie

Letestu makes his first start of the season, in place of MacKenzie as the fourth line center. Atkinson jumps to the first line alongside Dubinsky and Anisimov, with Dorsett moving to a line with Umberger and Brassard.

COYOTES

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Matthew Lombardi - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Alexandre Bolduc, Michael Stone

Suspended: Raffi Torres

Smith stays in net as the Coyotes try to avoid a 0-3 start. The Phoenix offense has been fine (3.5 goals a game), but Smith and the turnover-prone Phoenix defense have allowed 10 goals in the first two games and has been the focus of coach Dave Tippett's practices the last two days. Tippett singled out defenseman Yandle for allowing three breakaways in Sunday's 6-4 loss to Chicago.

Hanzal, Sullivan and Klesla did not practice Tuesday. Sullivan was hit in the first period, and while he played in the second, he sat out the third. Tippett said there might be some game-time decisions, but was non-committal at the skate.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 2:54 PM

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

Saad set to replace injured Carcillo for Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks will try to spoil an opponents' banner-raising celebration for the second time in two nights Sunday when they meet the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz. The Blackhawks spoiled the Kings' Stanley Cup party Saturday in Los Angeles and will watch the Coyotes raise their Pacific Division banner -- the first in franchise history -- Sunday.

Chicago beat the Kings 5-2 but lost ex-Coyotes forward Daniel Carcillo -- he is expected to be out a month -- when he injured his right knee in the second period. Carcillo was lost for the 2011-12 season with a left knee injury that required surgery Jan. 17. Carcillo was injured in a collision along the boards with Los Angeles' Drew Doughty.
 
Brandon Saad, a second-round pick in 2011 who played just two regular season game before appearing in Game 4 of the playoffs against Phoenix, will replace Carcillo against the Coyotes. The highly-skilled Saad will take Carcillo's spot alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa -- who combined for two goals and five points against the Kings.

Raffi Torres, who still have seven games to serve on his suspension for his hit on Chicago's Marian Hossa in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last year, remains out for Phoenix but the rest of the lineup that played Saturday in a 4-3 loss at Dallas came out OK to go against the Blackhawks.

Here are the projected lines for Sunday. The Coyotes did not skate and the Blackhawks did not show lines at their brief skatearound:

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane

Andrew Shaw - Marcus Kruger - Viktor Stalberg

Brandon Bollig - Bryan Bickell - Michael Frolik

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Sheldon Brookbank - Nick Leddy

Ray Emery

Corey Crawford

COYOTES

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Matthew Lombardi - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Alexandre Bolduc

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 8:50 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Aucoin to miss Game 5 for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will be without Adrian Aucoin for the fourth time in their five Western Conference Finals games after the veteran defenseman did not take part in the skate prior to Game 5 on Tuesday night.
 
David Schlemko, who has not played since Game 1 of the series, will replace Aucoin in the lineup. Schlemko was a mainstay among the top six defensemen before severing a tendon on top of his right leg on Jan. 5. He was expected to miss the rest of the season following surgery, but returned in late March and has played sporadically since then. He has no points in four postseason games.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 5:09 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Doan has friend experienced in comebacks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When you're doing something that's rarely been done in the history of your sport, it's always nice to get some encouragement from a friend who has been there and done that.
 
Trying to become just the fourth team in NHL history to dig out of a 3-0 hole in a playoff series, Phoenix captain Shane Doan engaged in a series of texts with good friend and former teammate Danny Briere after he scored the only goals in a 2-0 Coyotes win in Game 4 to allow his team to live for another day.
 
Briere played a lead role in 2010 when the Philadelphia Flyers rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Coyotes still have a long road to travel if they want to join the Flyers, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders as the only teams to win a series after trailing 3-0.
 
"I talked to him. We sent each other texts all the time," Doan said of Briere, who played parts of six seasons in Phoenix. "When we found a way to get a win there [in Game 4], he wished me luck. I sent him one back. We got to texting about how it can be done. It's hard, but you can do it. It would be nice to have someone like Danny be on your team ... but it's one of those things, when you talk to him, you realize it's doable. I think it gives you a little more confidence."
 
Doan said Briere told him that his team's comeback taught him that you're never done until you're actually done.

"They get down three games and they pull it together, then they got down 3-0 in Game 7 and they pull it together ... it's like the (Black Knight character) in Monty Python (and the Holy Grail) ... I'm not dead yet."
 
Doan said the Coyotes have talked about taking a tournament approach to the task ahead.
 
"It's like we're in the quarterfinals and we have to win to get to the semifinals," he said. "Once you get to the semifinals, you have to win that to get to the finals. It you want to win it all, you have to win all three. It sounds kind of cheesy, but you try to find any analogy to make it sound doable. That's where we're at."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 3:32 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Heat is on -- literally -- as Coyotes return to Phoenix

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Temperatures are expected to hit 108 degrees in Phoenix today, setting what is believed to be the record for the warmest temperature ever for an NHL playoff game. But while some players and fans might disagree, Phoenix's Canadian-born coach Dave Tippett doesn't have an issue as the mercury rises.
 
"I have no problem with the temperatures. It's 108, but it's a dry heat," Tippett said with a smile. "We had a game two weeks ago in Nashville, I think it was in the mid-90s with humidity. So I'll take 108 and dry over humidity -- not that I'm saying Nashville is a bad place."
 
Coyotes center Daymond Langkow said the ice conditions at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale can't be any worse than they were for the last two games in Los Angeles, where the ice was covered at Staples Center for basketball games on Friday and all-day Saturday between Games 3 and 4, making for nasty conditions on Sunday afternoon.
 
Defenseman Derek Morris has played seven of the last nine years in Arizona and has adapted well to the heat -- although he's usually gone for the summer before the 110-degree days set in.

"I'm fine, but guys like (defense partner) Keith Yandle, they don't deal with it too good," Morris said. "He's got all that hot Boston blood running through him. He's always complaining and that beard he's got now doesn't make it any better."
 
If the Coyotes are able to rally in the series and force a Game 7 here on Saturday night, things will be much more tolerable. A "cold front" is expected to hit the Valley of the Sun for the weekend, with temperatures expected to plunge to 90 or under with high winds.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 3:07 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Aucoin status won't be determined until pre-game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix will have to wait until the pre-game skate to find out if defenseman Adrian Aucoin is able to go as the Coyotes again face elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings.
 
Aucoin took part in an optional morning skate. The 38-year-old veteran who has appeared in 62 NHL playoff games, second to Ray Whitney on the team, missed the first three games of the conference finals with an undisclosed injury. He returned to the lineup in Game 4 -- the only win by Phoenix in the series -- but left in the third period due to injury and did not skate on Monday.
 
If Aucoin can't play, the Coyotes would likely go with Michael Stone, who played in Games 2 and 3, in Game 5.
 
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett indicated he would likely stick with the fourth line of Kyle Chipchura, Boyd Gordon and Marc-Antoine Pouliot in Game 5. They didn't play much as a trio because the Coyotes took six penalties and had in-game injuries to two forwards, but Pouliot's size and discipline along the walls give him the nod over Gilbert Brule and Paul Bissonnette.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 05.15.2012 / 1:08 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Coyotes defenseman Aucoin a game-time decision

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin remains a game-time decision for Game 2 on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) as they look to even the Western Conference Finals with the Los Angeles Kings.
 
Aucoin hasn't played since leaving during the first period of Game 5 of the conference semifinals on May 7. He was able to take part in a full practice on Monday for the first time.
 
The 38-year-old Aucoin has played in 61 NHL playoff games, second-most to Ray Whitney among the Coyotes. If Aucoin is able to play, the Coyotes would likely sit David Schlemko and pair Aucoin with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who stuggled mightily (minus-3) in a 4-2 Kings win in Game 1. That would also allow Rostislav Klesla and Michal Rozsival, a very effective pair for the Coyotes in the postseason, to be reunited.
 
Phoenix trails in a playoff series for the first time in the postseason and is looking to avoid falling behind 0-2 to the Kings on home ice -- the same fate that befell both Vancouver and St. Louis in previous rounds.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 05.12.2012 / 7:03 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Aucoin to miss Game 1 for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz . -- The Phoenix Coyotes will be without veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin when they finally take on the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference final Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The 38-year-old Aucoin, whose 61 NHL playoff games rank second to Ray Whitney among the Coyotes, skated on Saturday for the first time since leaving early in Monday's Game 5 win over the Nashville Predators. It was a light, morning-skate type of workout in advance of a 5 p.m. MT faceoff in Arizona. But Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said Aucoin would not be available for Game 1 and that David Schlemko will make his fourth start of the postseason against the Kings. Schlemko also played on Monday in place of the suspended Rostislav Klesla, who will return on Sunday.

Aucoin has two assists in 10 games during this postseason.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 05.11.2012 / 5:59 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Aucoin status for Game 1 up in the air

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin was unable to practice for a second straight day, leaving in doubt his availability for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against Los Angeles on Sunday.

Aucoin, who was injured early in Phoenix's 2-1 series-clinching win against Nashville on Monday, hasn't returned to the ice since.

"He was going to skate a little before practice but it didn't happen," coach Dave Tippett said. "Call him day-to-day."

Aucoin missed a game due to injury earlier in the playoffs but has averaged more than 18 minutes a game during the postseason. David Schlemko, who has filled in for Aucoin, Michal Rozsival and Rostislav Klesla once each during the playoffs, played very well in the clincher against the Predators and would be the likely replacement if Aucoin can't go.

"We have more depth on this team that in the past. That's a real plus for us," Tippett said.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 05.09.2012 / 5:47 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Whitney a reluctant birthday boy

GLENDALE, Ariz, -- Ray Whitney turned 40 years old on Tuesday and thought he might have escaped the wrath of his teammates since it was an off-day for the Coyotes.

No chance. His locker was dressed up with presents on Wednesday, including a walker -- adorned with a blue bow -- tubes of Ben Gay and denture cream, laxative, batteries and a magnifying glass with which to read the latest copy of Oprah Winfrey's "O" Magazine.

Whitney, who will dodge any camera possible even on most normal days, had no interest in coming out to view the display while media was in the room. But his teammates didn't mind commenting -- especially suspected ringleader Shane Doan.

"I'm way young younger than a few people on this team -- and Ray Whitney is way older than everyone else," the 35-year-old Doan was only too happy to point out, "We fixed him up with a 40-year-old survival kit just to make sure he has everything working."

Whitney had everything working during the regular season, leading the Coyotes in assists (53) and points (77) while pumping in 24 goals. He's added six points in 13 playoff games -- showing he's not quite ready for a walker.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 6:36 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Projected lines for Coyotes for Game 5

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With David Schlemko in for Rostislav Klesla and Lauri Korpikoski a game-time decision, here is tonight's projected lineup for the Phoenix Coyotes:

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Marc Antoine Pouliot
Kyle Chipchura - Daymond Langkow - Gilbert Brule

Michal Rozsival - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
David Schlemko - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 5:20 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Pouliot filling in admirably in Korpikoski's absence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Coyotes winger Lauri Korpikoski ranked fourth on the Phoenix Coyotes with 17 goals and 37 points this season and wears a variety of hats for the team as a special teams performer and responsible checker.
 
But injuries have limited Korpikoski to just five games in the postseason and he has played in just three of the last eight games. Kopikoski is getting closer but is still a game-time decision for Monday night's Game 5 when the Coyotes will try to close out the Nashville Predators and advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
 
The Coyotes have a quandary. Marc-Antoine Pouliot has played very steady hockey (one assist, plus-one) in averaging about 10 minutes of ice in the last three games. And while Phoenix could use the added surge of offense, Korpikoski would have about a week to rest and get ready for the Western Conference Finals if Phoenix can advance on Monday.
 
"We'll see where he is today," said Tippett, sounding like he was ready to play without Korpikoski. "When we feel like he can contribute to the maximum, that's when he'll play."
 
Pouliot has been a pleasant surprise for the organization this year and his versatility -- playing both the wing and center spots -- and toughness fit in well in this type of series.
 
"He's filled in very well for Korpikoski," Tippett said. "He's a solid player, two-way player, strong on the boards and solid in all parts of the game. He hasn't gotten on the scoreboard, but if you look at the guts of the game he's a heavy player similar to a [Taylor] Pyatt. He's been a good player for us."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 10:51 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Success in playoffs means thicker beards for Coyotes

The Phoenix Coyotes have gone farther in the playoffs than ever before, and they have the playoff beards to prove it.
 
Keith Yandle
Defense - PHX
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 7
SOG: 12 | +/-: 7
Defenseman Keith Yandle spent most of an interview scratching his facial hair and when asked about how he was enjoying the hockey rite of spring, he wasn't shy.
 
"It's awful. I spend all day picking things out of it. Food, loose objects, everything," Yandle said. "I love it because it's a sign we're still around fighting for the Stanley Cup. But it's not one of my favorite things."
 
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 9:41 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Coyotes forced to play Game 5 without Klesla

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Already without winger Raffi Torres for the rest of the playoffs, the Phoenix Coyotes will try to eliminate the Nashville Predators on Monday night with another player sitting out a suspension.

Rostislav Klesla
Defense - PHX
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 6
SOG: 19 | +/-: 1
Defenseman Rostislav Klesla will miss Game 5 after being suspended for one game for his boarding infraction against Nashville's Matt Halischuk in Game 4 on Friday night. Klesla was penalized on the play, but the League's Department of Safety ruled that Halischuk was defenseless as he chased a puck to the sideboards in part because Klesla grabbed his jersey before administering his check.

Klesla will likely be replaced by David Schlemko -- the only other defenseman to see time in the playoffs so far -- when they take a 3-1 series lead into Game 5 at Jobing.com Arena. Klesla's usual partner is Adrian Aucoin, but Schlemko skated with several partners during Sunday’s practice and the pairings could change.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.28.2012 / 6:31 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Lineup tweaks possible for both teams in Game 2

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Neither the Phoenix Coyotes nor the Nashville Predators will skate Sunday morning due to the 5 p.m. local time start for Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinal series. But both coaches hinted that lineup changes could be coming.

The Coyotes may make a change on defense with David Schlemko or Michael Stone subbing for either Adrian Aucoin or Derek Morris. Marc-Antoine is also an option up front.

Nashville could go with Colin Wilson, who has yet to make his first postseason appearance but took the pregame skate on Friday for the first time. He skated with the scratches on Saturday, but Predators coach Barry Trotz said Wilson would be the first player in if he makes a change, with Craig Smith (9:29 of ice in Game 1) most likely to be replaced.

Ray Whitney's goal 14:04 into overtime gave the Coyotes a 4-3 win in Game 1.

Here is what the lineups for the Coyotes and Predators could look like for Game 2 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS):

Predators

Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque - David Legwand - Alexander Radulov
Andrei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Patric Hornqvist
Brandon Yip - Paul Gaustad - Craig Smith/Craig Wilson

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Hal Gill

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

Coyotes

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Lauri Korpikoski
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura - Daymond Langkow - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris/David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Rostislav Klesla - Adrian Aucoin/Michael Stone


Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 04.27.2012 / 3:20 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Postseason travel schedule has been easier on Preds

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Last year, the Nashville Predators earned plenty of frequent flyer miles in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After flying back and forth to Anaheim twice before taking out the Ducks in six games, Nashville had to go to the Western Conference's western-most outpost -- Vancouver -- twice. They fell in six games, but if the Predators had advanced, a couple of trips to San Jose would have been waiting.

This year is a little different. With home ice in the first round, Nashville needed only one quick flight to Detroit in dispatching the Red Wings in five games. And the Predators have had an entire week to rest and prepare for their Western Conference Semifinal series beginning in Phoenix tonight.

"Two hours in a plane instead of 20," Nashville center Mike Fisher said. "That's pretty nice."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said this season has been much less hectic on his team.

"Last year we battled right to the end to get in the playoffs," Trotz said. "Then we go back and forth to Anaheim, back and forth to Vancouver and if we ever got past the Canucks, we would have gotten San Jose and probably set a record for miles flown in one playoff year. It was pretty taxing."

"But we've had a lot of time off this year. We're fresh and we're healthy and we're ready to go."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 04.27.2012 / 2:50 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Gill set to return for Predators

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Nashville defenseman Hal Gill, who missed the entire first round with a lower-body injury, has been cleared to play and will be in the lineup Friday when the Predators open their Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Gill hasn’t played since blocking a shot from Sheldon Souray of the Dallas Stars on Apr. 5, but was back to blocking shots in practice this week and will be paired with Francis Bouillon, putting the Predators at full strength.
 
“I’m good to go,” Gill said. “I appreciated the boys giving me the rest and now it’s my turn to get in there.”

Gill said he tossed a turned a bit Thursday night and will have to get the playoff tension out early to catch up with everyone else.

“Sleep was tough last night. You get excited, you get geared up,” he said. “But it’s a good feeling. If you go to a horror movie, you want to be scared. If you’re in the playoffs you want to be excited and I’m definitely there.”

Gill is the latest of a handful of Predators who have added a new twist to the playoff beard tradition – sporting a playoff Mohawk on Friday. It was started by defenseman Kevin Klein during the playoff drive and several teammates have joined in.
 
Nashville center Mike Fisher said he won’t be joining the crowd on that one.

“Having a good look at these guys … I’ll stick with the beard,” he said.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 04.27.2012 / 1:37 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Predators series blog

Projected lineups for Game 1

The Coyotes have only one question mark in the lineup. Defenseman David Schlemko started over veteran Adrian Aucoin in the series-clinching win over Chicago after Aucoin had played in the first five games.

Here is what the lineups for both Phoenix and the Nashville Predators could look like for Game 1 of this Western Conference Semifinals series:

Predators

Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque - David Legwand - Alexander Rudlov
Andrei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Patric Hornqvist
Brandon Yip - Jordan Tootoo - Craig Smith

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Hal Gill

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

Coyotes

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine VermetteLauri Korpikoski
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
KyleChipchura - Daymond Langkow - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - David Schlemko
Rostisalv Klesla - Michal Rozsival

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 10:16 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Korpikoski returns to Coyotes' lineup

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes had one of their wingers back in the lineup as Lauri Korpikoski returned for Game 5 against the Chicago Blackhawks after missing two games with a lower-body injury.
 
Korpikoski, who had 17 goals and 37 assists in the regular season, replaced enforcer Paul Bissonnette in the lineup.
 
The Coyotes lead the series 3-1 and will attempt to win their first playoff series since moving to Phoenix and the first for the franchise since 1987.
 
 

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 5:51 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Coyotes hope to avoid slow start, being shorthanded

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Coyotes have a 3-1 lead in their playoff series with the Blackhawks despite giving up the first goal in three of the four games and losing a forward for the rest of the game three times.

Radim Vrbata was lost on his first shift in Game 1. Martin Hanzal went down early in Game 2. And in Game 4, Paul Bissonnette received a game misconduct for not tying down his jersey – which was pulled off in a fight with Chicago’s Brandon Bollig.
 
“It would help if we don’t lose a player in the first period every night,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “When you are losing key players, it’s hard to get a rhythm and you are shuffling lines and it changes things. Keeping out whole team on the ice for the period would be a step in the right direction. In the last game (Marc-Andre) Pouliot and (Gilbert) Brule don’t get a lot of time early because they lose their linemate (Bissonnette) and we have to find some rhythm earlier.”
 
Tippett can laugh about the misconduct now.

"My original thought was ‘There is no way he doesn’t have it tied down, so it must have ripped, right?’" Tippett said. "But that wasn’t the case, so we’ll just leave it at that. It’s been addressed."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 5:32 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Boo birds don't bother Coyotes' Smith

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – For two games in Chicago, Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was booed every time he touched the puck from Blackhawk fans who blamed him for Andrew Shaw’s three-game suspension after their collision last weekend in Glendale.
 
But if it was intended to get in his head, it didn’t work. Smith allowed just four goals in the two games, which the Coyotes won in overtime on a pair of Mikkel Boedker goals.
 
“I loved it,” Smith said. “They are passionate fans in Chicago and I wouldn’t expect anything less. If I wasn’t playing hockey I’d be doing the same thing – yelling a screaming at someone. It’s a fun atmosphere but I’m glad to be home.”

If the move was intended to intimidate a goalie that had only one career playoff start in his career before this series, “That was a swing and a miss. It helped me get right into the game,” he said.
 
Smith said he’s not expecting the fans to get on any of the Blackhawks.
 
“Just cheer for us,” he said. “I’m expecting a loud building. Our crowds in the playoffs have been unreal. We’re looking forward to it.”
 
Smith is 10-1-1 in his last 11 starts and has allowed two goals or less in eight of his last nine starts.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 4:57 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Korpikoski could return for Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Coyotes winger Lauri Korpikoski took part in the morning skate Saturday and Phoenix coach said Dave Tippett will be a game-time decision for Game 5 against Chicago.
 
Center Martin Hanzal was on the ice but did not take part in the team skate. Tippett said he was doubtful to play in Game 5 after his injuries were re-evaluated on Friday. The Coyotes will also be without Raffi Torres who was slapped with a 25-game suspension by the league Saturday.
 
Korpikoski left Game 2 last Saturday with an apparent lower-body injury in the third period sustained in a collision with Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. He did not play in Games 3 and 4 and did not return to the ice until Friday, when the team returned from Chicago.
 
“It was a good skate. I feel good so we’ll see,” Korpikoski said. “It’s been so painful to watch … I can’t do it. I just want to be out there. The toughest thing to do is watch and not be able to help. Chicago is a fun city but it was a good road trip for me. It took a year off my life.”
 
Mikkel Boedker, who took Korpikoski’s spot on the line with Taylor Pyatt and Boyd Gordon, had the winning goal in overtime in each of the last two games – leaving Tippett to joke that Korpikoski might have lost his spot.
 
“Tipp’s kind of playing some mind games with me,” Korpikoski said. “(Boedker’s) doing a good job. He scored some big goals.”
 
If Korpikoski plays, he would replace either Marc-Antoine Pouilot or Paul Bissonnette in the Phoenix lineup.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Monday, 04.16.2012 / 5:08 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Smith among players missing from Coyotes practice

Before the Coyotes and Blackhawks started their playoff series on Thursday, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett announced that his entire roster was healthy and ready to go for Game 1.

Four days and two games later, that picture had changed dramatically.

Goalie Mike Smith, center Martin Hanzal and left wing Lauri Korpikoski were all injured in Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2 and all three did not practice with the team on Monday at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. Tippett wasn't interested in talking about their status for Tuesday night when the series resumes with Game 3 in Chicago.

"Our health is just fine. We have everyone under evaluation and that's where we're at. That's not a concern to us," Tippett said. When asked specifically about Smith, he said, "We're not talking about injuries. He's fine."

Smith was hit in the head by Chicago's Andrew Shaw in the second period of Game 2. He was attended to on the ice for several minutes but was able to stay in and finish the game. Shaw was given a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct, and will learn today at a hearing if he faces further discipline from NHL Director of Player Safety Brendan Shannahan.

If Smith can't play, the Coyotes will turn to backup Jason LaBarbera -- who played in only 19 games this season (3-9-3) and allowed five goals on 35 shots in a 5-2 loss to Chicago on Oct. 18 in Glendale. LaBarbera's last regular season win can Dec. 21 at Carolina -- he is 0-6-3 since.

Hanzal, who had the overtime game-winner for Phoenix in Game 1 on Saturday, appeared to suffer a lower-body injury in the first period of Game 2 and left the arena for further evaluation and treatment while the game continued. Hanzal plays between leading scorers Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata on Phoenix's top line and is also a big part of the power play and penalty-kill units as well as checking opposing top lines.

Before Game 2, Phoenix captain Shane Doan called Hanzal "probably our most valuable forward." If Hanzal can't play, Antoine Vermette, who leads all scorers in the series with three goals and had a pair in Game 2, would center the top line with veterans Boyd Gordon and Daymond Langkow seeing increased ice time and face-off duty.
 
Korpikoski was injured early in the third period when he was checked along the boards during a Phoenix power play. Korpikoski is also a key member of the Coyotes, seeing time in the power play and a key penalty killer who leads the team with three shorthanded goals this season.
 
Gilbert Brule, who was a healthy scratch in Game 2, would be the likely replacement if Korpikoski can't go.

On Monday night, the Coyotes announced that forwards Alexandre Bolduc and Marc-Antoine Pouliot were recalled from Portland of the American Hockey League, along with goaltender Justin Pogge. Portland did not qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 10:18 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Hawks, Coyotes tweak lineups

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Both the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes tweaked their lineups for Game 2 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series Saturday.
 
Chicago started defenseman Sami Lepisto in place of Sean O'Donnell, who was a minus-2 in Phoenix's 3-2 overtime win on Thursday night. The Coyotes made a change in their fourth line, with Kyle Chipchura subbing for Gilbert Brule to give the Coyotes a more defensive look.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 4:33 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Blackhawks happy with PP despite results

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Chicago Blackhawks' power play has been a disappointment all year and finished 0-for-10 to end the season. The Phoenix Coyotes ranked eighth in the NHL in the penalty kill this season and ended the season on a string of 25 straight penalty kills during a five-game winning streak.
 
But the Blackhawks felt they had some good chances during their four power plays in a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday in Game 1 to Phoenix. And they are hoping their special teams will help them get even as this Western Conference Quarterfinals series resumes tonight.
 
“All year our power play wasn’t good, but [in Game 1] we spent lots of time in their zone and we had good plays.” Chicago winger Marian Hossa said. “We just need to get an ugly goal and get it going.”
 
Hossa needs to get going as well. He hasn’t scored a goal since Mar. 20 at Columbus, a span of nine games.
 
The Blackhawks had two power-play chances in the third period when they took the play to Phoenix, but came up empty while trailing 2-1. Brent Seabrook saves them with a last-gasp goal with 14.2 second left in regulation to force overtime before Martin Hanzal won it for Phoenix.
 
“We had some decent looks. We had some pucks at the net and some second opportunities,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We have to find a way to get those ugly goals that we had some chances on.”
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Vrbata will play for Coyotes in Game 2

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Radim Vrbata, Phoenix’s leader this season with 35 goals, took part in the morning skate Saturday and will play against Chicago in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
 
“He’s going to play,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.

 Vrbata was injured Thursday in the first shift of a 3-2 overtime win in Game 1 when he took a hard hit along the boards from Chicago’s Andrew Shaw. Vrbata went down hard and skated off the ice in a crouch.

But the man who was responsible for one out of every six Phoenix goals this season took part in the morning skate at Jobing.com Arena and is ready to go as the Coyotes seek to take a 2-0 lead in a playoff series for the first time since moving to Arizona in 1996.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 04.13.2012 / 9:06 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Hawks have to make life tougher for Smith

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Chicago Blackhawks were aware they would be dealing with a talented and athletic goalie in Phoenix's Mike Smith during their Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

But after watching him make 43 saves and deftly handle their dump-in attempts in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Coyotes, making life tougher on Smith will be a priority for Game 2 on Saturday.

Smith turned lazy dump-ins by the Blackhawks into breakouts for his teammates. His defense kept the crease fairly clear and offered him a good look of most shots. And even on the two occasions when Smith lost his stick, Chicago was unable to get pucks to the net before he was able to regain his paddle.

"You have to be careful of giving him the puck because he's like an extra defenseman back there making plays," said forward Patrick Kane, who had seven of Chicago's 45 shots but came up empty. "We have to keep it away from him and make the defense play the puck."

That means more purposeful dump-ins - off the glass, hard-arounds that are difficult to handle of softer passes to the corners. Smith had 16 penalty minutes this season, the most of all NHL goalies by a wide margin, and can be coaxed out of position at times.

"Whether it's shots on net, second opportunities, keeping (the puck) out of his glove, putting it on the glass rims … he comes out and plays a lot of those pucks and we have to be more efficient and effective in those areas," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had some careless or not really a purpose behind some of our dumps. We have to make sure there is something behind it."

Making only his second career playoff start, Smith admitted to being jittery in the first period -- he gave up a soft goal to Chicago captain Jonathan Toews 4:04 into the game and was staying in his net more than normal. But as the game wore on and he settled down, Smith played the puck more and more and won his sixth straight start.

Smith has allowed only five goals in the last 237 shots he's seen, helping the Coyotes snap a five-game postseason losing streak -- all to the Detroit Red Wings -- dating back to Game 6 in 2010.

The Hawks know they can't make it easy for Smith to play the puck in Game 2.

"He's one of the top goalies in the League, and you have to keep the puck away from him," Chicago center Dave Bolland said. "We have to get bodies in front of him so he can't see that puck. It's a lot of little things that can cost you a game, but things that can help you win. I don't think we're that far away."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 5:20 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Blackhawks like experience of O'Donnell on blue line

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In his 17th NHL season and closing in on his 41st birthday, Sean O'Donnell hasn't committed to this being his last NHL season.
 
But it could be, and Thursday he will play his 105th Stanley Cup Playoff game against one of the nine teams he's played for in his career, the Phoenix Coyotes.
 
O'Donnell played in 51 games this season and his role and ice time has been more muted. But a second Stanley Cup to bookend the one he raised in 2007 with Anaheim would be a great way to leave the stage. After sitting out the season finale against Detroit, he was tabbed to play alongside Niklas Hjalmarsson in Game 1.
 
"Unless you are an elite player, every game in this league is a tryout," said O'Donnell, who got the nod over rookie Dylan Olsen with Steve Montador still out with a concussion. "I think I've survived in this League for awhile playing a certain style. Just because it's the playoffs, I'm not going to change that. Keep it simple and do your job has worked real well."
 
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said it's that grit and experience -- on the road in the hostile atmosphere of the White Out in Arizona -- that led him to go with O'Donnell.

"Down the stretch he came in there and did a real nice job for us," he said. "We like his experience, we like his size and we like his thought process right off the bat."
 
Quenneville said he expected Montador to be on the ice as early as Thursday or perhaps this weekend, but said it was tough to say if he would be available in the series.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 4:52 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Quenneville stayed calm in season's tumultous stretch

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Winning a Stanley Cup in a big city doesn't earn you much rope as a coach.
 
Less than two years removed from winning the first Cup since 1961 in Chicago, an 0-8-1 slump that spanned over three weeks in January and February led to rumblings that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's job might be in danger. But Chicago went 15-5-4 down the stretch and rolled up 101 points to safely land a playoff spot -- taking press off Quenneville that his players felt never should have been there.
 
"That was tough for the players to listen to," said winger Patrick Sharp, who had eight of his 33 goals in the stretch run. "Everyone has their opinion, and they have a right to voice it, but I know in our locker room there was no one asking for that or even he wasn't thinking about that.
 
"He's our leader. He's a guy we look to in every situation. He's got the experience. We won a Stanley Cup with him, and then you're hearing things that he might be fired?
 
"If that would have happened, all of us would have been upset with ourselves because we were the ones on the ice controlling the situation."
 
Sharp said Quenneville's calm demeanor during the skid, while fans and media stoked the fires, was a big reason why the players didn't panic as well.
 
"That's the thing that impressed us during the streak," Sharp said. "He didn't waver too much from his beliefs. We changed a few things, but he wasn't stressed out. He wasn't coming in with a beard like he hadn't shaved. He was getting his sleep. He was still the same old Joel -- just being patient and knowing we'd be a better team for it."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 3:50 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Projected Game 1 lineups

Here's how the lineups project for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes set for Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena:

BLACKHAWKS

Patrick Kane - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig - Jamal Mayers - Andrew Brunette


Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Nick Leddy
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Sean O'Donnell

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Michal Rozsival

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 3:11 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Toews returning to lineup for Game 1

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup Thursday night for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes the Blackhawks confirmed on their official Twitter feed Thursday.

Toews, the Blackhawks captain, hasn't played since Feb. 19 due to a concussion. He scored 29 goals and finished with 57 points and a plus-17 rating in 59 regular-season games this season.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 7:13 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Toews expects to play in Game 1

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Acknowledging that he would be surprised if he isn't on the ice Thursday night, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews went through a symptom-free practice at Jobing.com Arena on Wednesday and expects to be ready to go for Game 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
 
Skating on a line between Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, Toews took part in all phases of practice and had an extended chat with Chicago coach Joel Quenneville before meeting with reporters. Toews missed the final 22 games of the regular season because of a concussion, but has been back practicing with the team for a week.

"I feel good. I'm right there," Toews said. "It's another day when I feel like I'm better and better and getting back to where I want to be as far as playing."

Asked if he was surprised if he didn't play Thursday, Toews quickly answered, "Yeah." Upon reflection, he qualified the answer by saying, "That's the goal we've set, but we're going to make that decision tomorrow. We're sticking to that program."

Quenneville was pleased with what he saw from the line in practice and was targeting Thursday as his captain's return.

"That line looks fine together," he said. "Their upside's going to be high-end, puck possession, lots of ability. For sure we'll get clarification tomorrow, but we're optimistic."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 7:05 PM

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

Toews expects to play in Game 1

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Acknowledging that he would be surprised if he isn't on the ice Thursday night, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews went through a symptom-free practice at Jobing.com Arena on Wednesday and expects to be ready to go for Game 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
 
Skating on a line between Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, Toews took part in all phases of practice and had an extended chat with Chicago coach Joel Quenneville before meeting with reporters. Toews missed the final 22 games of the regular season because of a concussion, but has been back practicing with the team for a week.

"I feel good. I'm right there," Toews said. "It's another day when I feel like I'm better and better and getting back to where I want to be as far as playing."

Asked if he was surprised if he didn't play Thursday, Toews quickly answered, "Yeah." Upon reflection, he qualified the answer by saying, "That's the goal we've set, but we're going to make that decision tomorrow. We're sticking to that program."

Quenneville was pleased with what he saw from the line in practice and was targeting Thursday as his captain's return.

"That line looks fine together," he said. "Their upside's going to be high-end, puck possession, lots of ability. For sure we'll get clarification tomorrow, but we're optimistic."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.29.2012 / 5:16 PM

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

Coyotes back in action to begin final stretch run

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was an anxious three days for the Phoenix Coyotes as they could do nothing but watch the standings as their Western Conference foes attempted to compile points and leave them behind.

Now the Coyotes enter their final five games of the season with a clear mission -- and in control of their own fate. Win four of five and they are likely headed to a third straight NHL playoff berth. Stumble more than once along the way, beginning with tonight's huge game against the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena, and things get much more uncertain and gloomy.

"You look at the standings, and if we win our games we're fine," said Phoenix captain Shane Doan, who returns from a three-game suspension tonight. "You'd rather be sitting where Nashville is or Vancouver is, but we're not, so we have to find way to win our way in and earn it. But we control our own destiny and that's all you can ask. It's right there for us."

In addition to Doan, the Coyotes were able to heal over the three-day break. With the exception of winger Taylor Pyatt, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said everyone else on the roster is available for duty, meaning leading scorer Radim Vrbata and defensemen Adrian Aucoin and David Schlemko are prepared to play. Tippett has a lot of different ways he can go lineup-wise and wasn't tipping his hand at the pregame skate.

The Coyotes finish the season against three teams out of the playoff race -- Anaheim, Columbus and Minnesota -- as well as Western Conference-leading St. Louis. So the chance to improve their position and have a direct effect on a competitor ends tonight.

The Sharks lost 3-1 in Anaheim on Wednesday, making this game incredibly crucial for them as well. San Jose finishes its season with two games each against Los Angeles and Dallas -- the other two Pacific Division teams fighting for three playoff spots along with Colorado and Calgary. Not everyone will survive.

"Our players know exactly where we are and what the scenarios are … but this is the last game that we have that we can have an effect on the one of these teams we are battling," Tippett said. "So that makes it of the utmost importance. After that we have to take care of ourselves, but this is a huge game."

The Sharks will be without defenseman Douglas Murray, who suffered a lower-body injury early against the Ducks. Veteran Colin White will replace him in the lineup.

Here are tonight's projected lineups:

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat
TJ Galiardi - Dominic Moore - Torrey Mitchell
Daniel Winnik - Andrew Desjardins - Tommy Wingels

Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Colin White - Brent Burns
Justin Braun - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine VermetteLauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - Adrian Aucoin
Michal Roszival - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera
 

 
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Friday, 03.23.2012 / 12:07 AM

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

Radim Vrbata back for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes had 30-goal scorer Radim Vrbata back in the lineup for Thursday's showdown with the Colorado Avalanche at Jobing.com Arena.

Vrbata, who hasn't scored a goal in more than a month -- he got No. 30 on Feb. 21 against Los Angeles -- has missed three of the last four games with an undisclosed illness. He will replace Shane Doan, who will begin a three-game NHL suspension tonight for a hit on Dallas' Jamie Benn on Tuesday night.

The ninth-place Coyotes were without forward Taylor Pyatt and defenseman Adrian Aucoin as they attempted to jump over the Avalanche and back into a playoff spot in the jam-packed Western Conference

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 5:10 PM

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

Coyotes may be down two key forwards vs. Avs

The Coyotes could be without their top two right wingers for tonight's huge game with the Avalanche.
 
Shane Doan is definitely out, serving the first of a three-game suspension for his hit on Dallas' Jamie Benn. And Radim Vrbata, who has missed two games and part of a third with an undisclosed illness, took part in Tuesday's optional skate and Wednesday's morning skate, is still a game-time decision.
 
If Vrbata is a no-go, that's more than 50 goals missing from a Phoenix offense that struggles even in the best of times. Winger Taylor Pyatt and defenseman Adrian Aucoin will also miss this game between the eighth- and ninth-place teams in the Western Conference.
 
The Coyotes are 3-1-3 in their last seven games, but have slipped out of a playoff spot and need a win to stay on the heels of Pacific Division-leading Dallas.
 
Colorado will go without defenseman Erik Johnson (back spasms) for a second straight game with a back injury and rookie Tyson Barrie will again get the call. Ryan O'Reilly, who had his nose broken in Tuesday's overtime win over Calgary, will be in the lineup.
 
These are the projected lineups for tonight's game:
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Lauri Korpikoski
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Gilbert Brule
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Radim Vrbata
Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rostislav Klesla
Michal Roszival - David Schlemko

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

AVALANCHE

Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Steve Downie
Jamie McGinn - Paul Stastny - David Jones
Peter Mueller - Matt Duchene - Milan Hejduk
Cody McLeod - Jay McClement - Mark Olver

Shane O'Brien - Tyson Barrie
Jan Hejda - Ryan O'Byrne
Matt Hunwick - Ryan Wilson

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Monday, 03.12.2012 / 4:36 PM

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

Coyotes look to build off shutout of Sharks

The Coyotes broke through with a huge 3-0 shutout of San Jose on Saturday night, but their 1-4-1 start to March has left them fighting three points behind Dallas in the Pacific Division standings and in a battle with five other teams separated by three points for the final two playoff spots.
 
Phoenix has won two of the three meetings with Nashville this season -- in keeping with its track record of playing the top teams tough this season. A win would move the Coyotes within a point of the idle Stars and keep them in seventh place. And with a tough four-game game road trip to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Dallas beginning on Wednesday, the last game of this three-game homestand looms large.
 
Mike Smith will be back in goal after recording his fifth shutout of the season against the Sharks and looking more like the League's First Star of February than the one that struggled for a week. But the Coyotes won't have center Martin Hanzal (upper body) for a second straight game, and that will play havoc with the forward lines. Boyd Gordon stepped up with a big game against the Sharks and will be counted on again with Daymond Langkow struggling and Kyle Chipchura still out of the lineup.
 
With defensemen Derek Morris and David Schlemko are skating but still not ready to return, the Coyotes have found rookie Michael Stone up to the task. Stone had his first NHL goal and set up Mikkel Boedker's goal against the Sharks and, just eight games into his NHL career, is impressing coach Dave Tippett with his poise.
 
COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Mikkel Boedker - Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Rostislav Klesla - Michael Stone

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

PREDATORS

Andrei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Colin Wilson - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Matt Halischuk

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Hal Gill
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 8:13 PM

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

Coyotes regain Klesla, lose Hanzal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes gained a defenseman but lost a center for Saturday’s huge game with San Jose.

Martin Hanzal will miss his 15th game of the season with an upper-body injury. Hanzal appeared to fall awkwardly on his right wrist in the first period of Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota. The injury initially was feared to be serious, but coach Dave Tippett said Hanzal is day-to-day. Marc-Antoine Pouliot replaced Hanzal in the Phoenix lineup.

On the plus side, defenseman Rostislav Klesla returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 18. Klesla has missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury. He will replace David Rundblad and take a lot of pressure off Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Michal Rozsival, who have been playing major minutes.

Two more defensemen could be back soon. Derek Morris is back with the team after a one-month leave of absence to deal with a family illness. He is back skating but will need some conditioning time. Also, David Schlemko, out since Jan. 7, is close to returning from foot surgery.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 4:22 PM

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

'Yotes hope struggling Wild the tonic for March slump

One week ago, the Phoenix Coyotes were two games away from the longest unbeaten streak in franchise history, completing an 11-0-1 February with a leap from 12th place in the Western Conference to the Pacific Division lead with 23 points in a month.

Just seven days later, everything is upside down. The Coyotes are in the midst of the longest pointless streak in coach Dave Tippett's coaching tenure in Phoenix -- four games -- and face the prospect of their first five-game losing streak since February of 2009 when they host the Minnesota Wild.

The Coyotes will start goalie Jason LaBarbera tonight after Mike Smith allowed two goals in the first four minutes of a 3-2 loss in Columbus on Tuesday. The Coyotes have five players still on the injured list and none will play tonight, with enforcer Paul Bissonnette expected to replace Gilbert Brule.

The Coyotes are still seventh in the West and just two points behind Dallas for the Pacific Division lead, but are just one point ahead of San Jose, Los Angeles and Colorado, and need a win to stop the bleeding.

Minnesota knows all about losing streaks. The Wild are 0-4-1 in the last five -- scoring just one goal in the last three games, on a penalty shot by Devin Setoguchi on Tuesday with Minnesota already hoplessly out of a 7-1 loss at Colorado. They have only three wins in the last 16 games (3-10-3) and are now 13th in the Western Conference.

Minnesota was 20-7-3 and had the NHL's best record the last time it was in Phoenix (Dec. 10). Since then, the Wild are 8-22-7.

Only seven players who dressed for that Dec. 10 game will play tonight: Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen, Dany Heatley, Nick Johnson, Darroll Powe, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon.

The rest are either injured, in the minors or no longer part of the organization. How bad has the turnover been?  If defenseman Tyler Cuma, who was called up on Thursday, makes his NHL debut tonight he would become 45th player to wear a Minnesota jersey this season.

Josh Harding will be in goal after Matt Hackett was bombed in Colorado. Cuma will replace Jared Spurgeon (flu). Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) is still out, along with a list too long to mention here.

Here's how the lineups could look tonight:

COYOTES
Raffi Torres - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
David Rundblad - Chris Summers

Jason LaBarbera
Mike Smith

WILD

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Darroll Powe - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Stephane Veilleux - Erik Christensen - Nick Palmieri
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Marco Scandella - Tyler Cuma
Steven Kampfer - Tom Gilbert
Nate Prosser - Kurtis Foster

Josh Harding
Matt Hackett

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 03.03.2012 / 8:01 PM

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

Coyotes shake up struggling power play

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Looking to jump-start the League's worst power-play, the Coyotes make two tweaks to their starting lineup for tonight's game with Columbus.

Defenseman David Rundblad, who had collected six goals and 10 points in 15 games with the AHL's Portland Pirates, has been recalled and will replace Michael Stone in the Phoenix lineup. Rundblad, acquired from Ottawa in December in the Kyle Turris deal, has played only two games with the Coyotes, registering an assist in each game.

The Coyotes will also have Gilbert Brule back in the lineup for the first time since he took a hit to the head from Kyle Clifford of the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21. Brule has three goals -- one on the power play -- and seven points in the 17 games he played for Phoenix since being acquired on waivers from Edmonton on Jan. 10. Brule will replace enforcer Paul Bissonnette in the lineup.

The Coyotes have just 26 power-play goals this season in 196 chances (13.3 percent) and are the worst in the League at home, converting just 14 times in 106 chances (13.0 percent). They were 1-for-6 in Thursday's 4-2 home loss to Calgary and are 1-for-13 over the last four games.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 5:04 PM

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

Flames' Moss to play first game since November

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Calgary Flames will welcome David Moss back to the lineup Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. It will be his game since suffering a broken ankle Nov. 12. His return allows the Flames to juggle their top six forwards.

Moss will play right wing alongside Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen, while Jarome Iginla moves alongside Alex Tanguay, and Mike Cammalleri, with Blake Comeau dropping to the third line. Left wing Guillaume Desbiens is the odd-man out of the lineup Thursday.

The Flames are 0-2-2 in their last four games and 4-2-4 in the last 10 -- which includes an overtime loss and a shootout loss to the Coyotes in that span. The Coyotes have won six straight and eight of the last 10 against Calgary.

We had the Coyotes lineup earlier; here's the lineup the Flames will use in hopes of breaking their slide.

Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Alex Tanguay - Mike Cammalleri - Jarome Iginla
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman

Derek Smith - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal, with Henrik Karlsson the backup.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 4:57 PM

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

Coyotes, Smith look to extend winning streaks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will look to stay unbeaten in regulation for the 13th straight game Thursday when they host the Calgary Flames.

The franchise record is 14 (12-0-2), set in 1998 by a Coyotes team that featured Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Nikolai Khabibulin.

After starting the season with a 7-8-2 record at Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes have turned things around. Since Dec. 26, Phoenix is 10-2-2 in the last 14 games on home ice, outscoring opponents by a margin of 43-27 during that stretch.

The Coyotes still have five regulars, including three defensemen (Rostislav Klesla, Derek Morris and David Schlemko) on the injured list and none of those players are expected back before next week. But coach Dave Tippett has been impressed by the play of rookies Chris Summers and Michael Stone during this run -- the Coyotes are unbeaten (5-0-0) with them in the lineup -- and could have some difficult decisions once the sidelined blueliners return.

Mike Smith will make his 51st start of the season and shoot for his 12th consecutive win. The League’s First Star of the Month was 11-0-0 in February with a 1.42 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. He already owns the franchise record for consecutive wins, and a victory Thursday would gave him the longest streak in the League this year. A win also would give him 30 in a season for the first time in his career.

Here's the lineup the Coyotes likely will use tonight:

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Michael Stone - Chris Summers

Mike Smith will start in net, with Jason LaBarbera the backup.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 3:50 PM

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

Coyotes try to solve Canucks to cap amazing month

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Coyotes will shoot for an 11-0-1 February to cap an incredible month that shot them from 12th place in the Western Conference to third on Tuesday when they meet the Vancouver Canucks -- the only team to take a point away from Phoenix this month with a 2-1 shootout win over backup goalie Jason LaBarbera on Feb. 13 in Vancouver.

The Coyotes are 5-1-1 against Western Canadian teams this season, but still looking for their first win over the Canucks, who humbled Phoenix 5-0 in Glendale way back on the day after Thanksgiving.

What's most amazing about the Coyotes' streak is they have pulled it off with as many as six regulars out of the lineup -- and five will miss the Vancouver game. Defensemen Rostislav Klesla (upper body), Derek Morris (leave of absence, family illness) and David Schlemko (foot) all remain out but could be back within a week, and forwards Kyle Chipchura (wrist) and Gilbert Brule (upper body) are also still out.

The addition of Antoine Vermette from Columbus and the play of young defensemen Chris Summers and Michael Stone have allowed Phoenix to keep rolling. Goalie Mike Smith will go for his 11th straight win and has allowed just 15 goals in 10 starts in February.

Here is how the Coyotes will line up tonight:

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Paul Bissonnette - Boyd Gordon - Taylor Pyatt

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Michael Stone - Chris Summers

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 9:09 PM

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

Coyotes will feature patchwork lineup against Kings

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Coyotes 7-0-1 run during the month of February will undergo a stiff test Tuesday night, when Phoenix debuts a patchwork lineup featuring three players with less than 20 games of NHL experience.

The Coyotes will be without forwards Kyle Chipchura (wrist) and Taylor Pyatt (upper body) along with defensemen Rostislav Klesla (upper body), Derek Morris (family illness) and David Schlemko (foot) when they face the Los Angeles Kings in a battle of teams fighting for playoff position in the Western Conference.

Winger Matt Watkins, a fifth-round choice by Dallas in the 2005 draft, will make his NHL debut and skate with enforcer Paul Bissonnette and Gilbert Brule on Phoenix's makeshift fourth line. Phoenix’s third defensive pair will consist of 2008 third-round pick Michael Stone, who made his NHL debut in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win over Dallas, and Chris Summers, a grizzled veteran by comparison with 15 NHL games under his belt.

The Coyotes might be even more shorthanded but center Martin Hanzal, who suffered a lower body injury against the Stars Saturday, will be back against the Kings, keeping the No. 1 line with winger Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata intact.

The Kings get center Jarret Stoll back from injured reserve and he will play with Colin Fraser and Brad Richardson. Both teams have a grand total of one goal against the other in the last 125 minutes of hockey – with each coming away with 1-0 wins. Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick (1.87 GAA) and red-hot Phoenix goalie Mike Smith (seven straight wins, 2.25 GAA) will try to keep that trend going.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 02.21.2012 / 3:52 PM

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

Pacific rivals Coyotes, Kings square off again

The Coyotes and Kings get together again just five days after Mike Smith posted a 1-0 shutout in Los Angeles that will be more remembered for the fisticuffs than the finesse.

After Kings captain Dustin Brown leveled Phoenix defenseman Rusty Klesla with a high hit in the first period, Phoenix captain Shane Doan was right there to stick up for his teammate and instigate a fight. That was the first of four brawls in the game -- not a normal occurrence for a Phoenix team that had only 12 fighting majors all season. Will this be Round 2?

The Kings have to make sure they keep their eyes on the ball. While their offense continues to slump, the Coyotes are 7-0-1 in their last eight games and have moved from 12th place past Los Angeles and into seventh in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Kings and Flames. Phoenix will visit Calgary on Thursday.

The Coyotes, however, will enter this game shorthanded. On defense, Klesla is still out and Derek Morris has been given a leave of absence to deal with a family issue. David Schlemko is on track to return early from a foot surgery, but is still a week away. That leaves Chris Summers (15 NHL games) and Michael Stone, who made his debut in Saturday's 2-1 overtime win over Dallas, as the third defense pair again tonight.

Up front the Coyotes are hoping to have both forward Taylor Pyatt (upper body) and center Martin Hanzal (lower body) available tonight. Pyatt is expected to play, while Hanzal is a game-time decision. Hanzal left Saturday's game with the injury and if he doesn't play, the absence will have a domino effect throughout the top three lines.

One player Phoenix won't have is center Kyle Chipchura, who suffered a wrist injury against the Kings and will miss at least a week. Chipchura has been an integral part of Phoenix's fourth line.

The good news is Smith is healthy. The Coyotes goalie has won seven straight starts with a 0.99 goals-against average, including the 28-save shutout in Los Angeles. Smith has allowed one goal in his last two games against the Kings -- and it was a controversial overtime goal with three different Kings players standing in the crease that was the difference in another 1-0 game.

Here's how tonight's lineups could look:

COYOTES


Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Paul Bissonnette - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Michael Stone - Chris Summers

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

KINGS


The Kings should have Jarrett Stoll, activated off injured reserve today, back in the lineup and coach Darryl Sutter is talking about mixing up his lines that continue to struggle offensively. This is what the Kings looked like in the last game, but changes are coming.

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jordan Nolan
Kyle Clifford - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Dustin Penner - Colin Fraser - Brad Richardson

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Jack Johnson
Davis Drewiske - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 3:06 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flames, Coyotes

Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena:

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Michael Cammalleri - Blair Jones - Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma - Michael Backlund - Krys Kolanos
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie - Cory Sarich

Leland Irving
Miikka Kiprusoff

After collecting the 300th win of his career against his former team last night in San Jose, Kiprusoff is expected to take the night off and Irving will get the start against the Coyotes. Calgary will play the Coyotes four times in the final third of the season and the teams are side-by-side in the standings. The winner of the series could have a lot to do with who has the best chance at a playoff spot. The Flames dress only 12 forwards with ex-Coyote Lee Stempniak (ankle) and Curtis Glencoss (knee) both out indefinitely.

COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Taylor Pyatt - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rostislav Klesla
Derek Morris - Michal Rozsival

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

The Coyotes are looking for a their fourth win in six days after Tuesday 4-1 win in Dallas. The six points in four days allowed the Coyotes to leap past three teams and move back into the playoff picture. The line of Whitney, Hanzal and Vrbata has produced 8 goals and 22 points in the last six games. The Coyotes are missing only defenseman David Schlemko, who is out for the season following foot surgery.


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Monday, 02.06.2012 / 3:40 PM

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

Projected lineups for Red Wings, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups project for tonight's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings at Jobing.com Arena:

RED WINGS

Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl

Joey MacDonald
Ty Conklin

The Red Wings will have MacDonald make his first NHL start in goal this season tonight against the Coyotes. With starter Jimmy Howard out with a broken right index finger and Conklin struggling in the first period in Edmonton on Saturday, MacDonald came on for the final two periods and overtime to stop 22 of 23 shots and give his team a chance to steal a point in the 5-4 loss to the Oilers.

Stuart missed the morning skate with a touch of the flu but is expected to go. Mike Commodore would be the replacement if Stuart is a scratch.

Cleary, an ex-Coyote, cut his morning skate short due to a sore left knee, but will likely take part in his 800th NHL game tonight. If Cleary sits, Jan Mursak would get the start.

COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Taylor Pyatt - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rostislav Klesla
Derek Morris - Michal Rozsival

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

The Coyotes are looking for a second big win in three days after Saturday’s 5-3 win over San Jose. Each of Phoenix’s top six forwards had two-point games and Smith bounced back from a back loss to Anaheim with 32 saves. With Morris back in the lineup, the Coyotes are missing only defenseman David Schlemko, who is out for the season following foot surgery.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 4:04 PM

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

Projected lineups for Senators, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Ottawa Senators visit the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena:

SENATORS
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Bobby Butler
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Zenon Konopka - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner

Craig Anderson
Alex Auld

Injuries
C Peter Regin (shoulder), indefintely
C Jesse Winchester (concussion), indefinitely
D Brian Lee (lower body), indefinitely
 
Turris will make his return to Phoenix for the first time since a Dec. 17 trade with the Senators. He was booed while he was a Coyote, so don't expect that to change tonight. Anderson was pulled in Monday's loss to the Kings, but is expected to start tonight.

COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Rostislav Klesla
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
Michal Rozsival - Chris Summers

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Injuries
D David Schlemko (foot), out for the rest of the season
D Derek Morris (lower body), day-to-day
C Daymond Langkow (face), questionable
 
Phoenix will get Aucoin back on defense -- just in time to replace the injured Morris. Langkow is a game-time decision and would replace Marc-Antonie Pouliot in the lineup if he can go, moving between Korpikoski and Doan with Gordon dropping down to the third line.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 9:12 PM

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

Hanzal back in Phoenix starting lineup

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, who has missed the last 12 games due to an upper body injury, is back in the starting lineup tonight as they take on the Detroit Red Wings.
 
The Coyotes were 3-5-4 in the 12 games without Hanzal. who will start the game between wingers Taylor Pyatt and Mikkel Boedker. Hanzal hasn't played since being hit in the head with a stick in a Dec. 23 home loss to the St. Louis Blues. Hanzal accompanied the team to Anaheim on Wednesday but returned to Phoenix to be present for the birth of his first child.
 
Marc-Antonie Pouliot, who had two assists in eight games filling Hanzal's center spot, was a healthy scratch.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 4:14 PM

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

Projected lineups for Red Wings, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Phoenix Coyotes welcome in the Detroit Red Wings to Jobing.com Arena:

RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom
 
Nicklas LidstromIan White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl
 
Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin

Emmerton and Kindl are back in the lineup, replacing Jan Mursak and Mike Commodore. Howard leads the NHL with 27 wins and has a 1.98 goals-against average, and he's 6-0-1 with a 2.24 GAA in his last seven road starts against the Coyotes. He's won six straight starts overall versus Phoenix.

The Red Wings are 14-2-2 in Phoenix since the start of 2005-06 season.
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Marc-Antoine Pouliot - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule
 
Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rostislav Klesla
Michal Rozsival - Chris Summers
 
Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

The Coyotes are 9-8-3 at home this season, but have won their last two home games by a combined score of 11-2.

Martin Hanzal, who has missed the last 12 games with a lower body injury, participated in an optional morning skate on Thursday (the Coyotes played Wednesday night in Anaheim) and is a game-time decision for tonight. His return would result in the juggling of at least three and possibly four lines.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 8:07 PM

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

Aucoin joins Coyotes' injury list

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adrian Aucoin is enduring a rough month, much like his team.

Aucoin rejoined the Phoenix injury list after taking a deflected puck in the right eye during Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Kings. He won't play when his former team, the New York Islanders, come to Jobing.com Arena.

Aucoin, who returned to the lineup just over a week ago after missing five games with a lower-body injury, left the ice in pain again when he took a puck deflected off the stick of Los Angeles' Mike Richards in the right eye in the first period. He left the ice and didn't return. The Coyotes lost 1-0 in overtime and enter Saturday with a 1-4-2 record in their last seven games

Derek Morris, who has been a healthy scratch for four straight games, will replace Aucoin in the lineup.

Aucoin joins centers Martin Hanzal (upper body) and Boyd Gordon (lower body) on the injury list. But the Coyotes will get one player back Saturday when another ex-Islander, Raffi Torres, returns from a two-game suspension for his Dec. 31 hit in Minnesota.

The Islanders lost 4-2 in Anaheim on Friday -- and also lost center Marty Reasoner, who suffered a broken right hand when he blocked a shot early in the second period and did not return.

The Coyotes play only their second home game since Christmas during a string that had them playing 10 of 13 games on the road. They head back out on Monday for another three-game Eastern trip -- they visit the New York Rangers, Detroit and Columbus. By next weekend, they will have played 26 of their first 46 games on the road.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 12.28.2011 / 8:39 PM

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

Coyotes missing key players vs. Bruins

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes will play in front of a rare full house tonight at Jobing.com Arena. Too bad they can't say the same thing about their roster.
 
Goalie Mike Smith and centers Boyd Gordon and Martin Hanzal remain out of the lineup as the Coyotes face the red-hot, defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins before a standing-room-only crowd that's expected to carry a northeastern accent.
 
Smith is back on the ice but has not taken part in practice since suffering a groin injury a week ago in Florida. Backup Jason LaBarbera, who has given up 10 goals on 76 shots in the three starts he's made in Smith's absence, will make a fourth straight start and face the Bruins for the first time in his eight-year NHL career.
 
Gordon (lower body) was placed on injured reserve as the Coyotes recalled 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele from Portland of the American Hockey League. Miele is expected to play in his sixth NHL game. Hanzal hasn't been seen since taking a David Backes stick to the head on Saturday night; he's out with an upper body injury.
 
The Coyotes will also be without veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who will miss his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. Aucoin took part in the optional skate Wednesday morning and was expected to dress, but was a late scratch. Derek Morris will play in his stead.
 
Tuukka Rask, who comes into the game with back-to-back shutouts and a 152-minute shutout streak, will make his third straight start as the Bruins go for their seventh straight win. Boston has won nine of its last 10 road games.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 6:33 PM

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

Coyotes say Mike Smith is day-to-day

Much to the Phoenix Coyotes' relief, it appears goalie Mike Smith wasn't as badly injured as it first appeared.
 
Smith, who had to be helped from the ice 3:29 into the third period of Tuesday's 2-1 win in Florida, is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes recalled goalie Justin Pogge from Portland for the second time in a week -- five days ago he arrived to sub for backup Jason LaBarbera -- to take Smith's place on the roster.
 
"He's day to day," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett told Coyotes.com Wednesday in Carolina, where the Coyotes will face the Hurricanes. "He just had a little tweak and we're hoping it's not too serious."
 
The Coyotes will keep three goalies on the roster. They placed defenseman Adrian Aucoin (lower body) on the injured list to open a spot on the roster.
 
Smith was credited with the win and improved to 15-10-3, setting a career high in wins. LaBarbera held the Panthers scoreless in the final 16:31, stopping Stephen Weiss of the Panthers on a penalty shot with 24.5 seconds to play -- the puck stopped right on the goal line -- to preserve the win.
 
Smith was moving from side to side positionally and experienced no contact when he fell face-first to the ice in pain, suffering what appeared to be an upper leg or groin injury. He rolled on the ice in pain before medical personnel reached him and, eventually, helped him from the ice.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 2:47 PM

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

Coyotes hope to end slide vs. Oilers

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Coyotes will be looking to avoid their first four-game regulation-time losing streak in coach Dave Tippett's tenure tonight when they host the Edmonton Oilers at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes have had only two losing streaks of three games or more since Tippett took over to begin the 2009-10 season. but the Coyotes are 2-5-0 in December and lost their third straight Wednesday, a 4-1 loss in Anaheim on Wednesday. The Coyotes were outscored 13-4 in losses at Detroit, home against Minnesota and at the Ducks, and have been outscored 8-0 in the first period of those games. Phoenix has allowed 13 first-period goals in its last six games, dating to a 4-2 loss against Philadelphia on Dec. 3, when they allowed four goals in the first period.
 
The Oilers are struggling as well, having won just two of their last eight games (2-5-1), including a 3-0 loss in Calgary on Saturday.

They will get a lift tonight, though, with the addition of Taylor Hall. who hasn't played since suffering a shoulder injury Nov. 26 at Colorado. Hall will play on the second line Thursday, with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. Ryan Smyth, who had been playing in Hall's spot, will slide to the third line, alongside ex-Coyote Eric Belanger and Ryan Jones.
 
Defenseman Corey Potter (knee) also is ready to play after sitting out since Nov. 17 with a knee injury. But Edmonton coach Tom Renney would not confirm at the morning skate whether Potter would make his return Thursday. If Potter does return, he likely would take Colten Teubert's spot in the lineup.
 
Devan Dubnyk, who was in net for the Oilers' 4-2 loss to Coyotes on Nov. 5, will get the start tonight. Former Coyotes Nikolai Khabibulin didn't play in the loss to the Flames and sat out practice this week, as well, although he said he's not injured -- was just resting.

OILERS
Sam Gagner - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth - Eric Belanger - Ryan Jones
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Ryan Whitney - Jeff Petry
Theo Peckham - Colten Teuberg

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal, with Nikolai Khabibulin the backup.

COYOTES
Mikkel Boedker - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres  - Kyle Turris - Kyle Chipchura

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin
David Schlemko - Michal Rozsival

Jason LaBarbera will start in goal, with Mike Smith backing him up.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 8:55 PM

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

Coyotes play without Langkow; Canadiens minus Cammalleri

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Coyotes get one center back tonight, but another will be missing.
 
Martin Hanzal, who has missed the past two games with a lower body injury, will be back in the lineup tonight as the Coyotes wrap up a three-game homestand against Montreal. Hanzal, who had three goals and seven points in the five games prior to his injury, will fill the middle between wingers Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata -- a trio that produced seven goals and 17 points in three games before Hanzal went down.
 
But as Hanzal returns, the Coyotes will be missing center Daymond Langkow, who has been away from the team since Tuesday because of a death in the family. Boyd Gordon, who had a goal and an assist Saturday against Edmonton, skated between wingers Lauri Korpikoski and Shane Doan at Thursday's skate.
 
Montreal will play without left wing Mike Cammalleri, who suffered a knee-on-knee collision in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 11.08.2011 / 5:18 PM

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

Injured defenseman Rozsival skates for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the first time in a month, Phoenix defenseman Michal Rozsival took to the ice Tuesday and skated for about 15 minutes on his own before practice at Jobing.com Arena.

Rozsival, 33, hasn't played since suffering a facial injury on Oct. 8 in the first period of the season opener at San Jose when a slap shot off the stick of Sharks winger Patrick Marleau deflected off another stick and into Rozsival's face. The facial injuries have healed, but the post-concussive symptoms have remained and Rozsival has been unable to skate for the last month.
 
David Schlemko has stepped into Rozsival's starting spot and played very well. The Coyotes have been carrying only six defensemen for the last two weeks and are about to head into the most daunting stretch of the season, beginning with a five-game road trip that begins, ironically, in San Jose on Saturday. Rozsival isn't anywhere close to playing, but the sight of him back on the ice was a positive step.
 
"He skated 15 minutes and there seemed to be no ill-effect from that, so we'll continue to ramp that up," coach Dave Tippett said. "It's hard to put any timetable on it, but it's good to see him on the ice. This has been longer that we would have thought, but when your dealing with the concussion syndrome ... I don't think anyone expected Sidney Crosby to be out as long as he has, either. Today was a positive step getting him on the ice, and we hope he can move forward."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 4:02 PM

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

Coyotes search for more offense against hot Oilers

GLENDALE, Ariz. – After being shut out for the second time in seven home games on Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes will be looking for an infusion of offense Saturday when they take on one of the NHL’s hottest teams in the Edmonton Oilers.
 
It won't hurt to have their No. 1 goalie in the lineup either. Mike Smith is 4-0-1 and has allowed only 12 goals, and he will be back between the pipes after sitting out Thursday because the team was playing on back-to-back nights. Jason LaBarbera played well, but couldn't do everything in a 2-0 loss to Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators. The Coyotes are now just 3-3-1 at home this season, where they have played seven of their first 12 games and are in the midst of another four-contest homestand.
 
The Edmonton Oilers are on a six-game winning streak and Nikolai Khabibulin, a Scottsdale resident and the Coyotes goalie for the first four years the team was in Phoenix, is coming off a shutout winThursday in Los Angeles. He will sit out tonight, however, as Edmonton goes with Devan Dubnyk.
 
The Coyotes had their three-game winning streak smothered by Rinne and the Predators and there will be at least one shake-up to the forwards when Cal O’Reilly, obtained from Nashville a week ago but battling a groin injury, will make his Phoenix debut. To make room for O’Reilly on the active roster, the Coyotes shipped center Andy Miele – who was scoreless but showed promise in a five-game stint with the team – back to Portland of the American Hockey League.
 
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said center Martin Hanzal, who missed the loss to the Predators with a lowe- body injury suffered late in Wednesday’s win at Colorado, will be a game-time decision. But the Coyotes have five days off before they play again after tonight and the team could give the valuable Hanzal the full five days to recover.
 
Kyle Chipchura, who was brought up from Portland on Thursday and played against Nashville, would be the fourth center for Phoenix tonight.
 
Edmonton, a team picked by many to be among the worst in the League, is tied for second in the Western Conference with an 8-2-2 record and leads the League in goals against with 18 in their first 12 games. Khabibulin has been a big part of that, but the Oilers also lead the League in blocked shots and Ladislav Smid leads all individuals with 45.
 
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

EDMONTON

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Jones
Magnus Paajarvi - Eric Belanger - Sam Gagner
Ben Eager - Anton Lander - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Corey Potter - Jeff Petry
Theo Peckham - Colten Teubert

Devan Dubnyk
Nikolai Khabibulin
 
PHOENIX

Lauri Korpikoski  - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Boyd Gordon - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Cal O’Reilly - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Patrick O'Sullivan

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 4:54 PM

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

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Predators

Here's how the lineups could look Thursday night when the Phoenix Coyotes host the Nashville Predators at Jobing.com Arena:

COYOTES
Lauri Korpikoski - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Andy Miele - Patrick O'Sullivan

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Jason LaBarbera
Mike Smith

PREDATORS
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Martin Erat
Jordin Tootoo - Jerred Smithson - Craig Smith
Matt Halischuk - Blake Geoffrion - Niclas Bergfors

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Francis Bouillon - Kevin Klein
Jack Hillen - Jonathon Blum

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 4:50 PM

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

Coyotes turn to LaBarbera, could miss Hanzal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The line of Ray Whitney, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata and the goaltending of Mike Smith have been the major players in a three-game winning streak and a 4-0-1 run that the Phoenix Coyotes take into tonight's game with the Nashville at Jobing.com Arena.
 
But both ingredients could be missing against the Predators -- one scripted, the other unexpected.
 
Smith will get the night off after his 3-1 victory over the Avalanche in Colorado on Wednesday. Smith was in goal for the entire 4-0-1 run and allowed only 12 goals in the five games, improving his record to 5-2-1 for the season. Jason LaBarbera, who beat the Predators 5-2 in Nashville on Oct. 13, will get his third start of the season as the Coyotes face their first back-to-back situation of the season.
 
And while the Whitney-Hanzal-Vrbata line has produced 7 goals and 17 points in the last three games -- including 2 goals by Vrbata, 2 assists by Whitney and 1 helper by Hanzal against the Avalanche -- the trio might be broken up tonight due to injury. Hanzal appeared to suffer an injury late in Wednesday's game. The Coyotes had an optional skate Thursday, but Kyle Chipchura was summoned from AHL Portland and coach Dave Tippett said he would be in the lineup against the Predators, fueling speculation that Hanzal could be a scratch tonight.
 
Meanwhile, the Predators will get some regulars back in the lineup and have a happy goalie between the pipes.
 
Forwards Mike Fisher (upper-body injury) and Sergei Kostitsyn (lower-body injury) took part in the morning skate and are expected to return to the lineup against Phoenix for this opening game of a four-game Western road trip.

Goalie Pekka Rinne was given quite a 29th birthday present Thursday, signing a seven-year extension for $49 million, the richest contract in Predators history. Renne, who would have been a restricted free agent at the end of the season, is 5-4-2 so far this year with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He will start tonight against the Coyotes.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 4:36 PM

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

Whitney healthy, producing for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After nine games last season, Ray Whitney had four points, no goals and one hand injury that was making even the prospect of playing a painful one.
 
This year, at the age of 39, Whitney is healthy and doing what he does best -- producing. After collecting two goals and an assist in a 5-3 win Thursday against New Jersey. Whitney has 10 points in the first nine games and is now back with center Martin Hanzal and right wing Radim Vrbata -- a line that was very productive much of last season.
 
"I enjoyed playing with Shane (Doan) and Dayomond (Langkow) as well, but sometimes a switch can benefit a lot of players," Whitney said. "I am comfortable with Marty and Radim because we know each other. They play a style I'm familiar with."
 
Whitney said the hand injury had more impact than he first realized last year and being healthy from the start this season brings confidence.
 
"It bothered me for a couple of months and really affected the areas of my game that are important from a passing and shooting standpoint," Whitney said. "I couldn't shoot the puck; it was tough hanging on to my stick at times. Put that together with learning a new system and it made for a difficult start."
 
The Coyotes are looking for back-to-back wins for the second time this season tonight when they face the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings beat the Coyotes 2-0 last Thursday night in Arizona, with Jonathan Quick registering the second of three consecutive shutouts. Phoenix has won two of three games since, scoring five goals in each of the victories.
 
Los Angeles will get one player back tonight but will be without another. Defenseman Drew Doughty will be back in the lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury. Left wing Simon Gagne will sit out the game with an undisclosed injury, meaning Dustin Penner will move up to his spot alongside Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams on the first line.
 
The Coyotes have added two players since the win over the Devils -- one new face and one familiar one. General manager Don Maloney acquired center Cal O’Reilly from the Nashville Predators on Friday in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2012 Entry Draft. Saturday, Phoenix re-acquired winger Brett MacLean on waivers from the Winnipeg Jets. MacLean is likely headed to Portland of the American Hockey League. 

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
 
LOS ANGELES

Dustin Penner - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Scott Parse - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Brad Richardson - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Ethan Moreau

Willie Mitchell - Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi - Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier

PHOENIX
 
Mikkel Boedker - Andy Miele - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Patrick O'Sullivan

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 5:24 PM

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

Tippett shaking things up with Coyotes' lines

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Whether he's impressed with his young players or disappointed with his veterans after eight games this season, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett has shaken up all four of his forward line combinations after a 3-3-2 start that isn't sitting well with anyone.
 
The veteran No. 1 line of Ray Whitney, Daymond Langkow and captain Shane Doan has been broken up and the players scattered among the other lines. Rookie center Andy Miele earned a promotion after only his second NHL game and is now centering a line with Doan and young winger Mikkel Boedker. All three earned plenty of ice time in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to Dallas.
 
Miele has yet to record his first NHL point and has been weak on faceoffs (0-5 against Dallas), but his offensive creativity is obvious and the Coyotes, who have scored two goals or less in three of the last four games, could use the boost.
 
Langkow, off to a very slow start with just 1 goal in the first eight games, was dropped to the fourth line during the second period of the Dallas game and was practicing with winger Patrick O'Sullivan and Taylor Pyatt on Thursday. Whitney has moved into Boedker's spot alongside Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. That line was very effective at times last season and might succeed in giving a jump-start to Vrbata, who also has 1 goal in the first eight games and has struggled to find his groove.
 
At this time, the Coyotes are happy to see any opponent not named the Stars, after Dallas rallied from a goal down for the second time in 15 days and turned what looked like a Phoenix win into an eventual shootout loss. But the Phoenix franchise has had particular success on home ice against the Devils, winning 23 of 33 all-time meetings (23-7-3), including six of nine meetings since moving to Arizona. The Devils haven't beaten the Coyotes on the road since the 2002-03 season and will be playing without Hall of Fame goalie-to-be Martin Brodeur, who will miss his fifth straight game with a bruised right shoulder.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 5:22 PM

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

Hedberg going strong for Devils

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The New Jersey Devils have gotten great efforts from Martin Brodeur's backup, Johan Hedberg, who has gone 4-1-1 with a 1.86 goals-against average and has kept New Jersey rolling early in the season.

Brodeur missed his fourth straight full game Tuesday night with a bruised right shoulder and isn't likely to play on the final two games of the current road trip. He is with the team, skating and working on as much of his game as he can, including shot work.

Ryan Carter, claimed off waivers from the Panthers earlier this week, makes his New Jersey debut centering the fourth line. Rod Pelley will be a healthy scratch.

Center Jacob Josefson will miss 3-4 months after undergoing surgery to repair a broken right clavicle.

Left wing Eric Boulton had an MRI on the right hand he injured punching Douglas Murray in the head and was again out of the lineup Tuesday night. "The MRI was good," he said. "There is some soft tissue damage I still have to have some treatment on. I should be day-to-day."

The update on center Travis Zajac is that he's likely out until after Christmas as he rehabs the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered in offseason skating.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 5:11 PM

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

Projected lineups for Devils, Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are how the lineups could look when the New Jersey Devils face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing.com Arena:

DEVILS
Ilya Kovalchuk - Zach Parise - Nick Palmieri
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Brad Mills - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Henrik Tallinder - Adam Larsson
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Johan Hedberg is expected to start in goal with Keith Kinkaid as his backup.
 
COYOTES
Mikkel Boedker - Andy Miele - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Patrick O'Sullivan

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal with Jason LaBarbera as his backup.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:34 PM

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

Coyotes hoping to get more sticks hot

The Coyotes were looking for a jump in offense after scoring two goals in two games in home losses to Chicago and Los Angeles. And two key players to the Phoenix offense, Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle, responded with their first goals of the season as the Coyotes used three goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to beat Anaheim 5-4 on Sunday.

"It was good to see those guys get on the board for us. Hanzal had two big goals early in the game and Yandle wound up getting the game-winner," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Boyd Gordon got his first goal as well. We're the kind of team where everybody has to contribute, so that game was a good sign."

Now Phoenix would like to see a few more sticks get hot as it opens a three-game homestand against the Dallas Stars tonight. The Coyotes had the Stars shut out for more than 59 minutes in Dallas on Oct. 10 before the Stars forced overtime and eventually prevailed 2-1 in a shootout. Phoenix had many offensive opportunities in that game to give ex-Star goalie Mike Smith a bigger cushion, and the season-high five goals against the Ducks is a positive sign.

"Dallas is playing a solid team game and they are willing a lot of close game like the one against us, Tippett said. "We've been kind of up and down and we'd like to put together a few games together and get on a run like Dallas has done. We gave up more goals than we'd like but in the end we did what we had to do to win. We want to clean some things up."

The Coyotes shook up their fourth line Sunday, trading center Petteri Nokelainen to Montreal and bringing up collegiate scoring machine Andy Miele from Portland of the AHL. Miele, getting a shot to provide some of the punch lost during the Kyle Turris contract holdout, had a two-goal, three assist game against Manchester last week, prompting the Coyotes to revamp their fourth line. Offensive-minded Patrick O'Sullivan got the start over enforcer Paul Bissonnette as well, although the selection between those two will likely be a game-time decision.

The game will also feature the return to Glendale of popular center Vernon Fiddler, who led the team in faceoff percentage and was a big part of Phoenix's back-to-back playoff runs from 2009-11. Fiddler signed with Dallas as a free agent in the summer, but the Coyotes have found his replacement to be a good fit so far.

Gordon currently leads the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 63.8 percent and has won 53 of 79 draws (67 percent) over the last five games. Gordon not only scored his first goal against the Ducks, he won 12 of 17 faceoffs. He is also a main cog on the Phoenix power-play unit that has allowed just two goals since the season opener and stopped a potent Anaheim power play on all five chances (10 shots) on Sunday.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:30 PM

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

Projected lineups for Stars, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups are projected to look when the Dallas Stars face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing.com Arena:

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal with Andrew Raycroft serving as his backup.

COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Patrick O'Sullivan - Andy Miele - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal with Jason LaBarbera serving as his backup.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 4:33 PM

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

Coyotes need better group effort against Kings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After five games, the Coyotes have a pretty clear picture of what they have to do to be competitive every night this season -- and what kind of effort flat out won't get it done.

In collecting five of six points against Dallas, Nashville and Winnipeg, the Coyotes received contributions from all four lines, killed every enemy power play (16 straight at one point) and got scoring help from their defense.

But in their two losses, the Coyotes weren't even close to the same team. They were outscored 11-5, outshot 87-45 and outclassed by San Jose and Chicago, two speedy and skilled teams they have to frustrate in order to survive.

"The other night, we didn't play well (a 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks), and that has been our sole focus for the last day and a half -- how are we going to get better," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We have to play well as a group. If we're just a bunch of individuals running around like chickens with their heads cut off, there's not a lot we can do. We need five players working together."

Mike Smith, who has allowed two goals in his last two starts -- an overtime loss in Dallas and a win over Winnipeg, gets the start in goal. The Coyotes are also leaning toward going with speed over size with Patrick O'Sullivan replacing Paul Bissonnette on the fourth line.

Here's how the lineups for Thursday night's game might look:
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Patrick O'Sullivan - Petteri Nokelainen - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith will be backed up by Jason LaBarbera in net.
 
KINGS
Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Ethan Moreau - Jarret Stoll - Brad Richardson
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Trent Hunter

Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Rob Scuderi - Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick will be backed up by Jonathan Bernier in net.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 3:19 PM

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

Lineups for Coyotes, Blackhawks

Here are the likely lineups for the Blackhawks and Coyotes game tonight in Phoenix:

COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Paul Bissonnette - Petteri Nokelainen - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Jason LaBarbera, who has a career 4-0-0 record with a 2.01 goals-against average against the Blackhawks, will start in goal. Mike Smith will be the backup.

BLACKHAWKS
Andrew Brunette - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Sharp
Daniel Carcillo - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Viktor Stalberg - Marcus Kruger - Jamal Mayers

Duncan Keith - Nick Leddy
Brent Seabrook - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Steve Montador - Sean O'Donnell

Corey Crawford will start in goal, with Ray Emery the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 10.15.2011 / 3:21 PM

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

Phoenix's Doan set to face "old" team

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shane Doan has never been traded, never been waved, never turned down a contact offer from the team that drafted him 16 years ago. But today, he's facing his old team.

The Phoenix Coyotes, who arrived from Winnipeg in 1996, tonight welcome the new Jets – not the same as the old Jets – in a weird situation. The Jets, who came from Atlanta this summer, face the Coyotes, who still have a few of the old Jets like Doan, equipment chief Stan Wilson and Director of Public Relations Rich Nairn in the organization now with firmly entrenched lives in the Arizona desert.

Doan, who had seven goals and 17 points in his first and only season in Manitoba, said he was "incredibly glad" to see a team back in Winnipeg. But he's also glad that team didn't come from Arizona, where the ownership situation remains in flux and the future remains uncertain.

He is in the final year of his contract, and he and general manager Don Maloney have agreed to table extension talks aimed at having him finish his career with the Coyotes in hopes that one of two interested suitors complete a deal to buy the team from the NHL.

Meanwhile in Winnipeg, there is a packed building, a huge waiting list for tickets and a stable situation with new ownership.

"You look at the emotion, the attachment, the passion … the opportunity (for Winnipeg) to get a team back is special and for them to have that chance is going to be a lot of fun," Doan said. "Our team and our organization is connected to them and that makes it pretty special. They gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL and I will always be grateful for the incredible opportunity to play there."

Doan is also one goal away from 300 in his career after getting three in the first three games, all on the road this season. He capped a 5-2 win in Nashville Thursday with an empty-netter to give Phoenix a 1-1-1 road trip and spoil the Predators' home opener.

Now the skate is on the other foot: the Coyotes will be dealing with the pomp and circumstance of a home opener and must compose their emotions and channel it into a good start. Phoenix scored three times in the first period against Nashville and never looked back.

Here's a look at the projected lineups:

COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon -Lauri Korpikoski
Paul Bissonnette - Peterri Nokelainen - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith

JETS

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Kyle Wellwood
Brett MacLean - Alexander Burmistrov - Nik Antropov
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Johnny Oduva - Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom - Ron Hainsey
Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian

Ondrej Pavelec




Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13-14 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie