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At the Rink blog

Coyotes could get blue line boost in South Florida

Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 1:57 PM

By Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Coyotes could get blue line boost in South Florida
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Phoenix Coyotes will have one of their defensemen back Tuesday night and they could have a new one in the lineup as well.

Coach Dave Tippett said after the morning skate that Rostislav Klesla would return after missing the last seven games because of a lower-body injury.

But Tippett said he hadn’t decided whether to play David Rundblad, who was acquired Saturday in the trade that sent Kyle Turris to Ottawa.

“He’s up for selection,” Tippett said. “He’s not ruled out yet, but he’s not ruled in, either.”

Rundblad, who did not play in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers, had one goal and three assists in 24 games with Ottawa.

Here’s the projected lineup for the Coyotes:

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

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

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Injuries continue to force the Florida Panthers to shuffle their lineup.

Forward Bill Thomas was signed to a two-way contract Tuesday and should be in the lineup against Phoenix. Thomas had three goals and four assists in 24 games for the Panthers last season, but has played in San Antonio all season.

He will replace Sean Bergenheim, who is out with a groin injury. He was injured Sunday in a 3-2 overtime victory against Carolina after scoring his third goal in two games. Coach Kevin Dineen said he didn’t have a timetable for how long Bergenheim would be out of action. Bergenheim missed seven games earlier this season with another lower-body injury.

In another move, Tim Kennedy will skate up front after being recalled from San Antonio of the AHL for the third time this season. Kennedy will replace Greg Rallo, who was sent back down after making his NHL debut at the age of 30 on Sunday.

“We’re not looking to flip bodies right now and keep on moving guys in and out of the lineup,” Dineen said. “We want to find the right players and I know Tim Kennedy is the right guy for the job. He’s been here for the majority of the year and from everything that I understand Bill Thomas has put in a good stretch of hockey and deserves an opportunity to come back and play some games in a Panthers uniform.”

Here’s the projected lineup for the Panthers:

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Marco Sturm - Tomas Kopecky - Bill Thomas
Shawn Matthias - Mike Santorelli - Mikael Samuelsson
Krystofer Barch - Tim Kennedy - Matt Bradley

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen
Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff