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Coyotes Embrace Long Trip, Chance to Bond

Arizona begins a five-game journey on Tuesday at the Islanders

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

NEW YORK - The Coyotes are starting a challenging five-game road trip on Tuesday still seeking their first win of the season after eight tries.

Morale at the team's practice on Monday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., was good because the consensus around the team is that the current won-loss record is not indicative of the team they are or, more importantly, the team they feel they can still become.

Center Brad Richardson likened the team's funk to a few he experienced as a member of the Los Angeles Kings in 2011-12. That team endured two five-game losing streaks within the first 30 games of the season and eventually won the Stanley Cup as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

"Things can get turned around, you just can't let it go on for too long," Richardson said. "We've had some good games. We were right there and then at the end they score with just a few minutes left. That's happened a few times, but one win could change everything around and get some bounces going our way. Obviously you want to get off to a good start and that didn't happen. We have to try to figure out a way to turn it around and just get one (win) and hopefully that can spur us and turn us the other way."

Arizona will begin its trip vs. the New York Islanders, who have earned five out of a possible six points at home. Games vs. the New York Rangers, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Detroit will follow, in that order, every other night, except for the games at Philadelphia and Detroit, which will be played on back-to-back nights next week. The five teams are a combined 10-8-4 at home this season. 

"Everybody knows road trips are tough, especially when they are so long," forward Tobias Rieder said. "I think it's a good thing. We have time to grow together as a team more and start winning."

Forward Jordan Martinook agreed.

"Whenever a team gets on the road it feels like you can kind of come together that way," Martinook said. "There's more of a real team-like feel on the road. Hopefully we can continue that good building of a team, and hopefully it will translate into wins."

The Coyotes flew to New York on Sunday, an off day, and practiced later in the day on Monday in an effort to get the players better acclimated to the time change. Travel for the first three games of the trip, all in the New York City area, will be minimal, and being anchored in the same hotel in Lower Manhattan for five nights is a plus.

"It's always fun being in the big city and playing the teams here," Rieder said. "It should be exciting. I don't think there's any distractions here. Everyone is a professional and we know what we're here for, so it's pretty easy to focus on hockey."

 

Head Coach Rick Tocchet, a former player who skated in 1,144 NHL games, is hoping the players will use the time together to speak openly to each other about the 0-7-1 start to the season.  

"It's big because you're together a lot, whether it's dinners, practices, hotel lobbies," Tocchet said. "...You're with the guys a lot. Some things might come up. You might say to a player, 'Hey man, we need you to do this' or 'You haven't been playing hard enough.' Things come up when you're around a person a lot. So I think that's why people say this bonding stuff, it does work."   

Video: Coyotes Embrace 5-Game Trip

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