On Tuesday, the Phoenix Coyotes tuned out all the distractions that present themselves as the NHL trading deadline approaches and focused their attention on Thursday's contest against the Dallas Stars.
"It's certainly nice to be back with the team and preparing for the rest of the season, " said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "Hopefully we will continue the good effort we have been practicing with and win our next two home games."
While the players and coaches preparing for a final run at the post-season, there is no denying that player movement is a possibility as the trading deadline nears and the only way to keep from getting caught up in the rumors and speculations is to keep your attention on the next game.
"The bottom line here is that our goal is to win a championship and obviously we need to do things to get better, but that being said, we are not going to take away from our core of young players and there will be no fire-sale or unloading of players," said Gretzky.
Despite currently being on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in, the Coyotes are convinced that they have the ability to climb back into a playoff spot.
"Absolutely we can still make it, but for us to get there a couple things need to happen," said Gretzky. "First, and I hate putting pressure on the goalies, but we need our goaltender to get really hot, that leads to success for every team. Second, the players need to believe themselves that we can win and finally, we need to put together a stretch where we win six or seven in a row. If we do that, we will put ourselves in a good position to make the playoffs."
MORRIS GETTING CLOSER
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris took part in his second full practice session on Tuesday as he works to get back into games.
"It is getting closer," said Morris. I am getting back to closing gaps and closing in on guys, so it's getting closer. The biggest thing is being able to stop and take off quickly. You can get away with it a little bit in practice, but I am getting close being ready for game action."
While no return date has been announced for Morris, he is planning on joining the Coyotes on their upcoming two-game road trip next week.
"I would like to be in those games," said Morris. "We just want to make sure that when I come back I am able to go hard because if I can't go full speed, I am a liability to the team and we want to make sure we are ready to go."
SLAP OUT HUNGER
The Arizona Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (AFRA) and the Phoenix Coyotes have teamed up to help "Slap Out Hunger" in Arizona!
To help celebrate, bring a two-can food donation or a $5.00 cash donation per person to the Glendale Arena on Saturday, March 11th from 1:00pm-2:30pm to skate on the Coyotes ice and meet Coyotes Television Color Analyst Darren Pang, Coyotes Mascot Howler and Phoenix Coyotes Associate Coach Barry Smith. All skaters must enter at Gate 3, located at the Northwest corner of Glendale Arena. As an added bonus, you will receive 2 tickets for the price of 1 for select Coyotes home games in March.