GLENDALE - Injuries are part of hockey, and the Coyotes are suddenly dealing with one involving forward Brendan Perlini. Arizona placed Perlini on the injured-reserve list on Wednesday after he suffered an upper-body injury early in Tuesday's game at Vegas.
With Perlini sidelined, the Coyotes have turned to forward Emerson Etem to fill his roster spot. Arizona recalled Etem, 25, from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, and he practiced with the team at Gila River Arena.
The Coyotes signed Etem in July for just this reason, to provide depth at forward. He likely will make his Arizona debut on Thursday when the Coyotes host Detroit.
Etem has played 173 NHL games, but just three since the 2015-16 campaign. Early last season, while with Anaheim, Etem underwent knee surgery to repair wear and tear and he's been working hard to get back to the NHL ever since.
"It's just good to be back and fully healthy," Etem said. "Just to be in the locker room with the guys and just to experience it again everyday, it definitely gets you motivated. You miss it a lot when something like that happens and you're out for so long."
Etem was one of the final forwards cut from training camp, and he started the season with Tucson. He notched a goal and an assist in the AHL team's first game last Saturday.
"I thought I had a good camp," Etem said. "It definitely came down to numbers. There are a lot of young guys on this team who can really play. When I went down there (to Tucson), I just made sure that I got back to the basics … I was able to just regroup and now I feel like my legs are going. So, I just want to bring energy. I want to bring a simple game (and) definitely a structured game, especially in times like this where we've lost a few (games). You just want to make sure you're structured and get back to the simple game. That's what I look to bring."
Head Coach Rick Tocchet on Wednesday told reporters he didn't like how many on-one-one battles the Coyotes lost vs. Vegas on Tuesday.
"We need some guys to come up here, go into the corner and win battles," Tocchet said. "That's something we have to get better at, for sure … Etem's played some NHL games. In training camp, and in some exhibition games, he made some nice speed plays and we need some speed plays. If he plays tomorrow, it's a good opportunity for him to show he's a reliable forward that can help us win."
Etem grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and began his journey to the NHL by playing roller hockey at the local YMCA. He quickly switched to ice skates and once played for a club team that sometimes traveled to Arizona for tournaments. He remembers playing against the Phoenix Firebirds en route to eventually being drafted 29th overall by Anaheim in 2010.
Etem comes from an athletic family. Both of his parents are rowers - his mother placed fourth at the 1984 Olympics. His older brother and older sister also are athletes and both eventually became rowers. So, does Emerson enjoy rowing, too?
"I've never actually tried it," Etem said. "I don't plan on ever doing it. I give my family a hard time about it; it's a lot of back and forth, back and forth."
Video: Etem on Recall to Coyotes