In the new NHL, a premium has been put on the ability to protect the puck and generate speed. The Coyotes acquired a player in Geoff Sanderson who possesses both these qualities.
In his first game with the Coyotes on Tuesday night, Sanderson showed his breakaway speed as he made several dashes past (delete "the") Dallas defenders in an attempt to help generate offense.
"I thought that Geoff (Sanderson) was very good last night," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "He went at the puck hard and when he got it he was strong on it, not giving it up."
For Sanderson, the biggest challenge on Tuesday was just trying to fit into a new system and not try and do too much.
"I felt pretty good out there last night," said Sanderson. "There is always a little bit of an adjustment when you come to a new team, but the key for me is to relax and not over-think the game. When that happens, you typically try and do too much and it ends up backfiring."
However, Sanderson didn't look at all out of place, as he was able to register his first assist with Phoenix on Paul Mara's third period goal. The play was set up by Sanderson controlling the puck deep in the Stars zone before making a pass to set up the goal.
"This team really utilizes speed to get on the puck and that is what I did," said Sanderson. "Once we had possession, it was matter of getting the shot off and he (Mara) didn't miss."
Coyotes fans will get their first close look at Sanderson on Thursday night when the Coyotes host the Nashville Predators. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Glendale Arena.
Coyotes center Peter Nedved will return to the line-up on Thursday night against the Predators. Nedved has missed the last two games with a groin strain suffered in the season opener in Vancouver.
RICCI TO PLAY THURSDAY
Phoenix will get another boost to their line-up for tomorrow night's game as center Mike Ricci is expected to be back on the ice. Ricci left in the third period of last Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild, after a deflected shot struck him in the face. Ricci, who suffered a broken nose on the play, will be wearing a visor when he returns on Thursday.
LENEVEU TO START
Rookie netminder David LeNeveu will make his first regular season start at Glendale Arena on Thursday.
"He has played really well for us this season and he deserved to have another start," said Gretzky.
By allowing LeNeveu to start, goaltender Curtis Joseph will get an extra day off before his next scheduled start on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Coyotes assigned goaltender Steve Passmore to the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) to make room on the roster for Joseph.
MORRIS STILL DAY-TO-DAY
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris is questionable for tomorrow's contest with the Predators. After suffering a groin strain in the first game of the season, Morris has missed the last three games. On Monday, Morris made the trip to Dallas with the Coyotes and was scheduled to play against the Stars, but was scratched after feeling some discomfort in the pre-game skate.
"I didn't have him practice today because I told him that I didn't want him on the ice until he was 100%," said Gretzky. "Tomorrow morning, if he practices, then he will play, but we just have to wait and see."