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Coyotes Set for Rookie Games at Kings

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – Coyotes rookies skated hard for two hours on Monday as final preparation for a two-game series against the Los Angeles Kings rookies.

The games, which will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m. and Wednesday at 2 p.m. in El, Segundo, Calif., will serve as the finale of the five-day rookie camp.

Ron Rolston. Photo by Norm Hall.

“The guys are excited,” said Ron Rolston, who will serve as the head coach for the Arizona rookies against LA. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of mistakes, but I know the compete level is going to be there.”

Rolston is the first-year head coach of the Coyotes’ new American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass. He and his AHL staff members have been coaching the rookies on the ice since Saturday, and he says they’ve come a long way as a group in that short time. He also said the games vs. LA will help better prepare the young players for main camp, which begins Friday.

“For three days here we’ve worked hard and I think it’s time to move on against a different team,” forward Christian Dvorak said. “Hopefully we’ll be ready. You’ve got to show what you have in those two games for sure.”

Forward Henrik Samuelsson has played against LA at past rookie camps.

“The games are the most important (part of camp),” Samuelsson said. “That’s how you’re going to make the team. You can be a really good practice player and not be good in games and that’s not good. So these games coming up are pretty important.”

Henrik Samuelsson. Photo by Norm Hall.

The Coyotes will be sending all 29 rookie camp attendees to the games in LA. That’s 18 forwards, eight defenseman and three goalies.

The first two forward lines are packed with marquee prospects. Dvorak will center a line with wingers Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. And Dylan Strome, whom Arizona drafted third overall in June, will center a line with Samuelsson and Brendan Perlini.

“It’s going to be fun,” Domi said. “A lot of guys haven’t really played in a game environment lately so it’s definitely something to look forward to. It’s going to be competitive. They like to hit and they’re big, physical guys, but we’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of skill and we like to hit. We’re not huge, but we’ve got some size too, so it’s going to be exciting to be part of and hopefully we can get two wins.”

NOTE: The two games will be played at the Toyota Sports Center. There will be no TV, radio or live streaming. Fans are encouraged to follow along via Twitter.

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