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COYOTES WORKING ON DEFENSE

by Russell Brooks / Arizona Coyotes
Over the next two weeks, the Coyotes play only four games, all at Jobing.com Arena.


Head Coach Wayne Gretzky is using this break in the schedule to work on some of the little things that his team needs to improve upon.

“First and foremost, what we are really concentrating on is really stopping in the defensive zone,” Gretzky said. “We are trying to get players to stop and protect the middle and slot area.”

Offensively, the Coyotes are trying to get more traffic at the net.

“We are really trying to drive the net, trying to really make life uncomfortable for the other goaltender, like the other team is for our goaltender,” Gretzky said. “What we are trying to do is create some offense. We’ve only scored seven five-on-five goals in five games so we are trying to create some offense. We are trying to get the defense to jump up in the play more and take some pressure off the forwards.”

Gretzky enjoys the time he gets with the break in the schedule to work with the players.

“It’s a benefit,” Gretzky added. “We get to work on a lot more things. It’s more of a training camp so we can work on more things.”

PORTER IN THE MIDDLE

Gretzky has tinkered with the idea of playing rookie Kevin Porter at center, putting him in between Peter Mueller and Daniel Carcillo during practice Tuesday at the Alltel Ice Den.

“I thought Porter was one of our best players in the Montréal game,” Gretzky said. “He sees the ice well and he is solid. (He's) pretty solid defensively. We still got a couple of days to go before our next game. I’m not sure what the final lineup will be for Thursday, but I wanted to see Porter in the middle today. He looked really good.”

QUICK HIT

Peter Mueller returned to the ice for Tuesday's practice. He is expected to play Thursday against Washington.

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