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The Official Site of the Arizona Coyotes


by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes

as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

First of all, I’m guessing many of you have noticed that I have changed the name of my blog from “Inside the Den” to “The Desert Dog Blog.”

Long story short, it turns out there are several other blogs on the Internet - some related to hockey, another not related to hockey - also named “Inside the Den.” So, I’ve decided to bag that tired title and go with “The Desert Dog Blog” to avoid confusion.

The content of my blog, however, will not be changed, and I encourage you to keep reading it for exclusive inside information on the Coyotes from the only source covering the team on a daily basis.

Let’s move on.

Thanks to those readers who e-mailed me last week. I received many messages from Coyotes fans scattered all over the world looking for answers to their questions. Here are your two most popular topics:

--A lot of you want to know which Coyotes are considered the top six defensemen heading into training camp: Well, four players are depth-chart locks: Derek Morris, Ed Jovanovski, Zbynek Michalek and newly acquired Kurt Sauer.

As of right now, David Hale, Keith Yandle and Matt Jones are in line for the last two spots. I say "right now" because I’m told the team still may add an NHL-ready defenseman via trade or free agency before camp starts now that salary arbitration cases around the league are over.

--Many of you are wondering why center Joel Perrault, a restricted free agent, has not been re-signed. Well, let me assure you that Perrault still is in the team’s plans and that negotiations are ongoing.

Talks have slowed recently because Perrault has been in Europe attending NHLPA meetings. I’m told the new contract talks should heat up again this week and that a deal could be announced very soon.

I watched defenseman Derek Morris and forward Peter Mueller work out the other day in Tempe while we filmed them for a video we’ll be posting in the near future.

Let me tell you, they work out extremely hard. In fact, I thought they were finished after about an hour of intense stretches and exercises, but it turned out that was just the warm-up for their workout. No joke.

One exercise looked especially grueling. Try and picture this: The players were face down on a work-out bench with the upper half of their bodies hanging over the edge and a training partner perched on their legs. The training coach then made them hold that position, with their hands clasped behind their heads, for two minutes and 30 seconds. If you think that doesn’t sound like a long time, try it yourself. I’m not sure if the players know this, but their training coach told me he plans to make them hold the grueling pose for four minutes by the end of the summer. Ouch.

Morris, who hasn’t missed a game because of injury the past two seasons, said he thinks his rigorous off-season training program at Athletes’ Performance Institute in Tempe is a big reason why he has stayed healthy.

Mueller, who just started training at API this off-season, has added muscle to his frame and appears much leaner and better sculpted than he did at the end of last season. See for yourself at the team’s open house on Saturday at Arena.

I’m really looking forward to watching the NHL Network’s “Gretzky Week” programming this week marking the 20th anniversary of the big trade that sent Wayne from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.

I’m particularly curious to see the “Top 10 Wayne Gretzky Moments” show that will be aired on Thursday and Friday (check your listings for times).

I sure hope the “Waikiki Hockey” sketch from Wayne’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” way back when makes the list. It’s very, very funny.

Thanks for reading.

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