|Vernon Fiddler |
Fiddler was injured during a fight with Anaheim’s Matt Beleskey early in the third period.
“He’s a very important guy and we’re certainly going to miss him,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Sunday’s practice. “It’s hard to replace a guy like that.”
Fiddler, one of three alternate captains, has been a key cog in the team’s success this season. He is one of only five Coyotes who have played in all 45 games and is considered by many to be the team’s best penalty killer. In addition, he ranks second on the team in faceoff percentage, winning 52.6 percent of his draws.
The Coyotes recalled forward Brett MacLean
from the American Hockey League on Sunday to help fill the void. He arrived near the end of Sunday’s practice and skated briefly.
Tippett said winger Lauri Korpikoski
would move to center while Fiddler recovers, most likely between wingers Lee Stempniak and Taylor Pyatt
“He’s a young player still getting better and better every game and he’s playing with a lot of confidence,” Tippett said of Korpikoski, 24, who already has set career highs for goals (11) and points (23) in an NHL season. “He’s got career points and goals already and I look for him to add to that. But it’s the other things he does in the game that help us win. He’s a good penalty killer, a good checker and just a real strong player.”
Meanwhile, Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s game vs. Toronto, did not practice with teammates on Sunday. His status remains day-to-day.
Defenseman Michal Rozsival
also is day-to-day because of an upper-body injury. Rozsival practiced with his new teammates for the first time on Sunday and even led the stretching segment at one point. Rozsival won’t make his Coyotes debut until Tuesday vs. Nashville at the earliest.
►Potential owner Matthew Hulsizer watched Sunday’s practice at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. After it ended, Hulsizer, a former hockey player, chatted with Tippett and then laced up skates and skated casually with some of the players. Hulsizer is hoping to take ownership of the team within a few weeks.