The Coyotes on Monday received encouraging news on the injury front.
Center Martin Hanzal
is expected to miss only a week or so after suffering a shoulder injury on Saturday night, and Head Coach Wayne Gretzky noted that Hanzal might return to the lineup as soon as Saturday vs. Calgary.
Meanwhile, forward Daniel Carcillo returned to practice and was deemed “ready” by Gretzky for Wednesday’s game against Dallas. Carcillo experienced dizziness after a fight with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason in the first period of Saturday’s game.
To clear roster space for rookie Viktor Tikhonov
, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Monday, the Coyotes reassigned defenseman David Schlemko
, who earned his first NHL point on Saturday night. Schlemko played in three games with the Coyotes.
Forward Peter Mueller skated for the first time since suffering a mild concussion against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 27. Mueller was cleared by the medical staff to start skating and will work on his conditioning. He remains day-to-day, but no timetable has been set for his return.
“It felt good to get out there, but obviously I have to get my strength back,” said Mueller, who ranks third on the team in scoring with 30 points. “It’s tough with a concussion because you can’t do any activities. I don’t want to rush it, but I’m going to do everything in my capabilities to get back as quick as I can.”
Defenseman Kurt Sauer skated for the second time since sustaining a lower-body injury on Jan. 10 against the Dallas Stars. Sauer is still at least a couple of weeks from returning to game action.NEW LINE COMBINATIONS
With the loss of Hanzal, who has centered the checking line all season, Gretzky will turn to center Olli Jokinen to center Jeff Hoggan and Steven Goertzen on the third line.
“I like the way that (Jeff) Hoggan and (Steven) Goertzen work together and how hard they work,” Gretzky said. “By putting Olli between them, maybe they will hunt down some pucks for him and feed him in the high slot. They go to the net hard, so maybe that will open up space for him.”
Other line combinations at practice Monday included Steven Reinprecht centering Shane Doan
and Joakim Lindstrom, Joel Perrault centering Todd Fedoruk and Enver Lisin, and Kyle Turris centering Mikkel Boedker