Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content
I poked my head inside General Manager Don Maloney’s office today looking to chew the fat for the first time in a while.
As always, he was very receptive.
I quickly asked him for some news and he said it’s eerily quiet around the NHL these days and that his phone isn’t ringing too much.
“While there are a few older players still available in the free-agent market right now, we’re hesitant to make any more moves until we see where we are (at training camp),” Maloney said.
I then asked him how he was feeling about the state of the franchise a year or so after coming on board.
“I’m 100 percent more optimistic about our chances as I was going into last season,” Maloney said. “Last season, I came in here and the goal was just to make us respectable again and establish a positive work ethic and we’ve done that. The culture has changed here, on and off the ice.”
Maloney has the names of all the players on the team listed in erasable marker on a big, white board on a wall in his office.
I gestured to the wall and asked, “So, what do you make of this group?”
His response: “To me this is a playoff team. We expect to make it this year. And that’s not just a wish or a dream. We’ve addressed our two biggest needs - acquiring a No. 1 center (Olli Jokinen) and adding more toughness (Todd Fedoruk and Brian McGrattan) - and we’re ready to go.”
The Coyotes re-signed center Joel Perrault on Thursday to a two-year contract. It’s a two-way deal for this season and a one-way deal for 2009-2010.
Maloney said Perrault, who started last season in the American Hockey League but ended up playing 49 games for the Coyotes, needs to turn heads in training camp.
“He’s got to come in hungry and show us he’s had enough of playing in the American league,” Maloney said.
I called Perrault and we chatted about his summer, his new deal and his future with the team.
This comment stood out: “I’m going to go to training camp with the mind-set that I can play at this level,” Perrault said. “I’m in good shape, and I know I can play at this level and I want to prove to the coaching staff that I’m ready for a full season (in the NHL).”
Some of the Coyotes and some other NHL players started skating at the Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale this week. The skates aren’t formal team skates, just a gathering of guys looking to get a jump on training camp.
Olli Jokinen, Derek Morris
, Peter Mueller, Keith Yandle
, and Mikkel Boedker
were among the Coyotes I saw on the ice. Captain Shane Doan
also was there and, as always, he agreed to a quick interview.
We covered several topics, including if he was excited that the NHL has decided to go back to a schedule in which every team plays every other team in the league at least once.
See his answer here:
Thanks for reading.