The Coyotes are hoping to receive a much-needed boost to their lineup on Saturday night vs. Calgary with the returns of forwards Peter Mueller and Martin Hanzal
Hanzal has missed the past two games because of a shoulder injury, while Mueller has missed the past seven games due to a concussion.
“We definitely can use both of them,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said after practice on Friday. “I would say Peter is probably a lot closer then Marty, but we won’t know on either of them until tomorrow officially. I say Peter looks good and Marty is a maybe at this point.”
Hanzal’s presence has been noticeable all season as the center of the checking line going against the opposing team’s top lines.
“We really missed Marty Hanzal, who can go head-to-head against that big centerman who is playing well, and we didn’t have that last night,” Gretzky said, referring to Vancouver Canucks center Mats Sundin.
Mueller has been out of the lineup since January 29, but feels ready to play after skating hard the past five days.
“I feel good,” said Mueller, who is third on the team in scoring with 30 points. “I just got cleared to practice (on Thursday), so it’s up to the coaches to make a decision. Hopefully, I can get my legs underneath me and go.”‘HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’
The Coyotes players will get national exposure on Saturday night throughout Canada as they play in the second game of a ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ doubleheader.
“It will be awesome,” said forward Todd Fedoruk, who is a native of Redwater, Alberta. “Those are exciting games. There will be a buzz around the arena.”
Because of the national telecast, the game between the Flames and Coyotes will start at 8 p.m. rather than the normal start time of 7 p.m. Tickets are available.
“It’s fun,” said center Joel Perrault, who is native of Montréal. “I don’t think they have the chance to see us play too often. It’s good. When Calgary comes to town they have a lot of fans. I think we will be ready.”
The Coyotes will make four appearances on ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ this season.
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov received a day of rest from Gretzky on Friday, but he will be back between the pipes for Saturday’s game. It will be his 16th consecutive start, in which he has allowed just 45 goals, an average of three goals against.
• Forward Mikkel Boedker
will be back in the lineup on Saturday after being made a healthy scratch on Thursday night.
“It was a good night for Boedker to take a step back,” Gretzky said. “He’s played a lot of hockey this year and more or less we just needed to give him a rest. We need him to play at the level he played at the first 30 games.”