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O'Sullivan, Chipchura Earn Roster Spots

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – In the NHL, it’s not uncommon for a training camp hopeful to earn a roster spot he wasn’t necessarily expected to earn.

Patrick O'Sullivan
The Coyotes have two such players on this year’s opening night roster in forwards Patrick O’Sullivan and Kyle Chipchura.

“I think there’s a good little niche for me here,” O’Sullivan said. “If I play the way I can, I know I can help this team.”

O’Sullivan, 26, came to training camp with 311 games on his NHL resume and looking for a fresh start. He’s getting one with the Coyotes – his fifth NHL team - because he flashed his offensive skills in the preseason and led the team with seven points (two goals and five assists in six games).

“I think I can provide some good secondary scoring here and help out on the power play,” said O’Sullivan, who also is an accomplished shootout performer (13 for 31 in his NHL career).

O’Sullivan impressed Head Coach Dave Tippett in several ways.

"He's got top-end skill," Tippett said. "The knock against him has been: 'Is he competitive all the time?' That’s something in talking to him this summer he really focused on. He knows he's jumped around a few teams here, and he wants to find a home.”

O’Sullivan likes playing for Tippett.

“I think the coaching staff has a good understanding of exactly the type of player that I am and at certain points of my career I’m not sure other teams necessarily recognized that. So I’m thrilled to be here.”

Kyle Chipchura
Chipchura, 25, impressed the coaches and General Manager Don Maloney with his energy, grit and effective play at both ends.

“He’s been doing all the little things it takes to make a team,” Maloney said late in training camp. “He’s strong on the face-offs, he’s been aggressive, he’s been hard on the puck and is moving the puck well.”

Chipchura, who in 2006 served as captain of Team Canada’s gold-medal team at the World Junior Championship, has played 163 NHL games. slowed by injuries, he played just 40 games for Anaheim last season.

“Last year was a real tough year for me,” Chipchura said. “I fought some injuries and things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go. This year I just wanted a fresh chance and to get back to playing hard and having fun out there.”

That loose approach served him well in training camp.

“I really tried not to look at the depth chart too hard,” Chipchura said. “I just kept my goal at making the team and having some fun.”

Like O’Sullivan, Chipchura enjoys the way the Coyotes play.

“Just being around these guys for a few weeks I’ve seen how hard they work and how hard they practice, and I’ve seen what the coaching staff demands,” Chipchura said. “I can see why this team has had success the past couple of years and I’m definitely glad to be a part of it now.”
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