Photo Credit: Norm Hall
For Phoenix Coyotes center Joel Perrault, his time to shine is now. Battling for a spot on the Coyotes roster, Perrault has spent everyday of the past three weeks showing the coaching staff he belongs in the National Hockey League. After the final roster was announced on Monday, his name was on the list.
Upon finding out that he'd be on the roster come opening night, the Coyotes rookie had a few phone calls to make.
"I tried to call my dad but it was too late back home, so I called my brother," said Perrault. "My brother is still awake late so I talked to him, he was pretty happy too and he called my dad in the morning (to tell him the news)."
"It's a great feeling, that was my expectation before (training) camp," said Perrault, who knows that just because he has made the team, doesn't mean he can relax anytime soon.
In the Coyotes home opener on Thursday night, Perrault scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway. Perrault had three shots on goal and was plus one in the first game of the year.
"If I am (going to) stay here all year, I am going to have to prove myself all year. That's the way to stay in the lineup, and I have a pretty good line right now and if I want to keep playing with (Owen Nolan and Mike Comrie), I am gong to have to keep working hard and keep doing the same things I have done during training camp."
Perrault, a Montreal, Quebec native, came to the Coyotes from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Sean O'Donnell last March. Perrault played in five games at the end of last season, and scored his first NHL goal in the process. Perrault knows some of his assets are his speed and vision and is looking forward to the opportunity that he has ahead of him and is excited to learn from the veteran leadership on this team.
"(I just have to) listen to them and what they have to say and use their experience about the games and I think if I just work hard and my offense will come."
Perrault, 23, enjoyed getting back on the ice after a long summer and especially liked playing against the Ducks, the team who traded him away last season.
"It was a pretty good feeling" said Perrault, who in the two games against the club that drafted him in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, scored 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists).
The Coyotes have a nice balance of veteran leadership and young talented players.
Everyone has been impressed with Perrault's training camp, now it's time for his star to shine.