Defenseman Ed Jovanovski
, Phoenix’s lone representative at the NHL All-Star Game, told NHL.com that he is not at all surprised that the Coyotes, the League’s youngest team, surged into playoff contention over the last month and a half.
”As a team, once you smell that success it’s sometimes easier to grasp what it takes to be successful,” Jovanovski said. “Having said that I don’t think the critics gave us much of a chance to be successful. (Ilya) Bryzgalov really helped our team stability-wise in net, but everybody has really identified their role and we’re playing real well right now.”
The veteran, set to play in his fifth All-Star Game, has 33 points, including 27 assists, which is second to only captain Shane Doan’s 31 assists. Doan leads the Coyotes with 47 points, but resurgent veterans Radim Vrbata (37 points), Steven Reinprecht (30 points) and defenseman Derek Morris (plus-7) have contributed to the cause.
Rookies Peter Mueller, who played Saturday night’s YoungStars Game, also has 13 goals and 17 assists. Fellow rookie Martin Hanzal has five goals and 20 assists.
-- Dan Rosen