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Postcards From Prague : This Is The End

by Todd Walsh / Arizona Coyotes
So what have we learned on this excursion to Prague with the Phoenix Coyotes?


Still early to tell, but I liked a few things that have transpired already.

It’s a great indication of the state of ‘the room’ that Keith Yandle is wearing an “A.” We saw that story develop a year ago and it has taken its natural course.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov looks very much like the same goalie that left off last season and that’s exactly what this team needed to see.

                     Todd Walsh
Dave Tippett has maintained the foundation that he established early last year. He wants his team to be the hardest working team in show business and they have once again embraced that. And, they have to be. There is no superstar, elite level goal scorer so goals and assists will be the biproduct of hard work and seizing opportunities. Sound familiar?

Speed still kills. It always does. You can’t teach it and you can’t stop it. And they have it.

We were all wondering and are still wondering who will take the minutes and the shots that Zbynek Michalek took with him to Pittsburgh, but I do know that there is great hope on the blue line in the form of rookie Oliver Ekman-Larsson. As one scout described to me here yesterday, he looks at you after you tried to beat him and calmly says, “is that all you got?”

It sure looks like Scottie Upshall hasn’t lost a step. Remember the Coyotes played that Detroit series without his services, too! (By the way, follow him @scottieupshall)

Tippett has his “diligent” line of Lee Stempniak, Vern Fiddler and Taylor Pyatt. On nights when the Coyotes are struggling to find a little jump, that line might just go out and create it.

Accountability rules the room. You could hear it from every corner after the game one victory in which they knew that the Bruins had out chanced them.

We knew coming over here that the story arc of the season began when the team touched down in this glorious city in CENTRAL EUROPE. And it has.

Two down and how many to go? Only time will tell.

Todd Walsh interviews Shane Doan before Sunday's game. Photo by Rich Nairn.
It’s been a real pleasure. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. My thanks to Mike Nealy and Mike Connelly of the Phoenix Coyotes and Fox Sports Arizona who green lighted this venture. And a tip of the hat to the fine people back at home at Foxsportsarizona.com and at phoenixcoyotes.com. This wasn’t easy, there were giant hurdles and oh yeah, a 9-hour time difference. Plus, I wasn’t the only one who wanted to be here. I get that.

This just in! Our game producer Graham Taylor has officially been nominated as “Employee of the Month” and the smart money goes to him. He has not only line produced, but shot video as well. At first he wanted to low key it. I just nodded my head. I knew better. He never stopped. He was up ahead of us literally every step of the way. I hope you check out our full show, “The Dogs in Prague” which debuts on Thursday the 21st at 6 pm on Fox Sports Arizona, plus don’t forget the archived footage on both websites. It will serve as a video post card and thank goodness because I didn’t bring a camera.

And finally, thanks to the Phoenix Coyotes players and staff. Don Maloney and Dave Tippett promised us access and we got it, and then some. And the players followed in kind. Some of them even took our mini “flip” cameras and shot on their own. That is above and beyond the call of duty. I can’t wait to see it.

Todd Walsh interviews Keith Yandle on the long flight to Prague.
And in conclusion…..to those who asked for gifts, I’d like to apologize in advance. I did what I could. My luggage is officially the size of Jupiter. I tried to be thoughtful, but it was at times maddening.

To Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com, I don’t know what to say. I gambled and lost. I lost all bargaining power on a frantic Sunday morning in tourist Mecca. I should have known better. Late last night I decided that I had to stop and smell the roses. I had a beer in the Old Town square. I over tipped. I thought I had enough for that shirt you asked for. I got up this morning for one last guerilla shopping effort and realized I was two or three hundred Koruna short for the shirt I had scoped out days ago. It was cool. It was YOU. It wasn’t a hockey shirt. You have enough of those. Heck, you HAVE to wear them. Please pretend that the beautiful, blue Franz Kafka coffee mug is a shirt? I’m not sure anybody else would know who he is.

We’ll see you again in a week at Jobing.com Arena for the home opener against the Detroit Red Wings. I can’t think of a better way to start.
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