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by Anthony Perez / Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes’ top affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, is coming out of its All-Star break and is looking to make a push for the American Hockey League playoffs.

Interim Head Coach Ray Edwards is leading the way.

           Ray Edwards
Edwards, an assistant coach who became bench boss of the Rampage on Nov. 23 after Greg Ireland was relieved of his duties, is no stranger to the team. This is his third season with the Rampage organization.

Prior to joining the Rampage, Edwards coached for seven seasons in the Central Hockey League and the East Coast Hockey League. In 2004, he earned CHL Coach of the Year honors with San Angelo.

With Edwards at the helm, the Rampage were able to stop an 11-game losing streak and have compiled a record of 12-10-2 since then, including a four-game win streak from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

Edwards is relishing his new role as interim head coach.

“When you’re an assistant coach you want to be a head coach,” Edwards said. “And really there’s only a couple ways you can get the job, and one of them is a guy getting let go. The other is a guy getting promoted, and unfortunately in this situation I had to get my opportunity because a guy got let go, and that’s never fun. But at the same time, it’s my opportunity and I’ve got to take full advantage of it and I’ve tried to do that.”

One of the things Edwards has done since taking over behind the bench is create a message and a system in the Rampage dressing room that is consistent with what the players are receiving at the NHL level with the Coyotes.

“What we’ve tried to do is kind of be on the same page with the Phoenix coaching staff and teach the same terminology and ideas,” Edwards said. “We have to defend, we have to work, we have to play hard, we have to go into hard areas, we have to play in the guts of the game, all of things they’re doing up there (in Phoenix), we want to do here.”

Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving, who runs the Rampage, said that this type of cohesiveness is good for the players.

“There is organizational clarity, there is organizational consistency; people know what’s important,” Treliving said.

He added, “We want, obviously, our offensive players and players that are looked upon to provide offense to do so, but knowing that to be in Phoenix and stay in Phoenix you’ve got to play both with the puck and away from the puck are the little details that are going to get you here and keep you here (in Phoenix).”

Edwards said the rest of the season should be interesting for both him and his team.

“There’s a lot of guys who are getting done what they need to get done, and we’re real excited about watching them continue with this process of development and learning how to be a great pro,” Edwards said.

Brett MacLean leads the Rampage with 31 points in 42 games.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to visit the Rampage's official Web site.

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