With the start of the 2006-07 season rapidly approaching, many NHL players are starting to get back on the ice and think about the year ahead, but for Coyotes Center Dave Scatchard, it is almost impossible, not to look back. After a season that saw Scatchard shelved for nearly a quarter of the year with injuries and illness, the rugged forward is determined to stay on the ice this season
After being acquired by the Coyotes in a trade with the Boston Bruins on November 18, 2005, Scatchard immediately stepped in to the Phoenix line-up. His physical presence and offensive ability began to come to the forefront, but in December, he re-aggravated a groin injury, originally sustained at the start of the year. The injury would keep Scatchard in-and-out of action for parts of December and January.
"I pride myself on being in good shape," said Scatchard. "Last year it just seemed like everything went wrong."
After recovering from his groin injury, Scatchard began to suffer effects from a severe case of bronchitis. Near the end of March, he was again forced to the sidelines before returning in mid-April for the final four games of the season.
"I had some health problems that bothered me last year, but they are over now," said Scatchard. "I have also worked very hard this summer to strengthen my groin and my core for the upcoming season."
Despite being limited to only 63 games in 2005-06, Scatchard did finish the campaign with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) as well as setting a new career best in power play assists (11) and tying his career best mark for power play goals (5). Scatchard also left a mark on opposing teams, finishing second on the Coyotes in hits (127).
This season. Scatchard should have more opportunities to excel on the ice, thanks to the off-season transactions made by Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett.
"I really like what we did in the off-season especially the players we acquired," said Scatchard. "I know some of the guys like (Ed) Jovanovski and (Jeremy) Roenick and I know they will bring a lot to this team. It's nice to get ready for a big year and have those guys here."
This week, Scatchard returned to the ice with a dozen of his teammates in a series of voluntary practices. Just having the opportunity to hit the ice, pain-free has Scatchard excited about the prospect awaiting him.
"It's a lot more fun to skate with all the guys than by myself," joked Scatchard. "It's good to get back out here and see the guys and see that everyone is in good shape and know that the season is right around the corner."
Now with his health back and a dramatically improved team around him, Scatchard is ready to erase the memories of last year, hopefully with an extended playoff run this season.
"I think that is every team's goal at the start of the year," said Scatchard. "I think that with the quality guys we have here, anything is possible. Certainly, a deep trip (into the post-season) is what we're shooting for and anything less is not acceptable."