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Talking Playoffs: A Matter of Chatter

Coyotes want vocal cords in mid-season form

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

You won't hear any sounds from the stands during the fan-less playoffs, but you might hear more from the players.

With no noise from the seats, you could hear more banter from the ice.

As a result, you should be able to see the players walk their talk.

"I think it could be really cool," Derek Stepan said, about the possibility of captured conversations.

"Fans are going to experience some things I think that are really going to allow them to like certain players (even more)," he said. "I think it's going to be a cool part of the game. You see golfers being mic'd up now. That makes it really enjoyable to watch, and I really compare it to that. I think there's going to be a lot of really solid gameplay stuff that the fans will really enjoy."

Jason Demers is anticipating some blooming personalities.

"I think it's going to be a huge thing," Demers said. "I think it's going to be great for the fans to hear the guys yelling and calling plays. You're going to be able to hear a pin drop out there." 

The Coyotes have been stretching out their vocal cords during training camp. With such an abbreviated run-up to the games, staff and players have stressed communication. They believe it will be extra-important -- and that it also will help create some of the energy missing from an empty arena.

"It's something we're focusing on, to make sure that we're talking, on the ice and on the bench. It (can be) a huge advantage. It (can be) be the difference in how fast we can get on the opposition, how we're breaking out and making sure we know where our teammates are at all times." 

Demers has a reputation as one of the most talkative Coyotes.

"We have Jason -- and he's talking more often than he's not," Darcy Kuemper said. "So, that's good to have in the locker room. But he also does a good job communicating on the ice as well. You always hear him out there. As a goalie, when I'm back playing the puck, the defensemen are talking to us. They're calling for passes and letting us know if we have time or not, and that's a huge help for us. With all that gear on, it's a little bit harder to get looks in and see what's going on around us."

"We're focusing in practice to be as vocal as we can," Kuemper added. "You want it to be second-nature. You don't want talking having to be something that you have to think about. The more we can do it in this camp, the more comfortable we'll be with it, and I think it's something that can really help us."

Taylor Hall expects the games to echo the practices.

"It's basically going to be the same environment through our practices as it's going to be in the games when we get to Edmonton," Hall said. "There's going to be momentum swings throughout the five-game series; if we can limit those and talk plays out, if we can get together as a group and really be vocal and create our own energy, that's going to be huge for us."

Hall has a linemate who isn't afraid to speak up.

"Playing on a line with Conor Garland, he's not afraid to talk out there," Hall said. "He'll let guys know that he was open on a play, or something like that. I don't think we have a quiet team, but we're not a super loud team, so the loud guys have to keep being loud, and guys like myself, maybe Christian Dvorak or Nick Schmaltz, guys like that will have to get used to talking out there and just being a little bit more vocal." 

Garland cited Demers, Stepan and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"We have some vocal guys that are great in that aspect," Garland said. "Step, JD and Hammer. You pick it up and you learn from them, and we try to talk more and more just to help guys out. We have the chance to win a Stanley Cup, so I don't think energy or not talking will be a problem for us. We'll be ready to go." 

Jakob Chychrun says there are few wallflowers among the Coyotes.

"We've got a lot of guys that have big mouths and like to hear themselves talk," Chychrun said. "So, I think for the most part, we're going to be fine in that area. I have no doubt.

"There are a lot of guys that can really step up for us in that area, be a loud voice and bring that energy. We'll have guys talking all the time on the bench, being positive and keeping the energy level high because sometimes you rely on the fans for that. We're going to have to do that ourselves now." 

When the competition intensifies, emotions can take over. With so much at stake, things can get heated. 

"As a group of pros, there's going to be some stuff that we're going to have to focus in on," Stepan said. "Just watch ourselves."

Kuemper isn't so worried about anyone crossing the line.

"I don't think anything too bad usually gets said," he said. "So, I'm sure it'll be fun for the fans that are watching to hear some of the banter that goes on. It's usually not as bad as some people make it out to be, or assume it to be."

"I know that I can come back and say some stuff when I get to the bench," Taylor Hall said. "So, I'm going to have to be aware of that. The cameras pick up a lot when there is crowd noise, so I can only imagine what they're going to hear when there's no one in the stands. That's something you have to watch for."

So, speak up, Coyotes. Holler. Hoot. Chatter. Communicate. Talk, talk, talk. Just remember one thing:

Everyone will be watching (and listening).

Lead Photo Credit: Norm Hall - Arizona Coyotes // Second Photo Credit: Norm Hall - Arizona Coyotes // Third Photo Credit: Wesley Fry - Arizona Coyotes // Footer Photo Credit: Norm Hall - Arizona Coyotes

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