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The Desert Dog Blog: Coyotes Shift Focus to Kings

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – It was a busy day inside Arena on Wednesday as the Coyotes returned to work after clinching a berth in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night and then taking a break on Tuesday.

Basically, the day evolved into an unofficial “Media Day” as only a handful of players took the ice. Off the ice, General Manager Don Maloney, Head Coach Dave Tippett and several players took their spots in front of the cameras and microphones to answer questions about the upcoming series with the LA Kings.

Watch: Don Maloney Press Conference
Watch: Dave Tippett Press Conference
Watch: Shane Doan Q & A

• Coyotes captain Shane Doan and Kings captain Dustin Brown like to deliver hard checks, and often they collide with each other in the heat of battle.

They also respect each other.

On Wednesday, Doan said he’s been impressed by Brown’s play in the postseason and added that, in his opinion, Brown has been the best forward in the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far.

Shane Doan and Dustin Brown on Feb. 16, 2012. Photo by Getty Images.

Don’t forget, Doan and Brown swapped punches the next-to-last time these teams played in the regular season after Brown knocked Coyotes defenseman Rostislav Klesla from the game with a hard check while Klesla was in a vulnerable spot.

"It's going to be really fun to compete against him,” Doan said about Brown. "...They’re going to play hard. It’s a fun type of hockey to play, you enjoy it and I think our team enjoys that a lot. I think we’re comfortable playing that type of game, and obviously they’ve been very successful at doing it. And you look at what they’ve done to Vancouver and to St. Louis. They would’ve probably been a lot of people’s picks out of the West and LA did a good job of making it look almost easy at times."

Doan also told reporters he's enjoying the fact that he and his teammates are suddenly the talk of the Valley.

“I was in the bank yesterday, and I had the manager and everybody come out (and talk),” Doan said. “I’ve been going to the same bank for 10 years, but they all came out and were talking to me (at the same time). It was cool.”

• Tippett was asked about how he and his staff will handle what could become nearly a weeklong break between the end of the last series vs. Nashville and the start of the Western Conference Finals vs. Los Angeles.

"Any time you can grab the rest I think it’s a good thing, but you’ve also got to balance it," Tippett said. "We’ll have two good days of practice where we expect good, intense practices to get us ready. The thing about it is both teams are in the same situation. They won their series the day before we did. So, both teams are in the same predicament that way."

•  I thought Lauri Korpikoski made an interesting point when he said the Kings were like a combination of the Blackhawks and Predators – the teams the Coyotes bounced from the playoffs to reach the Western Conference Finals.

"They've got some high-end skill, but also they work hard and have good goaltending,” Korpikoski said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us and I think the games are going to be really high-tempo and physical."

Defenseman Keith Yandle agrees.

“I thought our games we played with them in the regular season were playoff-type games," Yandle said. "We played hard; there were a lot of fights, guys playing hard... So, it’s a good thing that we got matched up with them and are able to play them because it’s going to be a fun series.”

Photo by David Arrigo

• New fans of the Coyotes have been asking for info on goalie Mike Smith’s mask. For those who’d like to see/learn more, click here to read a blog I wrote about his mask before the season started.

• Here’s an interesting story worth noting: Denver Wilson, an assistant equipment manager for the Kings, is the son of Coyotes Head Equipment Manager Stan Wilson.

For more, check out this video from Fox Sports West.

• And finally, is staging vote a for “Best Goalie Left in the West.” As of this writing, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is leading Smith 54 percent to 46 percent. Click here to vote/change that.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact Dave Vest at and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.

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