Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content
Playing for the Coyotes has been a bit surreal for Nigel Dawes, one of three players Phoenix acquired from the New York Rangers for defenseman Derek Morris
on March 4.
Dawes, you see, was born and raised in Winnipeg. Now he finds himself playing for the franchise that left his hometown for the Valley in 1996.
So, how does it feel to play for the team that he grew up rooting for but in a different city?
“It’s pretty neat, especially when I’m talking to people back home about it,” Dawes said. “In a way, I’ve kind of come full circle, I guess."
I asked Dawes, who was 11 years old when the team left for the Valley, how the team’s departure affected him.
“I definitely missed it a little more after they left, like everyone probably did,” Dawes said. “I think people were looking back at it, wishing they had gone to more games when they were there.”
Thirteen years after the move, several members of the Coyotes staff, including captain Shane Doan
, still remain with the club. Dawes has sought them out to chat.
“lt’s fun to talk to them about where they lived and what they did when they were living there,” he said.
Before ending this interview, I asked Dawes if he realized the Coyotes have been playing a preseason game in Winnipeg the past few years.
“That would be pretty exciting for me, and definitely a game I would volunteer to play in,” Dawes said. “It’s not very often that you get a chance to play in an NHL game in your hometown.
Defenseman Kurt Sauer was beaming like a proud big brother inside the dressing room on Tuesday as word spread that his younger brother, Michael, had been recalled from the American Hockey League and was going to make his NHL debut with the New York Rangers Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden.
“I’m jacked for him,” Kurt Sauer said. “Our mom and dad flew out there yesterday and I’m going
|Michael Sauer |
to watch on center ice. It’s an exciting time for the Sauer family, for sure.”
Michael Sauer, like his older brother Kurt, is a defenseman. He has six goals, 16 assists in 59 games this season for the Hartford Wolfpack. Making his NHL debut vs. Minnesota is icing on the cake for Sauer because the Sauer family is from there.
“I’m sure the game is going to broadcast back home so I am sure all of his buddies are going to be able to see,” Kurt Sauer said.
Asked what advice, if any, he gave his little brother for the big day, Sauer said: “I just threw him a text and told him congrats and that we’d be praying for him. I haven’t really spoken to him. I just kind of left him alone on purpose. If he wants to call me, my phone is always on.”
I spoke to Doan briefly after Tuesday’s practice, but not about hockey. Instead, I asked him what kind of pitch he planned to deliver when he throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Mariners vs. Dodgers spring training game on Tuesday night.
He seemed undecided so I suggested he use the opportunity to show off his curveball – assuming he has one. Teammate Peter Mueller chimed in that Doan should throw a knuckleball. Doan, however, seemed eager to throw some high heat.
“I want to throw one up there at 90 miles per hour,” Doan said.
Challenged that he probably couldn’t throw a baseball 90 miles per hour, Doan playfully insisted “Yes I can!”
Then he smiled and added, “But I can only do it once a day.”
Thanks for reading.