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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes

as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

With 41 of 82 regular-season games now in the books, I spoke to General Manager Don Maloney on Tuesday and asked him for his thoughts on the first half of the season:

Q: At 19-17-5, is this where you thought this team would be at the midpoint of the season?

A: “I’m very pleased with where we are and I think we’re heading in the right direction. While we have about the same amount of points as we had at this point last year, I think our team structure has improved and we have more speed and talent than last year. So, if you look at our overall picture from a year ago, you might think maybe our point production isn’t that much greater, but what I’m encouraged about is we’re playing well at home, and you have to win at home. And we’ve been remarkably healthy – knock on wood - and we’re getting more secondary scoring.”

Q: Are you disappointed with the way the team has played on the road this year compared to last year?

A: “Not really. Looking back, I think last year we snuck up on a lot of teams and we were a surprise to a lot of teams…We aren’t the surprise team this year and everybody knows we’re going to play a hard game. It’s just harder to win on the road, and I think we’re getting better on the road, which is important going forward. I look at these next seven games before the All-Star break as a real measuring stick to see if we can keep our head above water and continue to win more than we lose. If we can do that, we’ll be well positioned.”

Q: Has there been a player who has pleasantly surprised you?

A: “There are a couple of players that fit in that category. I think Zbynek Michalek has been absolutely terrific and is having an outstanding year. I think Kurt Sauer has been better than I anticipated, and along the same lines, Ken Klee has been a veteran presence. And obviously Shane (Doan) is having the best year of his career.”

Q: Do you expect to make any personnel moves before the trade deadline?

A: “We’ll see what happens. It’s quiet right now and yet there are teams dying to make moves because they haven’t met their expectations. For us, it has to be an age match and a contract match… It’s so tough competing in the Western Conference. If you have a great week, you are in great shape. If you have a bad week, you are in 14th or 15th place.”

Q: Does this team, as is, have all the tools needed to make the playoffs this year?

A: “Absolutely. We have the talent and the experience, from the coaches to the players, to be in the playoffs this year.”

Q: What letter grade would you give this team at the midpoint of the season?

A: “I’d say a B-plus. Given the age of our team, to be sitting in a playoff spot halfway through the season and playing as well as we have at home, I’d say we are above average. I like our mix. The chemistry is right. I think we’ll win our share of games in the second half.”

Thanks for reading.


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