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The Desert Dog Blog: Marching Toward Milestones

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – It’s looking as if March will be a month of milestones for the Coyotes as Head Coach Dave Tippett and two veterans near key benchmarks of their careers.

Tippett likely will be first to reach his as he enters Sunday’s game at Edmonton needing just one victory to reach his 400th as an NHL head coach.

Photo by Norm Hall
Tippett began his NHL head coaching career in 2002-03 with the Dallas Stars. In eight seasons as an NHL head coach in Dallas and Phoenix, he has guided his team to a Stanley Cup Playoff berth seven times.

“He's as fierce a competitor as anyone I've ever seen,” Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. “…He's really got a finger on the pulse of his team. He can identify the things that really make a difference between winning and losing."

Only Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock has posted more regular-season victories than Tippett since Tippett became a head coach in the League in 2002-03. Babcock has 415 wins during that time; Tippett has 399.

Ray Whitney
Meanwhile, left wing Ray Whitney is quickly closing in on his 1,000th NHL point. Whitney, who at age 39 is enjoying his fifth-best season in terms of point production with a team-high 66, has notched 992 points since joining the NHL in 1991-92.

After being held scoreless in three straight games in mid-January, Whitney - nicknamed ‘The Wizard’ for his crafty playmaking - has notched seven goals and 23 assists in his past 27 games. Moreover, Whitney ranks third among active NHL players with the most points (317) after turning 35 years old; Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne has 449 and Detroit’s Niklas Lidstrom has 413.

"Ray continues to excel with his intelligence and stick skills," Maloney said. "In the offensive zone with the puck on his stick, he is as clever as any front-line player. That he is playing at this level at 39 years of age is remarkable. He is often matched up against our opponent's best defenders which makes his year-long performance even more impressive."

Derek Morris
Last but not least, defenseman Derek Morris is just five games away from playing in his 1,000th NHL game. Morris returned to the lineup on Thursday night after missing 15 games because of an illness in his family.

Morris, who also is closing in on his 400th NHL point, has played 432 of his 995 NHL games with the Coyotes.

"We are happy to welcome Derek back to our lineup," Maloney said. "Adding a quality, experienced NHL defenseman at this time of year is a real bonus in our drive to get to the playoffs."

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