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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
Happy New Year!

I’m writing this final blog of 2008 from my desk just after Wednesday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The clock is quickly ticking toward 2009 and I’m hoping to finish and get home soon so I don’t have to kiss the souvenir hockey puck on my desk instead of my wife at midnight.

Peter Mueller had a nice game tonight with two goals within two-plus minutes of the second period from nearly the same spot near the left face-off circle. For Mueller, that’s three goals in the past three games after going almost seven weeks without a tally.

“It was just a matter of time,” Mueller told me after the game about ending his slump. “I knew I could score in this league. I did that last year, and I’m doing it now. But when you go through a stretch like that it’s tough because I’m on this team for a reason and that’s to put the puck in the net. I just kept telling myself ‘It’s going to come, it’s going to come, and it only takes one and then it will come in bunches.’”

Mueller scored 22 goals as a rookie last season. I asked him if he set a number of goals he wanted to score as a sophomore.

“I obviously set personal goals that I wanted to achieve, but no numbers,” Mueller said. “I think if you do put numbers in front of you and you fail, that will affect you pretty bad. For me, it’s doing the little things and helping the team make the playoffs and doing whatever we can to get the two points every night.”

Josh Tordjman had a busy day on Tuesday. After returning to San Antonio from a game in Milwaukee, the team’s 23-year-old prospect goalie took a nap. During his slumber he received a phone call from Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving who instructed him to get to Phoenix ASAP so he could be the backup for Wednesday’s game against Colorado because of Ilya Bryzgalov’s sore back.

“I looked at the phone and saw it was from Phoenix and thought ‘What’s this?’” Tordjman said. “As soon as Brad told me I was coming up, there’s no better feeling.”

Tordjman arrived around 9 p.m. on Tuesday and was on the ice with the Coyotes Wednesday morning at 8:45.

Tordjman won nine games for San Antonio, the team’s affiliate in the American Hockey League, in December, and is in the running for that league’s player of the month award. His current stay with the Coyotes probably will be short, so he’s soaking up the experience.

“It’s definitely a great honor to put the Coyotes sweater on,” he said.

Bryzgalov’s injury is not considered serious.

I had a good time watching Sergey Kocharov, our Director of Media Relations, fill in for Bryzgalov at Tuesday’s practice.

I particularly enjoyed watching Kocharov skate sprints with the players at the end of the 90-minute workout. Initially, he passed on doing the sprints, but head Coach Wayne Gretzky saw him alone at the other end of the rink and instructed him to participate.

NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day is definitely going to have a Coyotes feel to it. That’s because Dave Strader, the team’s play-by-play announcer, on Wednesday was tabbed as a replacement for Doc Emrick, who was supposed to call the game but can’t because of laryngitis.

Coyotes television analyst Darren Pang also will be part of NBC’s broadcast team in Chicago, between the benches, like he was last year in Buffalo. If I don’t get a T-shirt from one of them…

Thanks for reading.

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