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The Desert Dog Blog: Notes and Quotes After Friday's Practice

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett began Friday’s practice inside Arena with an intense speech to his players about why they'd lost to Minnesota the night before and what needs to change before they host first-place Dallas on Saturday.

In a nutshell, Tippett told the players what he’d told the media immediately after Wednesday’s game - that the Wild beat the Coyotes at their own game by outworking them and controlling the neutral zone.

“We just didn’t have enough push,” Tippett told the media on Friday. “And some of that, you really have to look at the game that Minnesota played last night. They played a very strong game. They were committed in all areas. It was a game very similar to what you usually see our team play. In that sense, the effort was challenged and we didn’t come up with the extra effort and they did."

The Coyotes host Dallas on Saturday at 6 p.m.The game will be the eighth between the clubs since Tippett, who used to coach the Stars, signed on to lead the Coyotes just before last season began. Tippett and the Coyotes have posted a 4-3-0 record against Dallas the past two seasons but have lost three of the past four showdowns.

► Click here to watch Tippett answer questions after Friday's practice.

Forward Taylor Pyatt has scored five goals in the past eight games after scoring just one in the first 19 games - in the season opener vs. Boston on Oct. 9 in Prague.

I asked Pyatt if he has been making a special effort to score more goals lately.

“You always want to score if you can,” Pyatt said. “…It’s definitely nice to contribute. I’ve always been sort of a streaky scorer so hopefully I can ride this wave as long as I can and continue to contribute.”

With six goals in 27 games Pyatt is halfway to reaching the number of goals he scored last season in 74 games. His career-high for goals in a season came in 2006-07 when he netted 23 in 76 games for Vancouver.

After Friday’s practice, Coyotes captain Shane Doan and enforcer Paul Bissonnette met with World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion Ben Henderson, who is set to make his final title defense in the WEC against Anthony Pettis at WEC 53 inside Arena on Dec. 16.

Paul Bissonnette, WEC General Manager Reed Harris, WEC Lightweight Champ Ben Henderson, and Shane Doan. Photo by Norm Hall.
Some fans may remember Henderson from when he dropped the puck before the Coyotes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning game on Oct. 30.

The three athletes posed for photos, exchanged gifts and then chatted about some of the similarities between their sports. At one point, Henderson showed Doan and Bissonnette his signature move, which he calls “The Guillotine.”

It was quite fun watching Henderson, who is smaller than Doan and Bissonnette, demonstrate the crippling move on them but I won’t spoil the moment with too many details because you’ll be able to see it for yourself next week when a video about the meet-and-greet is posted here on

Tippett said the Coyotes are content to keep eight defensemen on the roster, at least for one more game. That approach may change, Tippett said, before the team heads out on a lengthy trip east on Tuesday.

Jere Lehtinen tries to score on the Coyotes on March 27, 2007. AP Photo.
Near the end of Tippett’s Q and A session with the media on Friday, I asked him to share a thought or two on the career of Jere Lehtinen, the Finnish forward whom Tippett coached for six years in Dallas. Lehtinen, 37, officially retired this week after playing 14 seasons in the NHL (1995-2010), all with Dallas.

“Jere Lehtinen is one of the best two-way players to ever play the game,” Tippett raved. “That goes without saying with his three Selke Trophies, but it’s amazing. As a coach, and I was there six years, you watch video, and when you’re teaching your team how you want to play and how you want to react in certain situations, it is unbelievable when you go through a tape with Jere Lehtinen in it how many times he does things right. You could do a teaching tape (based) on the way he plays the game.”

Reach Dave Vest at and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.
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