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

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
SCOTTSDALE -- The Coyotes practiced at the Ice Den on Saturday morning before heading to Anaheim in the afternoon to start a four-game trip on Sunday against the Ducks.

Winger Ray Whitney, who has missed the past two games because of a nagging lower-body injury, took part in Saturday’s workout, which lasted about 45 minutes. Despite missing seven games this season, Whitney ranks second on the team with 50 points.

“He’ll be a game-time decision tomorrow,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “He got through the whole practice alright so I would say that’s a good sign, but we’ll make that decision tomorrow.”

• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla also skated on Saturday, but not with teammates. Klesla has been sidelined since absorbing a shot by Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin between the eyes in the second period of Tuesday’s game.

“I’ve had a few pucks deflected into my face before but never between my eyes and probably not as hard as this one,” said Klesla, who is sporting several stiches across his nose and bruises under both eyes. “It was pretty painful and there was a lot of blood, but it was nothing too serious. I was lucky. It was close to my eyes so it’s a good thing that nothing serious happened.”

Photo by Getty Images.
Klesla has played well since coming to the Coyotes in a trade with Columbus on Feb 28. In three-plus games, he has chipped in a goal and been reliable defensively (plus-1). He said he is eager to get back into the lineup at some point during this trip.

“I like playing here,” Klesla said. “The guys are great and the games are awesome. It’s a battle every night so it’s really exciting being here right now and I’m guessing it’s only going to get better.”

• Center Martin Hanzal did not practice on Saturday because of a lower-body injury that has kept him out of the past two games. Tippett said Hanzal had an appointment on Saturday and that he would not travel with the team to Anaheim. Tippett added that Hanzal might rejoin the team at some point on the trip when the club is in western Canada.

• After this trip, which includes games at Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the Coyotes will play seven of their final nine games at home.

• For those who missed it, click here to listen to defenseman Michal Rozsival’s interview on NHL Live! on Friday.

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