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The Desert Dog Blog: Notes and Quotes from Monday's Practice

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes returned to practice on Monday at Jobing.com Arena for the first time since losing to Tampa Bay, 4-3, on Saturday night in the second of six straight home games.


Phoenix will play its next game on Tuesday vs. the Ottawa Senators, who will enter Monday night’s game at Los Angeles having won 10 of their past 14 games (10-3-1).

Tuesday’s game will be the last game for the Coyotes before the break for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.

Photo by Norn Hall
After Monday’s practice, I spoke to some of the players in the dressing room about how important it is to head into the weeklong hiatus with a victory.

Forward Mikkel Boedker summed it up best:

“We’ve got to get back on a winning track … and knowing what it feels like to win,” Boedker told me. “We are all winners in here and we know that. We’ve just got to get back to that.”

• Defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who has missed the past four games because of a lower-body injury, skated with teammates at Monday’s practice. Defenseman Derek Morris, who left Saturday’s game because of a lower-body injury, did not skate Monday but will skate at Tuesday’s morning skate to see if he can play vs. the Senators. Ditto center Daymond Langkow (upper-body injury).

Chris Summers
Meanwhile, General Manager Don Maloney over the weekend revealed that defenseman David Schlemko, who suffered a foot injury in the game played on Jan. 7, most likely would be out for the rest of the season.

Enter Chris Summers.

Head Coach Dave Tippett on Monday said he has liked what he’s seen from Summers since his latest recall from American Hockey League on Jan. 12. Summers - who like Schlemko is a left-handed shot - has played four games since then and has posted three assists in those games and a combined plus-1 rating.

“With the injury to Schlemko he’s had to jump into our lineup and he’s played very well,” Tippett said. “He looks like an NHL player now… It’s a very good sign for him.”

• Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata was hoping to join defenseman Keith Yandle at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game this weekend as a replacement for Minnesota forward Mikko Koivu, who was injured after being picked for the game. That hope was dashed on Monday when the NHL announced that Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle would fill Koivu’s spot.

Interesting. Vrbata has notched 22 goals and 16 assists and is plus-8 in 49 games. Eberle has notched 17 goals and 27 assists and is minus-2 in 43 games.

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