After Wednesday’s practice in Scottsdale, Head Coach Dave Tippett was asked if he was allowing himself to get caught up in the good times.
“It’s fun to win,” Tippett said. “But I like the process of building a group and seeing the success not just of individuals but of a group coming together. It’s very satisfying. So is that fun? Yeah, it’s fun. I’m having fun. So far, we’re having fun.”
Tippett also noted that winning streaks can end quickly and that the next two games – against Pacific Division rivals Los Angeles (on Thursday) and San Jose (on Saturday) – will be tough games.
“LA and San Jose are both very good hockey teams,” Tippett said. “Very good hockey teams. So that creates challenges. But… with our group, we feel like we can overcome those challenges if we do things right.”
One thing that isn’t a lot of laughs is losing a player to a league-imposed suspension. That happened to the Coyotes on Wednesday morning when the NHL ruled that defenseman Ed Jovanovski could not play for the next two games because of his hit on Minnesota’s Andrew Ebbett in Monday’s game.
Jovanovski was not penalized on the hit, but that didn’t matter to the NHL.
“You've seen a couple of those (hits) around the league this year, and the league is been pretty consistent with that, so we were hoping for better but you recognize what the situation is, and you move on," Tippett said.
Thanks to the five-game winning streak, the number of sports reporters at Wednesday’s practice was larger the normal. As a result, Tippett’s Q&A session lasted nearly 10 minutes, which I’m pretty sure is a record for him with the Coyotes on a non-game day. He made several fascinating comments, which I’ve listed below:
• Tippett on the keys to the win streak: "If you've got to put your finger on one thing it's got to be (Ilya) Bryzgalov. But I think our team play and just our overall balance throughout the lineup (has been key too). You can't really look through there and say 'this guy has done it' or 'this guy has done it.' We've played well as a group."
• Tippett on the Coyotes playing as a team: "I'll give the players a ton of credit. They’ve all recognized that they want to do this thing together. You know, it’s funny, when you get a few wins, you see how much fun they have on the ice and they have fun working hard. The Ottawa game, it was a game where the players recognized before I did that we didn’t play very well. And I was really curious to see how we were going to come out in the Minnesota game. We (the coaches) addressed a few things but the players corrected that problem way before I got to them right after the game. It wasn’t even like a win in the room… As a coach, you like to see them take ownership like that. To me, that’s team building. If they’re recognizing things and doing things before I even get in the room, we’re moving in the right direction."
• Tippett on the recent success of the PK: "There's a lot of little things. Our up-ice forecheck has been pretty solid and we've got guys who are willing to block shots and win faceoffs - the little things that allow you to be good penalty killers. We're efficient in those areas."
• Tippett on the buzz surrounding the team/dressing room: "Well, the buzz can be on the outside, but on the inside of the room we know exactly what we should be doing. You recognize what you're doing when you're having success, but every day is a new day and you're only as good as your last game."
Thanks for reading.