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The Desert Dog Blog: Vermette Trade Highlights Busy Day for Coyotes

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE -- Wednesday was a busy day for the Coyotes with a practice, a flight to Calgary and the acquisition of Antoine Vermette.

Antoine Vermette
Needing immediate help at center, the Coyotes plucked Vermette from the Columbus Blue Jackets for minor-league goalie Curtis McElhinney and two draft picks. Click here for full details.

I spoke to Vermette via telephone soon after the deal and he told me he was thrilled to be thrust into the playoff mix overnight and that he can’t wait to help his new team challenge for the Pacific Division title.

Below are five tidbits Coyotes fans should know about Vermette:

1. He has played in exactly 600 NHL regular-season games and has notched 319 points.

2.He did not miss a game with the Blue Jackets after making his debut with the club on March 7, 2009 - a streak of 181 games, the fourth longest streak in Columbus franchise history.

3. He ranks 10th in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage (56.3).

4. He will wear sweater No. 50 for the Coyotes; rookie Matt Watkins has given it up and switched to No. 36.

5. He is under contract for three more seasons after this season.

► Click here to listen to my phone interview with Vermette.
► Click here to watch G.M. Don Maloney explain why he made the trade for Vermette.
► Click here to watch an eye-popping goal scored by Vermette earlier this season.

• Here'a a quick injury update for the team's two-game trip to Calgary and Edmonton: Defenseman Rostislav Klesla (upper-body injury), center Kyle Chipchura (upper-body injury), defenseman Derek Morris (leave of absence), forward Gilbert Brule (upper-body injury) and defenseman David Schlemko (lower-body injury) did not make the trip. Forward Taylor Pyatt, who has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury, did make the trip.

• Coyotes prospect Mark Visentin, who recently set an Ontario Hockey League record by notching his 10th shutout of the season for the Niagara IceDogs, was named the CHL Goaltender of the Week.

Click here to read more.

Mike Smith's second mask. Photo by artist David Arrigo
• And finally, don’t be surprised if you see Coyotes netminder Mike Smith wearing a new goalie mask on this trip to Calgary and Edmonton.

On Wednesday, Smith told me he recently received a second Wile E. Coyote mask from artist David Arrigo and that he would likely debut it soon.

Smith’s second mask has a few subtle tweaks from the original design on his current mask. For instance, on Smith’s new mask you will see that Wile E. Coyote has dropped the old-school leather pads and is wearing newer gear. Also, if you look closely at the front of Smith’s second mask you will notice Wile E. Coyote has finally gotten his revenge on the Roadrunner.

When I asked Smith why he is bringing in a new mask so late in the season he smiled and said: “I like to have two helmets and keep people guessing.”

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