Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content
So, what did we learn about the Coyotes in their eight preseason games? The main thing that jumped out at me was that the coaching staff is extremely comfortable giving lots of quality ice time to the rookies who lasted all the way through training camp and it appears at least three – Mikkel Boedker
, Viktor Tikhonov
and Kyle Turris - will make the opening night roster.
Hobey Baker Award winner Kevin Porter played well in the preseason, too. Of course, I’m not the general manager nor am I on the coaching staff, so check back on Wednesday when the official roster must be in place.
Here’s how things look by position with the roster deadline looming, assuming the team keeps 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies:
The goalie situation is easy to figure out. Ilya Bryzgalov will be the starter and Mikael Tellqvist will be his backup.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting.
On offense, the following players – listed in alphabetical order - appear to be locks for opening night: Boedker, Daniel Carcillo, Shane Doan
, Todd Fedoruk, Martin Hanzal
, Olli Jokinen, Brian McGrattan, Peter Mueller, Steven Reinprecht, Tikhonov, Turris and Daniel Winnik.
That leaves Porter, Enver Lisin, Garth Murray and Joel Perrault vying for two spots. Perrault is having a tough time recovering from a concussion he suffered during a game of shinny a few days before training camp started. He’s been limited to riding a stationary bike in camp and some days he can’t even peddle for a few minutes without major problems. On Monday, Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said Perrault would be sidelined for at least three weeks.
On defense, the roster locks appear to be: David Hale, Ed Jovanovski, Zybnek Michalek, Derek Morris
and Kurt Sauer. On Monday, Gretzky told reporters that rookie Jonas Ahnelov
would start the season on the injured-reserve list because of a broken finger suffered while blocking a shot vs. Anaheim on Friday night. That means Keith Yandle
and Matt Jones will fill the other two spots, at least for now.
The NHL regular season began this weekend with games in Stockholm and Prague. With so many European players in the league, I think it’s a terrific idea for the league to market itself there and maybe even establish a division there within 10 years or so.
I asked Gretzky for his thoughts on the subject and he said he also thought it was a positive for the league. He also agreed that a full division of NHL teams based in Europe appears inevitable.
“Exactly how it’s going to happen, I don’t have the answer,” he said. “But I definitely see it … coming to that one day.”
OK, here are three moments from training camp I won’t soon forget, in no particular order:
1. A fight between McGrattan and Adam Keefe added pop to the first scrimmage of training camp. What made it so memorable was that nobody - on the ice or off the ice- made a sound during the bout, which lasted quite long. You could actually hear fists hitting faces. Gretzky had to break it up by yelling "That's enough!" from his seat in the stands.
2. Doan proved once again what a terrific teammate and captain he is by leveling Los Angeles Kings rookie Wayne Simmonds with a clean check during the preseason finale on Saturday night. Simmonds was all over the ice taking liberties in the two rookie games the teams played before training camp opened, and Doan obviously was watching.
3. And finally, while having lunch in a Calgary restaurant I ordered an Arnold Palmer - you know, the soft drink made with half iced tea and half lemonade. Apparently, the drink is not as popular in Canada as it is in this country. Why do I say this? Because when I ordered it I had to explain to my waiter what it was, and then when he returned to the table with it, he placed it down in front of me and said, “Here you go sir, one Tom Arnold.”
Thanks for reading.