GLENDALE – Coyotes forward Raffi Torres will be back in the lineup tonight after serving a 21-game suspension for a hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa during last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
|Raffi Torres. Photo by Getty Images.
“I'm excited (to play), it's been quite a long time,” Torres said. “I just want to be out there helping the boys out.”
Torres scored 15 goals last season while bringing a sense of grit to Phoenix’s lineup. During his suspension – 13 games last season and eight games this season - he and Head Coach Dave Tippett discussed ways in which he could tweak his game without losing the edge with which he plays.
“I think there are some things he can do to make him a better player but maybe make him a little less dangerous player,” Tippett said. “He's a rugged guy. He plays hard, and that's how he's going to have to play. But there are some areas of the game we can show him where we can take some of the recklessness out of it.”
“We went over a bunch of (video) clips,” Torres said. “A bunch (of clips) were me running out of position to make a big hit. It's got to be non-existent this year. I can't be running out of position, giving up my man in order to throw a big hit. (Tippett) showed me a bunch of clips where I was thinking puck first and hit second and it worked out, where I got a lot of scoring chances out of it. It's just a matter of me controlling my emotions throughout the game.”
The Coyotes have started the abbreviated 2012-13 season in mediocre fashion. They’ve earned just six points in eight games and will enter tonight’s home game vs. Dallas ranked 13th in the Western Conference standings.
Tippett is hoping the return of Torres will trigger a stretch of better results.
“He's going to be a very energized player,” Tippett said. “… You watch him in practice and he gives us energy. I think he's going to give us energy Saturday.”