GLENDALE – Forward Alex Bolduc likely will make his season debut with the Coyotes on Tuesday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers in the final game of a five-game homestand.
Bolduc, 29, has 62 NHL games on his resume including two games for the Coyotes in 2011-12 and 14 more in 2012-13. Arizona recalled him for a third stint on Friday, and he was a healthy scratch on Saturday when the Coyotes lost, 4-3, to Minnesota in a shootout. When recalled, Bolduc was leading the team’s American Hockey League club - the Portland Pirates - with 20 points in 24 games.
"It’s always something I’m working for, and I think the last few weeks have been going pretty well for me so I’m happy to get the call (to the NHL)," Bolduc said after Monday’s practice.
Bolduc is serving as captain of the Portland Pirates this season and he watched as several younger forwards were recalled to the Coyotes before him. But he said he wasn’t troubled when the Coyotes passed him over for prospects such as Lucas Lessio, Brendan Shinnimin and Jordan Martinook because he remembers when he used to get recalled ahead of older AHL teammates. He said he’s also good friends with his AHL teammates and wants to see them succeed and be recognized.
"The guys that did get called up before me deserved it," Bolduc said. "They were playing really well and I was happy for them."
Bolduc last played for the Coyotes during the lockout season of 2012-13. He recalls playing on the second and fourth lines during that time. He also recalls feeling he didn’t chip in offensively as much as he should have.
"I felt like I got a lot of chances and I was playing some of the best hockey in my life, but it just wasn’t going in for me," Bolduc said. "Hopefully this time around I’ll get a few more bounces here and there and I can put the puck in the net."
Bolduc also plans to resume observing how Shane Doan conducts himself as team captain. The way he sees it, there’s not a better captain from whom to learn.
"I’ve watched Shane Doan since the minute I got here three years ago," Bolduc said. "I’ve learned so much from him. Every time I went back down (to Portland) I tried to bring what he brought to this team. So, every time I get the chance to hear him talk or I get to talk to him, I’m all ears."
• Forward Kyle Chipchura will be looking to build off his finest performance of the season on Saturday when he played 17:18, notched an assist and two takeaways, delivered four hits and won 10 of 12 face-offs.
"It was a step in the right direction," said Chipchura, who has been a healthy scratch 12 times this season. "It’s been a tough year and I have to take personal responsibility for it. I haven’t played good enough at a consistent level. But I’ve gotten another chance here and hopefully I can make the most of it and play well on a consistent level."
• Meanwhile, forward Sam Gagner, whom Head Coach Dave Tippett scratched on Saturday after he failed to notch a point and was minus-5 in his past three games, is looking to get back in the lineup soon.
"It’s obviously frustrating," Gagner said. "I feel like I want to be out there helping the team get out of it. It is what it is... I’ll focus on moving forward here."
• Goaltenders Coach Sean Burke will leave the team temporarily on Dec. 24 to join Team Canada as it competes in the IIHF World Junior Championship from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Toronto and Montreal. Burke is serving on the management team for Canada's Junior National Team.
• Center Martin Hanzal is adjusting to life minus the bottom half of his right front tooth. Hanzal lost part of his tooth when he took a high stick to the face during Saturday’s game vs. Minnesota. No penalty was called on the play despite Hanzal picking up the dislodged portion of his tooth and showing it to the ref. He then gave it to the team’s medical staff for safe keeping. He’s hoping to show it to his young son Martin Jr. one day because it was the first tooth he has lost in the NHL.
"I’ve been lucky," Hanzal said, flashing his new smile. "I’m a little bit taller and it’s hard (for other players) to reach me. Eventually they did."
• Tippett said forward Lauri Korpikoski is questionable for Tuesday’s game because of a lower-body injury he suffered in Saturday’s game. Korpikoski did not practice on Monday. Meanwhile, Tippett said defenseman Brandon Gormley would miss his 14th straight game on Tuesday because of a lower-body injury he suffered on Nov. 14 vs. Vancouver.
• Prospect Christian Dvorak was named the Ontario Hockey League’s Player of the Week on Monday for the week ending Dec. 14 after notching six goals and six assists in three games for the London Knights. The Coyotes selected Dvorak with the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.