GLENDALE – Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who has missed the past seven games because of a lower-body injury, skated with teammates at a lengthy practice on Monday morning and is close to returning to the lineup.
Grossmann said there is no timetable set for his return, but he is optimistic that it would be soon.
“I’m getting there,” Grossmann said. “We’ll just do it day by day and try to improve every day. That’s the only goal.”
The Coyotes have posted a 4-3-0 record without Grossmann, who averages 17:13 of ice time per game and is a key penalty killer. His physical presence was missed during last week’s road trip in which Arizona lost three of four games.
“That’s the tough part being sidelined,” Grossmann said. “You want to help and you want to get back quicker, but you have to be smart about it and try not to push it too hard and come back too early ... It’s a fine line but I’m certainly doing everything I can to get back.”
• Goalie Mike Smith, who did not dress for Saturday’s game at Winnipeg, practiced on Monday and is considered day-to-day. Nevertheless, the Coyotes recalled goalie Louis Domingue from the American Hockey League as a precaution.
“We’ve got to back ourselves up to make sure we’ve got enough goaltenders to practice around,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “It’s a good sign that Mike was out there today.”
Smith has won three of his past four starts and stopped 107 of 117 shots (.915 save percentage) in those games.
Goalie Marek Langhamer, who was called up on Saturday and served as Anders Lindback’s backup vs. Winnipeg, was sent back to the East Coast Hockey League.
• Forward Steve Downie skated on Monday but is expected to miss more games because of an upper-body injury.
• Goalie Anders Lindback is hoping to have a new mask within a few weeks. Lindback has been wearing a plain white mask for most of the season after deciding to change models after training camp. His new mask is being painted in Sweden.
• The Coyotes will play their next three games at Gila River Arena in a span of about 72 hours starting Wednesday. Arizona has played just seven home games this season – the fewest of any NHL team.
• Single game tickets for the second half of the 2015-16 regular season will go on sale to the general public on Friday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m.