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‘Yotes Notes: Hanzal Skates at Monday's Practice

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Center Martin Hanzal, who missed the past three games because of a lower-body injury, skated in about half of the team’s practice on Monday at Gila River Arena.

Head Coach Dave Tippett said he hopes Hanzal will be able to make it through a full practice on Tuesday. The Coyotes next play on Thursday at home vs. Columbus.

Despite missing five games, Hanzal co-leads the team with 15 assists and ranks third with 20 points.

Meanwhile, goalie Mike Smith did not practice on Monday because of a lower-body injury. Smith has undergone medical tests, and his status is expected to be updated this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

“Hopefully this week we’ll get more detail (on the injury),” Head Coach Dave Tippett said.

• The Coyotes rank 29th in the NHL in power play success at 14.7 percent, but Tippett said the plan of attack is solid. Poor execution of the plan, he said, is what’s keeping the percentage low.

“I like our scheme,” Tippett said. “I like what we’re supposed to be trying to do. It’s proven that it has worked in the past. It’s just a matter of getting everybody to do what’s needed.”

• For the second time in three weeks, the Ontario Hockey League has named Coyotes prospect Christian Dvorak its Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 13. Dvorak, a center for the London Knights, notched seven points – three goals, four assists –in two games last week.

Dvorak, whom Arizona drafted 58th overall in 2014, leads the OHL in scoring with 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists) in 27 games. He is currently riding a 17-game point streak.

• The 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is just around the corner, and eight Coyotes prospects are still in contention to compete at the prestigious event.

They are (in alphabetical order): Christian Dvorak (USA), Erik Kallgren (Sweden), Anton Karlsson (Sweden), Jens Looke (Sweden), Ryan MacInnis (USA), Nick Merkley (Canada), Brendan Perlini (Canada) and Dylan Strome (Canada).

The eight-nation tournament runs Dec. 26 – Jan. 5 in Helsinki, Finland. Rosters for the teams have yet to be finalized.

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