GLENDALE – Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney was back watching practice on Monday morning after a scouting trip to Europe last week.
After practice, Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett met to analyze the team’s 5-5-1 start through the month of October.
“I think it’s been a very positive beginning to the season,” Maloney said. “We’ve had good energy, really good performances from a lot of our young players, and our veterans are starting to kick in on a regular basis. And I like the speed we’re playing at. I think ‘Tip’ has done a terrific job putting a game plan in place so that we can compete every night. Other than the Boston game in Boston, we’ve been right there in all of the games. I think that’s what we’ll see all year and at the end of the day hopefully we’ll win more than we’ll lose. Overall, I’m very encouraged where we’re at.”
Maloney believes the worst is behind the Coyotes with regards to challenging schedules. In the first month of the season, Arizona played seven of 11 games on the road and three sets of back-to-back games.
“The good news is that period was probably the toughest for us all season and we got through it with at least our heads above water,” Maloney said. “Now we have to find a way to establish a presence here in Glendale. We have to make this a very hard place to play. We’ve shown that we can play on the road, now we have to find a way to get a better performance at home on a regular basis.”
• Center Martin Hanzal, who missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury, skated with teammates at a lengthy practice on Monday. Afterward, Hanzal said he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to play in the team’s next game on Thursday vs. Colorado at home.
“I just needed a couple extra days to calm it down, which we did, and now I feel really good and I’ll probably be 100 percent by Thursday,” Hanzal said.
Hanzal ranks second on the team with 10 points – all assists.
“He’s been terrific for us,” Maloney said. “He’s come back from a serious back injury with a great disposition and attitude and has played very well. He’s a big part as to why we’ve had some success to date. It’s been very encouraging to see him come back and be one of the leaders of our team.”
• Rookie Max Domi is averaging a point per game in the first 11 games of his career. It’s an impressive feat, but Domi has some work to do if he’s going to set the franchise record for points in a season by a rookie.
That’s because Teemu Selanne notched 132 points for the Winnipeg Jets as a 22-year-old rookie in 1992-93. Not only is that a franchise record, it’s an NHL record. So are the 76 goals Selanne scored that season.
“That’s unbelievable,” Domi said. “My dad always told me Teemu was one of the best players he ever played with and one of the best players ever. To put up that many points as a rookie is just outstanding. I can’t see anyone even coming close to that record. It’s just insane.”
Anthony Duclair, another rookie, agreed.
“That’s a crazy number,” Duclair said. “Obviously the game has changed since then but still, you’re in the NHL and you put up 132 points as a rookie? That’s really, really impressive. It’s mind blowing.”