GLENDALE – With 53 games left on their schedule, the consensus among the Coyotes after Friday’s practice was that there’s still more than enough time to snap out of their current slump and get back into the chase for a playoff spot.
Perhaps forward David Moss said it best:
"We’re definitely not a team that’s going to quit or roll over or stop trying to play hard and do the right things," Moss said. "There’s lots of games left to play. Obviously, we have to put a good string of games together and we’ve done that before in the past. We just have to start winning more battles in front of our net and defending better and spend much more time in the offensive zone."
Arizona next plays on Saturday at home vs. Minnesota.
Head Coach Dave Tippett said the battle to right the ship, while frustrating, continues on a daily basis.
"You never stop pushing and prodding and coaching," Tippett said. "That’s what the job is, right? We’ve got a good core group of players, we’ve just got to get doing it better on a more consistent basis… I’m a big believer that if you do things right you’ll get rewarded for that. We need to do more things right if we expect to get rewarded."
Tippett did not commit to Mike Smith or Devan Dubnyk as the starting goalie for Saturday’s game after Friday morning’s practice. He said that decision would come after a chat with Goaltenders Coach Sean Burke on Friday afternoon.
Whomever he chooses to start, Tippett said that goalie could give the team a huge lift with a stellar performance against the Wild.
"We need one of those guys to step up and play well for us," Tippett said. "That would certainly help the situation."
• Moss played 12:45 on Thursday vs. Nashville, his first game back after missing 22 because of an upper-body injury. He took two shots on goal, delivered two hits and won the only face-off he contested.
After the game, a 5-1 loss to the Predators, Tippett said he liked what he saw from Moss.
"I thought he was solid," Tippett said. "He looked like a good NHL player."
Moss said he felt rusty at first but that faded as he logged shifts/minutes.
"I felt all right as the game went on," Moss said. "I don’t think our line played as well as we would have liked, but personally I felt all right. It felt good to be back out there after being away for so long."
• The Coyotes recalled forward Alexandre Bolduc from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League on Friday and assigned forward Jordan Martinook to the AHL.
Bolduc, who is captain of the AHL team and leads it in scoring with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 24 games, has played 62 NHL games, including 16 for the Coyotes in recent seasons.
"He’s one of our offensive leaders but he’s a real competitive give who’s hard on the puck and he really drives the group with his work ethic," said Ray Edwards, the General Manager/Head Coach of the Pirates, about Bolduc earlier this season when asked why he named him team captain.
Bolduc will wear sweater No. 34 this time around with the Coyotes; he wore No. 49 in previous stints with the team.
• Tippett said defenseman Brandon Gormley would not play on Saturday vs. Minnesota.
Gormley, who suffered a lower-body injury vs. Vancouver on Nov. 14, is skating with teammates but is not ready to return to games, Tippett said.