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‘Yotes Notes: Team Turns to Gaudet to Replace Injured Gordon

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The Coyotes have turned to center Tyler Gaudet to replace injured center Boyd Gordon in the lineup with 30 games left in the regular season.

“I’m interested to see what he can do,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Tuesday’s practice. “In the first week or 10 days of camp, before he ended up getting a shoulder injury, we were talking about how we were going to have a hard time keeping him off our team. He’s kind of been up and down this year, so we talked a long time, me and him today, and this is a great opportunity for a young player. This could be a turning point in his career.”

Gaudet centered a line with forwards Viktor Tikhonov and Kyle Chipchura at Tuesday’s practice. The trio likely will play together on Wednesday when the Coyotes host Vancouver at Gila River Arena looking to snap a four-game losing streak (0-3-1).

This is Gaudet’s third stint with the Coyotes. He played two games for Arizona last season, and five more earlier this season. He has notched one assist in his brief NHL career.

Gordon suffered an upper-body injury blocking a shot vs. Chicago last Thursday. Tippett said Gordon’s status is week-to-week, but added that while he may start skating as early as next week, he’s not expected to handle a puck on the ice anytime soon. Gaudet will be asked to fill Gordon’s shoes, primarily on the penalty kill and in the face-off circles.

Gaudet won 55 percent of his draws while playing for Springfield of the American Hockey League this season. Analyzed further, he won 56 percent of his draws in the offensive zone, 60 percent of his draws in the neutral zone and 51 percent in the defensive zone.

“It’s a strategical thing and an effort thing, too,” Gaudet said regarding face-offs. “You’ve got to know who you are going against (and) you just got to have the willpower to win that draw and have second efforts.”

Gaudet is looking forward to getting another chance in the NHL. He said he believes he will play with more confidence now that the novelty of just being in the NHL has worn off.

“I want to play with confidence (knowing) it’s just another hockey game,” said Gaudet, who was not drafted. “I’ve played hockey my whole life so I just want to go in and just play my game and be confident about it.”

Gaudet missed some playing time in the AHL this season because of various injuries but Tippett said he’s 100 percent healthy now.

• Captain Shane Doan will enter Wednesday’s game needing just one point to tie Dale Hawerchuk for first place on the franchise’s all-time points list; Hawerchuk notched 929 points, Doan has notched 928.

Doan, of course, broke Hawerchuk’s franchise record for goals scored when he notched No. 380 on Dec. 31. He recently hinted that the points record would mean slightly more to him than the goals record by noting that the Art Ross Trophy, which the NHL awards to the top point producer of the season, has been handed out since 1947-48 whereas the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, which the NHL hands out to the top goal scorer of the season, has been awarded only since 1998-99.

Doan has scored 19 goals this season. He’s looking to notch the 13th 20-goal season of his NHL career. Last year he scored just 14 in 79 games.

“After last season, I wanted to answer some personal questions for sure,” Doan said. “I thought I was better than that, and this year I’ve been able to contribute. It’s been good. Last year was tough. The team really started to struggle and it was disheartening and I let it affect me so much more than I should ever have let it affect me. This year was a different approach where I’m going to enjoy playing hockey. I’m playing in the NHL still, and I’m loving every minute of it.”

• The Coyotes will play their next three games against Pacific Division teams – Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose. Arizona is 11-4-2 vs. Pacific Division teams and have outscored them 51-44 in those 17 games.

• Arizona has been called for 27 penalties during its four-game skid and has given up five power-play goals.

“We’ve got to recognize that we’ve got to bear down,” defenseman Connor Murphy said. “Bad penalties, mental lapses and soft plays… we have to take those things out of our games, and we’ve got to grow and be more of a consistent and stable group. If we want to win we’re going to have to do that the whole game.”

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