GLENDALE – With Mike Smith sidelined because of a lower-body injury, the Coyotes have turned to Thomas Greiss to tend net in some very important games until Smith returns.
They’ve also turned to rookie goalie Mark Visentin to serve as backup to Greiss.
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
"It's an honor and privilege to be here, and I'm looking forward to doing anything I can to help the team," Visentin said after Wednesday’s practice at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The Coyotes play the Devils on Thursday.
Anyone who watched the TV broadcast of Phoenix’s 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night could see Visentin’s enthusiasm as he dressed for his first NHL game. He did not play as Greiss stopped 23 of 25 shots.
"It was quite the last 24 hours for me," said Visentin, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Tuesday. "To be here with just under 10 games left for a playoff push makes it that much better. It’s the best time of year."
The Coyotes selected Visentin with the 27th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. The 21-year-old says he’s learned a lot since that day and he believes he's ready to succeed at the NHL level if given the chance.
"I'm prepared,” he said. "... If I do get the call I'll be ready and I’m excited for it."
• Forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has missed the past two games because of an upper-body injury, practiced on Wednesday and could play Thursday. Korpikoski was struck in the face by a puck during Monday’s morning skate at Madison Square Garden.
• Forward Brandon McMillan has quietly been an effective player during the team’s playoff push and on Tuesday he played nearly 16 minutes vs. Pittsburgh.
"He plays the game with tenacity and pace that have been really effective for us," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He gets in on the forecheck, he's a complement who can play with top players or he can play on a checking line. With Korpikoski out he's helped us on the penalty kill, so he's just an all-around player."
McMillan has notched two assists in his past three games, and he has two goals and three assists in 14 games overall.
• The Coyotes on Wednesday recalled defenseman Connor Murphy from the American Hockey League.
Tippett said Murphy was recalled to add some depth and that a decision on whether he would play on Thursday would be announced after the morning skate.
Wednesday, by the way, was Murphy’s 21st birthday.
• The Coyotes own the best power-play percentage in the Western Conference at 20.8 percent. That’s the fourth-best power-play unit in the NHL.
• Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving on Wednesday was named assistant GM for Canada's national team for the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
Treliving joins Ron Hextall and Brad Pascall as assistants to Canada's general manager Rob Blake.
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