Let’s start with the great news. Shane got his fourth of the season and the 300th of his career as the Coyotes lose in a shootout to Dallas 3-2. On a powerplay, Ray Whitney in front of the net, passed to the left for a knee dropping Doaner who fired top shelf, where Momma hides the cookies. A smiling Shane slid on his side, knowing he gave the Yotes the lead and nailed his 300th, got off the four game snide in scoring. On the ice to celebrate with him was Landkow and the before-mentioned Whitney, making the on-ice experience about 45 years.
At practice last Friday, Shane stayed on the ice with Paul Bissonnette to work on one-timers. Shane fired puck after puck for 10 minutes. Paul had the honor of passing to Jesus and learning at the feet of the longest serving Winnipeg Jet/Phoenix Coyote. After practice, Paul talked about getting more playing time and that he is finally learning technique. No longer satisfied with punching people in the face, Biznasty is learning the position and making himself a complete player. And, to his credit and hard work, his play has improved. He was never a stiff out there, but he has gotten better and is a true fourth line energy guy.
The game also was the home opener for Hobey Baker winner Andy Miele. Andy played a great game for only his 2nd NHL experience and the first time in front of the fans at Jobing.com. Coach Tippett chose Andy to go in the shootout, a great choice because no one has seen his moves. Kari Lehtonen made 33 stops in regulation and then stopped 7 of 8 Coyotes in the shootout. Patrick O’Sullivan scored the lone goal. Lehtonen was on the entire game and was almost unbeatable during the shootout. Even shootout masters Lauri Korpikoski and The Closer Adrian Aucoin couldn’t get it past Lehtonen.
During training camp, O’Sullivan was one of the players who stayed on the ice after practice ended, working on his shooting and passing. The others, Miele, OEL, and Rosival. Speaking of Rosival, he is still out with the upper body injury, otherwise known as “a puck to the face.” When he went to the ice after getting the deflected puck to the face, he threw off his gloves and tried to keep his blood from spilling onto the ice. He reaches down with his left hand, and he was sporting his wedding ring. I think this is the first time I’ve even noticed a NHL Player who wears their wedding ring on the ice. I’ve seen kickers in the NFL sport them, but not a player who gets physical for a living. So, for Miele and O’Sullivan, it seems that extra practice and shooting does lead to playing time and catching the coaches eye. Congratulations.
Back to the game. Dallas got another last minute goal to tie the game. Second time in two games vs. the Stars. Smith stopped 34 shots in regulation for a .944 save percentage. Smith made some lights out saves that kept the Coyotes in the game but couldn’t stop Adam Burish with 1:01 left in regulation. Burish got behind Derek Morris and wristed it past Smith after taking a goal line pass from Rubeiro. Burish made a great play. Derek didn’t have help and was trying to be two places at the same time, facing Rubeiro and keeping Burish in front of him. Smith got most of the puck, but the force of the shot allowed it to sneak through to tie it in regulation. This was the proverbial “There was nothing more he could do.”
Go the Coyote website if you want to see the videos of the goal. Doan’s is worth watching because of the milestone achievement. After, zoom over to FoxSports Arizona to see the interview Todd Walsh had with GM Don Maloney on the Kyle Turris situation. In short, Maloney said that the team loves Kyle Turris, he is a Coyote and a valued member of the organization, and he will not be traded. He will not be traded has to be emphasized. Maloney is standing strong on this. Other GMs around the league should be applauding Maloney as he is not letting Turris and his agent set precedent. Don’t like your RFA agreement, take it up with the NHLPA and the contract they signed vs. the team that has paid you handsomely for your performance. The term contract year exists for a reason. Players usually turn it on that season and get rewarded for having a great performance. You get paid for what you did, not what they think you can do. The only exception is the rookie contract, for you haven’t done anything in the NHL yet. Look at how the Coyotes took care of players like Martin Hanzal, Keith Yandle, and Paul Bissonnette. All played above expectations, all were rewarding with new contracts of longer years and more money. Turris and his agent should take note.
The trade of Nokelainen and Garrett Stafford to Montreal and getting back an AHL player means that there is a rotating position open on the fourth line for a winger, not Kip Winger. Patrick O’Sullivan or Biznasty along with Andy Miele in the middle can be plugged into that spot, provided Rafi Torres continues to do what a Rafi Torres does. What does this mean? It means the team has faith that O’Sullivan and Bissonnette can provide the spark and grit a fourth liner contributes.
The Devils come to town on Thursday minus Martin Brodeur, who is nursing a shoulder injury. These would be a great time to get two points and hammer NJ (4-2-1). Both teams are off until Thursday.