You look at players like Rozsival, Langkow, Boedker, and Chris Summers. All came here in varying paths. Boedker 8th overall pick in the draft. Chris Summers after a successful college career. Rozsival on a trade (Rangers still smarting after that) and Langkow for a second opportunity and a second time with the Coyotes. Each has contributed in their own way. Boedker on the shootout. Put in the shootout by Coach Tippett, he delivered. It had been weeks since he had scored. Coach Tippett saw something in Boedker that morning and the hunch payed off. Since then, another shootout goal and a regulation goal. His confidence was restored.
Langkow delivers not just in the face off circle, but has been what the 3rd and 4th line needs. Leadership. Consistency. Someone who goes to the boards and wins. His face is finally healed, the shield is off. Shaved, you think he is back on his first stint here.
Rozsival has been stabilized the defensive corps. Steady play, willing to put his body in front of shots, moving the forwards from the net. With the injuries to Derek Morris and David Schlemko, the Coyotes have had to call up Chris Summers and Mike Stone. Both have speed and size. What they need is ice time and learning from a veteran. Rozsival has provided what is needed. Summers has shown he doesn’t get flustered or is out of position. The speed difference from college to AHL to NHL was not a problem for him. He will be one of the starting six in no time.
Last, we need to recognize the overall buy in from the players. After the 1st period against Vancouver, Assistant Coach Jim Playfair told Fox Sports AZ reporter Todd Walsh that he asked the players to put more pucks on the net and get bodies in front of Corey Schneider. What did the team do? More shots on goal and more bodies in front of the net and ready for any juicy rebound. The players have bought what the coaches are selling. Even guys like Rafi Torres and Antoine Vermette are playing the defense first, smothering forecheck style Coach Tippett preaches. The Prime Line delivers. Coach Tippett has recognized that Vrbata needs a set up man. Martin Hanzal needs a sniper that he trusts as he puts his frame in front of the goalie. And Ray Whitney needs players who will get him the puck so he can work his magic. Together, the line is perfection.
Who wants to see a dozen? I do. You do too. Prediction for Calgary. Phoenix 3-1.