Mike McKenna: Getting To Know The Arizona Coyotes

Mike McKenna: Arizona’s Lesser-Known Veteran Netminder

Mike McKenna got called up from the Portland Pirates on 1-21-15, and is currently serving as the interim backup goalie to starter Mike Smith.

The 31-year-old McKenna has recorded a 16-13-2 record this season for the Portland Pirates, with a 2.09 goals against average (GAA) and a .934 save percentage (SV%) in 32 games. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound native of St. Louis, Missouri has a 3.40 GAA and a .891 SV% in 21 career NHL games. McKenna was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round (172nd overall) in the 2002 Entry Draft.

I attended the Coyotes training camp, and was quite impressed with McKenna’s performance, despite the fact that he’s an AHLer. He’s left-handed, which is unique — shooters occasionally have to adjust their shots, especially since most goalies are right-handed (or, at the very least, catch as righties). There have only been six left-handed goalies who have played in the NHL — one of which, interestingly enough, is Philadelphia Flyers starter Steve Mason (who replaced Ray Emery after giving up two quick first period goals on January 27th against Arizona).

McKenna is a writer, and as I sit here munching on my nacho cheese Doritos, I found that to entertain me. He wrote an article for InGoalmag.com in 2010 about the impending rules changing the goalie equipment. It was well written and it is a perspective given to his readers from a goaltender’s point of view. I fashion it to telling a construction worker his hammer must be smaller, or he must wear gear he is not familiar with to do his job.

He also wrote another article about how it feels to play for the NHL versus the AHL and ECHL. Here’s an excerpt:

    

Given my experience, people often ask what the difference is between leagues, namely the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. The short answer is this: money. To put it in quick perspective, minimum salaries for the 2009/10 season are $400/week plus housing expenses in the ECHL, $36,500 for the AHL, and $500,000 in the NHL.

General Manager Don Maloney has stated that he wants to assess the talent in the organization, and McKenna is getting his chance to show the parent team what he can do.

He’s not a youngster, and might be the ideal backup to Mike Smith until next season, when Mark Visentin (who has been out with a foot injury the entire season) or Louis Domingue could likely inherit that honor. With the Coyotes playing back to back games this weekend versus the Senators on Saturday — and the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday — there is a possibility we will see McKenna in the last game of this epically long road trip.