Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona,
Jeff Halpern was playing for TPS Tuurku in Finland when the 2013-2014 NHL season began. He wasn't there for money; he was there to prolong a once-unlikely dream.
"I didn't ask for or want any money in Finland. I just wanted a chance to go get some game action," said Halpern, who hadn't received any NHL offers after playing out his contract in Montreal last season. "A good friend of mine, (former NHL player) Brian Willsie, had a contract with Tuurku, but for tax reasons he couldn't play for the first month, so there was a three-week period where I could go over there and play to try and stay in shape."
Five games into the NHL season, the Coyotes signed Halpern to a one-year, two-way contract to fill their gaping hole at fourth-line center, improve their face-off percentage and help the penalty-killing unit recover from the loss of free agent Boyd Gordon. The 37-year-old "Southerner" got another chance to continue the only profession he ever truly wanted.
"Some guys have to work a little harder to get where they want to go in life," said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, an 11-year NHL grinder himself. "It's a testament to Halpy's ethic that's he's still around after all this time."
from Carter Nacke of Arizona Sports,
So far this season, the Coyotes are 14-6-4 this season when Biz takes the ice. They're not winning because of his offensive contributions, as the 28-year-old has only contributed one goal and five helpers (not exactly record-breaking numbers). They're winning because of his presence.
Bissonnette has that intimidation factor. He has no fear. Whether it's laying a hit to get his team going, protecting a teammate or dropping the gloves to take on the other team's big guy, Biz is the Coyotes' man. In fact, when he's on the ice, the Coyotes lay an average of 14.2 hits on their opponents while only taking 9.7. The other team is wary of him and it changes the way they play.
But the Welland, Ontario native is stepping outside of his enforcer role this season. His effort, in each game he's played, is noticeable. He's doing more than hitting, more than getting physical. He's creating chances and contributing.
"He's actually a pretty good player," said Doan. "He's a good player and doesn't get the credit he deserves."
How right is the captain? I took a look.
Biz's aforementioned offensive stats, again, aren't impressive. But his six points are enough to tie his NHL season-high.
Pretty good battle, but personally I don't see why dropping the gloves right after a faceoff is needed.
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
Although Doan is still tied for the most goals on the team with 12, the Coyotes are curbing their expectations — at least initially. Tippett isn’t sure how many minutes he’ll assign Doan, but he still expects Doan to settle into his former habits.
“He wants to create plays,” Tippett said. “He wants to make things happen in the game. I think you’ll see him try to do that.”
In that sense, Doan’s return couldn’t come at a better time. The Coyotes haven’t won back-to-back games since early December and were shut out for the first time this season Thursday.
“I’ve totally kind of come to grips with where I’m going to be in my career, and I really want to be on a team that wins,” Doan said. “And this team, I think, has a chance to be good, and we gotta get kind of going and winning again and winning on a consistent basis. Hopefully we can win the next one and go from there.”
Derek MacKenzie of the Blue Jackets made the hit and Ekman-Larsson did not return to the game, Coyotes only announced upper-body injury.
No penalty for the hit but Keith Yandle and MacKenzie did receive five for fighting...
added 9:50am, via NHL.com, MacKenzie will have a hearing tomorrow,
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
After failing to accept an assignment to the American Hockey League, forward Gilbert Brule's career with the Coyotes - and in the NHL - appears to be nearing an end.
Brule was assigned to Portland, the Coyotes' AHL affiliate, Sunday and was suspended Monday by the team once he didn't report.
"It's pretty simple," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. "He decided that he didn't want to live out of a suitcase anymore, was sick of living at hotels, and told me he was going to quit hockey - maybe become a firefighter. So what we do procedurally is we suspended him and unless he has a change of heart very, very quickly, we'll go through the procedure of terminating his contract."
Brule signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Coyotes in November. He was in training camp on a professional tryout and once he was cut, he accepted a professional tryout with the Portland Pirates.
from the QMI AGENCY at the Toronto Sun,
Simply put, not much has changed under IceArizona, which purchased the struggling ‘Yotes earlier this year.
“I’m probably a little disappointed in where we are with attendance,” Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc told the Arizona Republic. “There are those marquee games like the Chicago game, which was obviously a very big night for us from the perspective that we broke the regular-season franchise record for gate revenue for a single game. But (two weeks ago), we had the Islanders and Carolina in town and there was roughly 10,000, 11,000 people in the building, and that’s simply not good enough.”
Maybe more concerning is the fact Phoenix is averaging about 1,000 fewer fans than it did last season after the league relinquished complete control of the team.
“Our next home game on Dec. 27 against San Jose, that’s going to be a sellout,” LeBlanc said. “That’s encouraging, but overall it would be unfair for me to say that I’m thrilled with where things are. There are some positives, but there’s a lot more work. We need stronger support.”
Stafford received five for elbowing and a game misconduct.
I heard Mike Smith post-game saying once the ref lost sight of the puck, the whistle should have been blown.
One of the strangest goals I have seen.
via the Situation Blog,
from Sarah McLellan of AZCentral,
Coyotes captain Shane Doan will not join the team on their current road trip before the league breaks for Christmas, but the team has been able to identify his illness.
“It looks like some form of Rocky Mountain fever disease,” General Manager Don Maloney said Friday. “Our medical team is on top of it. Every day he seems like he’s getting a little better and a little more energy and has started to exercise a little more. We’re encouraged. He’s trending in a positive manner and for us. It’s just going to take time.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, Rocky Mountain fever is described as a bacterial disease that affects the cells in the lining of blood vessels, causing the vessels to leak. Symptoms include headache and fever, which Doan previously said he experienced.
Doan is on injured reserve, is considered week-to-week and is still on medication, Maloney said.
“It’s certainly not to the point that we’re worried that he’ll never return,” Maloney said. “But it is my understanding that it’s an illness that responds to medication. Everybody’s different.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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