Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Strader at PhoenixCoyotes.com,
It’s impossible to overstate what the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov has meant to this team. As Wayne has stated many times, goaltending wasn’t really an issue in the first six weeks of the season. The team got several strong outings from Auld, Aebischer and Tellqvist…but Bryzgalov brought something that my partner Darren Pang likes to call “presence”. Bryz has presence because of his size, athleticism and attitude. Since Bryz has become a Coyote, the entire team has begun to take on a presence.
from Sports Ticker via Yahoo,
“I think I found a home,” Bryzgalov said after stopping 30 shots in the Coyotes’ 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. “I feel here it’s my best year in the NHL.
“I feel trust. I believe in the guys. The guys believe in me. I think we have a great future if we continue working hard and believe in ourselves.”...
Bryzgalov has started 22 of 24 games for his new team, posting a 13-8-1 record with a 2.15 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Indeed, one could argue that at the midpoint of the NHL season, Gretzky is the leading candidate for the Jack Adams trophy as the NHL’s coach of the year for what he’s done with his Phoenix Coyotes to date. The Coyotes were expected to challenge for top spot in only one category this year - the draft lottery - after cleaning house and deciding once and for all to go with a youth movement.
While many of the other long-time Western Conference also-rans bolstered their line-ups with free agent signings, the Coyotes made a few tweaks around the edges of the line-up, but mostly decided to play their kids (Peter Mueller, Michal Hanzal et al) and take their lumps.
from the Arizona Republic,
Various factors have jelled for the Coyotes as the first half of the season comes to an end Tuesday night in Calgary. Riding a four-game winning streak with a record of 21-18-1, they are one of the surprise teams in the NHL.
Coach Wayne Gretzky points to a couple of the main reasons.
“The two things that you need to do to win hockey games is, a) cut down on penalties, which we’re doing a tremendous job of; and b) cut down on goals against . . . we’re probably, after 40 games, 80 goals better defensively than we were last year at this time - or close to that, anyway.”
from the Bleacher Report,
Trade rumors buzzing around the Big Apple—about a multiplayer deal that could make a short- and long-term impact for both teams involved:
Jaromir Jagr, Michal Roszival, and Petr Prucha to the Phoenix Coyotes for Shane Doan and Ed Jovanovski.
The deal makes sense for both clubs.
I am beginning to lose faith in some of the hockey bloggers. After Jagr leaves Phoenix as quickly as possible at the end of the season, what does Phoenix do then?
from the Arizona Republic,
When Ulf Samuelsson skates down the ice during a practice, it isn’t difficult to flash back and visualize him as a premier NHL defenseman, causing havoc and driving opponents up the wall (figuratively and literally).
Samuelsson, a Coyotes assistant, coaches like he played, says coach Wayne Gretzky.
“As a player, he prepared really hard, so he prepares hard at coaching,” he said. “He spends a lot of time behind the scenes, (watching) videos, watching guys, watching systems, and he puts a lot of effort into it.
via Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,
When goalie Ilya Bryzgalov opened up the Christmas card the Coyotes are sending out this season, he saw his smiling face.
He immediately realized that the leg pads were not his—and then he noticed that it wasn’t his body either.
Since he was not on the team at the time the photo was taken, his face was superimposed over the face of David Aebischer, who is now a goaltender in Europe.
Bryzgalov, taken aback a little at first, joked that he’d have to take somebody to court.
from the New York Times,
Although he has a vast array of investments and business interests, Gretzky prefers the hockey life to a life of leisure. He will arrive at the rink hours early for game-day practices, and he still holds to a ritual of an afternoon nap and pregame meal.
In this, the third season of Gretzky’s Act II as a coach, the Coyotes are still expected to lose more often than they win. But this has been a year of major adjustments for Gretzky. His legendary playing career, which earned him a place between Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr on the sport’s Mount Rushmore, is now eight years past.
His team, after two seasons at the bottom of the standings, is rebuilding with highly regarded prospects who are learning on the job
via the Arizona Republic,
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski was suspended for one game by the NHL for his hit on Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild during their game Wednesday night.
The suspension was announced Thursday afternoon, and Jovanovski, who has two goals and 13 assists, will sit out tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
From Don McGowan at CanWest News,
The 27-year-old Russian, who had played his entire NHL_career with the Ducks, was touched when the Anaheim crowd applauded him as his career highlights were displayed on the Honda Center video screen.
“The crowd stood up and gave me cheering,” said Bryzgalov, who was named Tuesday as the NHL’s No. 2 star of the week ending Nov. 25. “This was a great moment. I started a bit of crying because I don’t expect 17,000 people to stand up and start cheering. It was a great moment.”
That’s where the sentimentality ended. Bryzgalov stopped 23 shots and two more in overtime as the Coyotes beat the defending Stanley Cup champions 4-3.
“We are all professionals,” Bryzgalov said. “We came to (Anaheim) to win this game. Right now, I play for the Coyotes, so no friends on the ice. We have to beat this team. We need the points. No sharing.”
more… *highlights from Bryzgalov’s NHL press conference call today
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.
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