GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mike Smith’s dad, Ron, is living the high life.
“I think it’s been one of the best weeks of his life,” Smith said. “He got to go to the All-Star Game, he’s in Vegas at a hunting show right now and he’s flying back [Thurs]day for the dads trip.”
Eighteen fathers of Coyotes players kicked off the team’s inaugural Fathers Trip by watching their sons play the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday at Gila River Arena. The dads will also accompany the team on its one-game trip to San Jose on Friday where the Coyotes will play the Sharks on Saturday.
On Saturday, the fathers will attend the morning skate at SAP Center and a team strategy meeting. They will watch the game together, wearing Coyotes sweaters with their last name on the back, and then they will fly back to Arizona with their sons on the team’s plane.
Many in the group, including Jakob Chychrun and father, Jeff, plan to attend the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday before attending a Super Bowl viewing party.
“It will be a little more relaxing than the usual hockey road trips I’ve taken,” Jeff Chychrun said. “Hockey has always been a family sport about the sacrifices the parents and the sisters make so it’s pretty neat to able to do this.”
Tie Domi, a former NHL player like Jeff Chychrun, said he has been ribbing his son, Max, all week about the beard Max grew while he was out of the lineup for 23 games with a broken hand.
“He forgot how to shave,” Tie Domi said. “I think he’s just doing that to piss me off.”
Tie Domi said Max has been bugging him for a while, wanting to know if he was coming on the trip.
“I was teasing him, saying, ‘no, I can’t,'” Tie said. “He still has the kid in him that wants his dad around and you wish you could have that forever. Your kids are your kids — they’re special — so you try to enjoy and have fun with them every time you’re with them.
“It’s the kind of thing that creates great memories.”
DOMI’S RETURN & FIGHTING FUTURE
Domi logged 12:51 of ice time in his return to the lineup on Thursday against Chicago. He had missed the last 23 games with a broken hand suffered during a fight with Calgary’s Garnet Hathaway on Dec. 8.
“I’ve been out for two months so you’re not the same player as when you left,” Domi said. “The first couple shifts were tough… Once the first shifts are out of the way you’re back in the swing of things.”
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett has been continually coy when asked about the wisdom of Domi fighting in the future.
“Max has had two fights this year,” Tippett said. “One of them everybody loved; the other one not so much.”
Tippett wants Domi to play a hard game, and he knows that situations may arise in the future where Domi can’t avoid a fight. All the same, he isn’t endorsing a life of pugilism.
“Max is a smart guy,” Tippett said. “He understands.”
Nobody understands the life a fighter better than Max’s dad, Tie. He spent a career serving as an enforcer and protector of his teams’ skilled players from 1989 to 2006. Tie made it clear to Max where he stands on the issue.
“He can avoid those situations, especially when he’s the leading scorer,” Tie Domi said. “Leading scorers don’t fight fourth line guys. Let’s make that perfectly clear. I helped make those rules. That just wouldn’t happen in my day.”
SAMUELSSON MOVES ON
The Coyotes cut bait with a failed first-round draft pick when they sent forward Henrik Samuelsson, the 27th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, to Edmonton on Wednesday for AHL forward Mitchell Moroz.
The trade was especially tough for Tippett, who played and coached with Henrik’s dad, Ulf.
“Yeah, it was,” Tippett said. “I’ve known Henrik since he was in a stroller. That’s a long time.”
Skating issues, injuries and, at times, work ethic were issues that kept Samuelsson from playing more than three NHL games (no points).
“I talked a lot with Henrik the last couple of days,” Tippett said. “I think the move is good for him right now. He’s going to an organization that knows him well.
“Sometimes a change gives you that spark you need. It’s probably a move that benefits everybody.”
— In the second period of Thursday’s game, Smith made his 8,056th save with the Coyotes to pass Bob Essensa for the most in franchise history. He now has 8,064 after making 22 against the Blackhawks.
— The Coyotes outhit the Blackhawks 46-8 on Thursday.
Coyotes at Sharks
When: 8:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, Calif.
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Records: Coyotes 16-28-6. Sharks 33-17-2.
Injury report: Coyotes — C Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) is out indefinitely. Sharks — F Joonas Donskoi (upper body) is out indefinitely. D Dylan DeMelo (wrist) is on IR and out until mid-March.
Scouting the Sharks: Patrick Marleau notched his 50tth career goal in San Jose’s 4-1 win in Vancouver on Thursday … D Brent Burns has scored a goal in eight straight road games, he has three multi-point games in his last five overall, and he leads all NHL defensemen (and all Sharks players) with 22 goals and 55 points. … San Jose is 8-2 in its last 10 games.