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Phoenix Coyotes move forward after key veterans scratched from lineup

When asked on the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta Wednesday about the decision to make Derek Morris and Mike Ribeiro healthy scratches in the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins the night before, Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said it was more about matchups.

“Every day we sit down and we talk about what gives us the best chance to win. Last night, Pittsburgh is a very fast team,” he said. “Ribeiro is a very clever player that speed isn’t his greatest asset [and] we wanted to put fast players and working players that were going to compete very hard and battle, and that’s what we did and we found a way to win.”

Indeed, the Coyotes were able to knock off the Penguins by a score of 3-2. The win over the Eastern Conference’s second-best team came at an opportune time, as it kept the Desert Dogs on the right side of the playoff bubble.

But seeing key players have to sit for any reason is not something that anyone wants to see, regardless of how it works out. And given that Ribeiro is fourth on the team in points and second in assists while Morris averages the fourth-most ice time of anyone on the roster, it’s safe to say both are important to what the team has done.

“Those are good friends of mine and it’s always a tough situation when that happens,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “Everybody wants to win and everybody wants to contribute and help out. It’s tough.

“At the same time we all know what our jobs are and we have to go out there and do what we can to help the team win.”

Doan noted that the players who stepped into the roles vacated by Morris and Ribeiro did well, as Paul Bissonnette and Brandon Gormley each stepped up for the team.

“We found a way to win and that’s really the whole point of everything that goes on right now,” he said. “Just finding ways to win.”

Doan added he hopes Morris and Ribeiro will find their way back into the lineup, but understands what Tippett is doing and if the decision is made to hold them out of the lineup a little longer, so be it.

“And at the same time, they’re both veteran guys and in order for us to have some success this year, they’re going to be huge parts of that and everybody knows it in our room,” he said.