Coyotes return to ice less than 2 weeks before start of condensed season

Jan 4, 2021, 7:02 PM
(Twitter photo/@ArizonaCoyotes)...
(Twitter photo/@ArizonaCoyotes)
(Twitter photo/@ArizonaCoyotes)

The Arizona Coyotes returned to the ice on Monday for the start of training camp. It’s a unique start, even without factoring in the pandemic.

The Coyotes are undergoing a very short ramp-up. Their first game is 10 days away from that first skate, and that’s the regular season. There aren’t any exhibition games.

“Certainly, a different thing that this team will experience,” Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said Sunday, noting there are normally 6-8 exhibition games.

Head coach Rick Tocchet said Monday he expects everyone to come into camp in “excellent shape.”

“You’ve had 3-4 months to get ready, so we’ll see,” he said. “We don’t have time for people who are out of shape. Some guys might get into the lineup who are in good shape and are impressing in camp. That’s just the way it’s gotta be. There’s no excuse not to be in shape.”

Tocchet said on Sunday that the team doesn’t have time to wait around. He wanted to use the first day of camp for working on things beyond everyone just getting their legs under them.

And that puts a further emphasis on scrimmages. What’s typically a tuneup to the tuneup is now critical.

“We need that first scrimmage,” Tocchet said Sunday. “It’s gotta be competitive.”

That’s because it’s also a shortened 56-game schedule, and as Tocchet noted, a slow start could doom them. If they take two weeks to get acclimated and fall behind, that’s eight games and nearly one-seventh of the schedule on this accelerated calendar.

“We can’t worry too much about it,” defenseman Jason Demers said Sunday. “We just have to adapt.”

Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson said Sunday a group of players has been in the Valley skating the past 5-6 weeks, making sure they’re not solely relying on a small training camp.

“The real bullets are coming pretty quick so we just gotta make sure we’re on the ball,” Demers said.

Arizona Coyotes

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Arizona Sports

Report: Coyotes in talks with ASU to temporarily share new arena

The Arizona Coyotes are reportedly in "advanced discussions" with ASU to use the school's new multi-purpose arena as a temporary home.
1 day ago
A shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust (17) gets past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka ...
Associated Press

Coyotes can’t slow Penguins down in 3rd period, fall on road in Pittsburgh

The Penguins scored four unanswered goals in third period to beat the Coyotes 6-3 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
3 days ago
Arizona Coyotes center Riley Nash (20) and New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) watch ...
Associated Press

Rough 2nd period dooms Coyotes in loss to Rangers at MSG

The Arizona Coyotes allowed four goals in the second period of Saturday night's 7-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
6 days ago
Dysin Mayo #61 of the Arizona Coyotes looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Cente...
Jake Anderson

Arizona Coyotes place D Dysin Mayo in NHL’s COVID-19 protocol

The Arizona Coyotes have placed defenseman Dysin Mayo in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol, the team announced on Saturday.
6 days ago
The puck passes behind Arizona Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood (31) during the second period of ...
Associated Press

Scott Wedgewood’s 31 saves not enough as Coyotes fall to Islanders

Coyotes goaltender Scott Wedgewood finished with 31 saves but Arizona snapped a two-game winning streak in the second of a four-game trip.
7 days ago
Arizona Coyotes center Travis Boyd (72) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the ...
Associated Press

Coyotes win 2nd straight game; defeat Devils to open road trip

Karel Vejmelka made 35 saves to help lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
9 days ago
Coyotes return to ice less than 2 weeks before start of condensed season