Desert Dog Blog: Relaxed schedule just what doctor ordered for Coyotes
GLENDALE — OK, so I’m watching The Office the other night – which is one of my favorite sitcoms by the way – and at one point the character Ryan announces that “blogs are out” these days because everybody is texting instead.
Say whaaaaaaaat? Are blogs really “out” already? I certainly hope not because I’m not a big fan of communicating in those choppy, 140-character texts. There’s not a lot of room for articulation and/or creativity under those restrictions, wouldn’t you agree? Or should I write, “woodnt u agree?”
Anyway, time for some tidbits about the Coyotes, who, if you can believe it, play only one game in the next seven days – against Colorado on Friday at Jobing.com Arena. The relaxed schedule, if you will, will be quite helpful for a team dealing with multiple injuries.
• I sat and chatted with General Manager Don Maloney during Wednesday’s practice at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. He told me that he and the coaching staff are hopeful the team will be able to clinch a playoff berth soon and then enter the postseason with a healthy roster.
In a nutshell, Maloney said a.) he expects defenseman Ed Jovanovski (upper-body injury) to be back in the lineup next week for one or more of the final three games of the regular season, b.) there is a “good chance” forward Lauri Korpikoski (upper-body injury) also will return during the final week of the regular season, and c.) there is “some chance” center Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury) could play again in the regular season.
• Maloney also said that forward Ryan Hollweg, who was recalled from the American Hockey League last week on an emergency basis, would remain with the Coyotes for the rest of the season.
Maloney said he likes the way the players – and the fans – have been feeding off the energy Hollweg has provided during his ice time the past two games.
Hollweg, of course, is rocking a retro mustache and is quickly becoming a fan favorite.
For those who don’t know, Hollweg played 225 NHL games before making his debut with the Coyotes on Saturday. The California native will forever be linked with one of the most brutal hi-sticks in NHL history – a two-handed chop to his head by Chris Simon delivered on March 8, 2007 when Hollweg was playing for the New York Rangers and Simon was playing for the Islanders. On the lighter side, Hollweg also is known for being a character inside the dressing room.
• Ilya Bryzgalov is just one win shy of setting the franchise record for victories by a goalie. He will enter Friday’s game tied with Bob Essensa for the lead with 129 wins. What’s most impressive is that Essensa played 311 games for the franchise and Bryzgalov already has matched his wins total in only 253 games played.
• Major kudos to center Vernon Fiddler, who played nearly 21 minutes on Tuesday night despite a painful lower-body injury. It was a gutsy effort that perfectly illustrated why Fiddler wears an ‘A’ on his sweater and why he is among the nominees for the team’s Hardest Working Player this season. If you haven’t voted yet for the recipient of that award, click here to do so.
• Radim Vrbata ranks third in the NHL with six shootout goals. The only two players with more are Calgary’s Alex Tanguay (10) and L.A.’s Jarret Stoll (eight).
• And finally, a reminder: On Friday the Coyotes will give away Ilya Bryzgalov bobblehead dolls to the first 10,000 fans through the doors at Jobing.com Arena. The bobblehead is unique in that it’s the first Coyotes bobblehead that features a player wearing the team’s black sweater.