Off the Ice: Hanzal needed a kick in the ‘A’

Oct 7, 2011, 4:33 AM | Updated: 6:02 pm

Things are looking up for Coyotes centerman Martin Hanzal.

Not only did the Czech lockup a nice five-year deal
that will keep him with the team through 2017, if you look
very closely at the photo in this story, Hanzal received a
little promotion.

He’s now an alternate captain.

While it isn’t officially listed on the team’s website,

I think the designation is permanent — or at least it
looked sewed on during the Coyotes’ final preseason game
last Saturday.

Honestly, it’s about time Hanzal got the “A”. I know that
will shock some fans I’ve talked to about my opinion of
Hanzal, but allow me to explain and probably eat a few of
my words.

In four seasons with Phoenix, Hanzal has only netted 46
goals and assisted with 79 in 288 games played. Quick math
works out to that being .43 points per game, which is not
exactly what you would expect of a current second line NHL
center, even in Glendale. I have never been a Hanzal fan,
as I like to see a big guy put some hits in and I think
I’ve heard the phrase, “Hanzal in front of the net…oh,
just wide,” more times than is acceptable for any human.
But my thoughts on Hanzal were altered in one game.

Last Saturday’s preseason game was the first time I could
watch him on the ice. He looked, well, like a great
captain. Not only did he net one, but assisted another and
even had a bit of a go with a few Sharks. Being lucky
enough to sit by the bench, I saw Hanzal constantly
talking to everyone, not just his linemates and coaches.
He impressed me and his line was by far the most active,
with Hanzal leading the way with smart passes and even a
few hits.

I’m not going to rush out and throw a newly-bought Hanzal
sweater on anytime soon, but what can I say, the man was
inspiring. It seems that, with a letter, Hanzal went from
just another big body center in the NHL to a threat and

I guess all Hanzal needed was a kick in the “A”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Off the Ice” is a new portion of where Carter Nacke will be covering and
discussing the Phoenix Coyotes throughout the season.
While the page is under construction, you can contact him
at or tweet him at @carternacke. Thanks for reading.

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Off the Ice: Hanzal needed a kick in the ‘A’