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Steve Sullivan: Coyotes have a ‘winning attitude’ in dressing room

Under Dave Tippett, the Phoenix Coyotes have rarely been labeled as one of the sexier, flashier teams in the NHL.

But after three straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season, Tippett and Co. are starting to attract veterans from around the league.

Steve Sullivan broke into the NHL in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils and has seen plenty during his accomplished career, which has featured five previous stops (Devils, Maple Leafs, Blackhawks, Predators and Penguins).

When asked why at this stage of his career he chose to sign a one-year deal with a team like the Coyotes, the 38-year-old was not short on praise for his new club.

“Their style of play and just their identity of being in every game and being hard to play against,” Sullivan said on what his reason was for joining Phoenix this offseason. “You never hear a bad thing about Coach Tippett and they win. They were a couple games away from moving on [to the Stanley Cup.”

Sullivan, who recorded 49 points for Pittsburgh in 2011-12 (17 goals and 31 assists), has tasted postseason play throughout his career, but has never played in the Stanley Cup Finals.

With the 119-day lockout keeping him from officially practicing with his new teammates, Sullivan admitted feeling a sense of relief after finally getting the chance to skate as a Coyote Sunday.

“It’s exciting,” said Sullivan. “It’s been four months waiting for this. The family came here in early August to kind of get things going, and we’re excited about this.

“We just had our first meeting, and it’s a great dressing room. It’s seems to be a good attitude and a winning attitude coming off of last season.”

Sullivan has never made an All-Star team but was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance in 2008-09, after coming back from a horrendous back injury that kept him off the ice for almost two seasons.