Phoenix Coyotes try to get back ‘to doing the little things’

Jan 23, 2013, 1:41 AM | Updated: 2:15 pm

The Phoenix Coyotes embraced the motto “hockey the hard way” last season en route to the franchise’s first appearance in the Western Conference Finals.

Two games into their lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, the Coyotes have made hockey hard for themselves, and it has nothing to do with a gritty, hard-nosed style of play.

In fact if anything, during two losses to the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks over the weekend, Phoenix rarely resembled a Dave Tippett-coached hockey team.

So heading into Wednesday night’s home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Coyotes are trying to embrace a new philosophy: keep things simple.

“Until things loosen up for us, we have to keep things real, real simple,” defenseman Derek Morris. “We have to go back and try to win 2-1 or 1-0, help Mike Smith out, battle pucks out, play a simple game and see where it goes.”

The Coyotes were ranked No. 5 in the league in goals allowed in 2011-12, but so far this season they find themselves at the other end of the spectrum having already surrendered 10 goals.

While the team had only a week to officially train for their 48-game season, the rushed camp can’t be used as an excuse, as all 30 teams faced the same circumstances.

“I think everyone physically is there,” said Morris. “I think mentally we’ve made some mistakes we don’t normally make, whether it’s trying to make an extra play in our zone or an extra play in their zone.”

Outside of his team-leading six penalty minutes, Shane Doan (goal, assist and 1 +/-) has been on of the Coyotes’ lone bright spots during the team’s sluggish start. Still, Phoenix’s captain says it’s important for everyone to regain the focus that made them collectively great last spring.

“It’s hard to put your finger on it and say it’s this or that,” Doan said. “It’s about an attention to detail and our focus on doing all of the little things that are so important.”

Doan believes that while guys are excited about being back on the ice together, that excitement may have forced some to try to do more than usual.

“I think you come back and try to do more than the little stuff,” said Doan. “You want to score a goal or do something big, and instead we have to make sure we do the little things right.”

While the Coyotes look to get back on track against a Columbus team that won a league-worst 29 games in 2011-12, don’t expect Doan and Co. to rest on their laurels, because three of those victories came at Phoenix’s expense.

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes center Liam O'Brien (38) and Minnesota Wild right wing Brandon Duhaime (21) fight d...
Associated Press

Early goal in Minnesota not enough as Coyotes drop 2nd of back-to-back

The Arizona Coyotes dropped their second of a back-to-back on Tuesday night, a 5-2 road loss to the Minnesota Wild.
24 hours ago
Goaltender Karel Vejmelka #70 of the Arizona Coyotes keeps an eye on teammate Dysin Mayo #61 as he ...
Associated Press

Karel Vejmelka’s 46-save shutout carries Coyotes past Jets

Rookie Karel Vejmelka made 46 saves to record his first career shutout, the most in NHL history for player in the first of their career.
2 days ago
Arizona Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood (31) covers up the puck while making a save against the Dall...
Associated Press

Arizona Coyotes drop 2nd straight game after loss to Dallas Stars at home

The Arizona Coyotes lost their second consecutive game with a 3-2 defeat against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
4 days ago
Arizona Coyotes right wing Jan Jenik (73) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the San Jos...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes assign F Jan Jenik to Tucson Roadrunners

The Arizona Coyotes announced Friday they have assigned forward Jan Jenik to their AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners.
5 days ago
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 24:  Shane Doan speaks during a pregame ceremony in his honor and to r...
Jake Anderson

Coyotes legend Shane Doan named Hockey Canada GM for December cups

Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan's playing days may behind him, but that doesn't mean he's done competing at the international level.
5 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after Eno Benjamin #26 (not pictured) scores a ...
Kevin Zimmerman

What Arizona sports fans can be thankful for in 2021

The spirit of Thanksgiving is about the gratefulness that comes with not having it all, but enjoying the some that you do have.
2 days ago
Phoenix Coyotes try to get back ‘to doing the little things’