Phoenix Coyotes coach Tippett on Connor Murphy: ‘He’s a smart player’

Dec 21, 2013, 3:30 AM | Updated: 3:30 am

LISTEN: Dave Tippett, Coyotes head coach

Phoenix Coyotes 20-year-old defenseman Connor Murphy has seen more time on the ice lately and appears to be earning the trust of head coach Dave Tippett.

While on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Friday, the Coyotes coach praised the physical and mental talents of the 2011 first-round draft pick.

“He’s a smart player,” Tippett said. “Smart player. And he’s tall, but he’s not thick yet. I think he’s got a lot of room to thicken up. But really smart player. Plays an aggressive game. He takes time and space away very well.”

Tippett said the Coyotes’ most recent game — a 2-1 shootout loss Thursday to the Toronto Maple Leafs — was in a tough place to play, and that Murphy “played a whale of a game” in the absence of Zbynek Michalek. Murphy played more than 22 minutes Thursday, his sixth-straight game of 20 minutes or more on ice.

On the offensive side, the 6-foot-5 defenseman has posted one goal and three assists in 11 games this season.

“He’s still young and got a lot to learn. But, boy, we really like what we’ve seen so far,” Tippett said.

While Michalek was sidelined against Toronto, the Coyotes saw the return of veteran defenseman Derek Morris, who hadn’t played since Dec. 4 in Calgary for personal reasons. Morris played more than 26 minutes and took six shots on goal Thursday.

Tippett emphasized how important the 15-year veteran is to the team.

“Real solid veteran presence. And, you know, everybody’s kind of feeling for Derek; he’s gone through a couple of tough weeks,” the coach said. “I think he was glad to be back and around the team. And (he) jumped in the game and he played very well.”


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Coyotes

Patrik Koch, Arizona Coyotes, Slovakia...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes sign D Patrik Koch to entry-level contract

Defenseman Patrik Koch signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, the team announced.

2 days ago

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller, center, celebrates after his goal against the Vegas Gold...

Associated Press

NHL committed to keeping Coyotes in Arizona, Bettman says

Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL is still committed to Arizona after Tempe voters rejected a referendum for a Coyotes arena.

4 days ago

Lawson Crouse of Canada, Milan Lucic of Canada and Peyton Krebs of Canada Team Canada celebrates af...

Associated Press

Lawson Crouse scores, Andre Tourigny-coached Canada defeats Germany to win hockey worlds

Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse scored for Canada in a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

10 days ago

Mesa Mayor John Giles, Tempe mayor Corey Woods...

Arizona Sports

Mesa mayor ‘encouraging’ Coyotes to look at private sites for new arena

Could the Arizona Coyotes find a new arena home in Mesa and find a way to avoid a public vote like the squashed Tempe plans required?

16 days ago

Logan Cooley #92 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up before a game against the Quinnipiac Bobc...

Wills Rice

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley to stay 1 more year in college

Arizona Coyotes highly regarded center prospect Logan Cooley announced he is staying in college for one more year.

18 days ago

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes reportedly inquire about Mesa’s Fiesta Mall site in arena land search

Mesa's old Fiesta Mall footprint is among the land the Arizona Coyotes have inquired about, CBS5's and 3TV's Dennis Welch reported Thursday.

20 days ago

Phoenix Coyotes coach Tippett on Connor Murphy: ‘He’s a smart player’