Joe Vitale undergoing more tests, will miss Coyotes’ road trip
Coyotes forward Joe Vitale was undergoing further tests for an upper-body injury on Sunday and will not accompany the team on its five-game road trip to New Jersey, New York, Ottawa, Toronto and Boston.
Vitale was a healthy scratch for the Coyotes’ first four games this season, but played in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Bruins at Gila River Arena because rookie forward Jordan Martinook was out with a lower-body injury.
Vitale played well until he got in a fight with Boston defenseman Kevan Miller early in the second period. Vitale took several big punches to the face and appeared to be having some difficulty with both his jaw and his eye as he sat in the penalty box. He eventually went to the training room and did not return. The Coyotes did not provide further details on the nature of his injury, but general manager Don Maloney said Sunday that it looked like Vitale would be out a while.
“He was really good, playing out of position,” coach Dave Tippett said of Vitale, who is a right-handed shot, but played left wing. “Hopefully, Martinook is ready to go on the road trip.”
The Coyotes signed Vitale to a three-year deal before the 2014-15 season at an average annual value of $1.117 million. He moved from center to wing this season after the team signed centers Antoine Vermette, Brad Richardson and Boyd Gordon in free agency, but Martinook, the team’s second-round pick in 2012, beat him out for a spot in the regular rotation.