Share this story...
Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, left, deflects a puck as St. Louis Blues' Magnus Paajarvi watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Latest News

Yotes notes: Smith undergoing further tests

Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, left, deflects a puck as St. Louis Blues' Magnus Paajarvi watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was undergoing further tests on Monday for a lower-body injury that has sidelined him the past two games while landing him on injured reserve.

“Hopefully, this week we’ll get more details,” coach Dave Tippett said.

Center Martin Hanzal is also on IR with a lower-body injury that has sidelined him the past three games. Hanzal was on the ice when the Coyotes began practice Monday but he left about halfway through it.

“Hopefully, he’ll go through the other half tomorrow,” Tippett said.

Hanzal is eligible to come off IR whenever he is ready. Smith is eligible to come off IR on Tuesday. The Coyotes do not play again until Thursday vs. Columbus.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

The Coyotes did a lot of three-on-three drills in Monday’s practice, but no, they were not specifically designed for overtime. Tippett wanted to focus on three areas in which the Coyotes need improvement.

“Defending the rush, arriving in (the) D-zone and some neutral-zone regroups,” he said. “It’s still a work in progress.”

DVORAK HONORED

Coyotes forward prospect Christian Dvorak was named Ontario Hockey League Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 13. Dvorak led the league with seven points (three goals) in two games. This is the second time in three weeks he has won the award for the London Knights, who have won nine straight games.

Dvorak has points in 17 straight games and holds the second longest active point-streak in the OHL behind teammate Mitchell Marner’s 19-game streak.

Dvorak leads the OHL with 65 points (28 goals) in 27 games. He was a second-round pick (58th overall) of the Coyotes in the 2014 NHL Draft. He is one of eight OHL players including teammates Matthew Tkachuk and Tyler Parsons invited to attend the U.S. National Junior Team Selection Camp.

SPECIAL TEAMS NOT SO SPECIAL

With three days to practice before his team’s next game, Tippett has designated Tuesday as a big day for special teams work. The Coyotes penalty-killing unit has been OK this season, and currently ranks 13th in the NHL at 81.3 percent.

The power play has been a different story. Arizona currently ranks 29th in the league at 14.7 percent and has allowed a league-high seven shorthanded goals.

The power-play percentage is the lowest under Tippett since the 2011-12 season when the Coyotes advanced to the Western Conference Final, but that team defended better than this team. The 2011-12 team finished seventh in goals against (204). This year’s team ranks 29th in goals against (95 in 30 games), putting a greater onus on production with the man advantage.

“We’ve had runs where we’ve had good looks and just haven’t finished,” Tippett said. “Then there’s other times where we haven’t been as cohesive as we’d like.

“We’ll continue to tinker with it but in the end, when we are creating chances, it’s about capitalizing on those chances.”

Coyotes power play under Dave Tippett
2015-16: 14.7% (29th)
2014-15: 20.0% (7th)
2013-14: 19.5% (7th)
2012-13: 15.4% (24th)
2011-12: 13.5% (29th)
2010-11: 15.9% (22nd)
2009-10: 14.6% (28th)

Coyotes penalty kill under Dave Tippett
2015-16: 81.3% (13th)
2014-15: 76.7% (29th)
2013-14: 79.0% (26th)
2012-13: 79.9% (22nd)
2011-12: 85.5% (8th)
2010-11: 78.4% (26th)
2009-10: 84.5% (6th)

Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter

Related Links