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POSTED ON Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 10:06 PM


COLUMBUS – Playing in the NHL All-Star Game for the first time in his career on Sunday, Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson notched an assist for Team Foligno in a 17-12 loss to Team Toews at a sold-out Nationwide Arena.

Photo by Getty Images.

Ekman-Larsson, 23, was credited with the secondary assist on teammate Bobby Ryan’s goal at 8:23 of the third period. The goal pulled Team Foligno to within 14-10 at the time it was scored.

“It was a good experience to come out here and be around tough players,” Ekman-Larsson said. “Everybody was so nice and it was just fun to be around everybody.”

Team Foligno Head Coach Darryl Sutter paired Ekman-Larsson with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets.

Ekman-Larsson played 16:56 and was minus-5 in the game, which set a record for most goals scored in an NHL All-Star Game (29).

Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Bobby Ryan. Photo by Getty Images.

“It was fun,” Ekman-Larsson said. “(Minus-5) is not a very good stat but I had a good time and I just tried to have fun out there and make some good passes. It’s hard to play (defense) in these kind of games but I think everybody put a good show together.”

Before coming to this game, Ekman-Larsson said he hoped to make some new friends at this event.

“I’m a quiet guy,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I probably could have done a little bit better (meeting people) but everybody here’s so nice. I was just happy to be around them.”

Ekman-Larsson will now rejoin the Coyotes as they begin a five-game road trip that starts Tuesday night in Philadelphia. He returns to the team as its second-leading goal scorer with 12.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click HERE to watch Ekman-Larsson's assist.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 11:51 PM


COLUMBUS – Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson turned in a flawless performance on Saturday night in his two events at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena.

Photo by Getty Images.

Ekman-Larsson, 23, was playing for Team Foligno as it battled Team Toews. He competed without error as a stick-handler during the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay and then scored twice on two attempts in the event’s finale – the Discover NHL Shootout.

Team Foligno beat Team Toews 25-19.

Ekman-Larsson is making his first appearance as an NHL All-Star. His performance on Saturday night was quite impressive for a first-timer in this high-profile setting.

"Everything was special," Ekman-Larsson said when asked to name the highlight of his night. "It was just fun to be on the ice. The fans are great here and it was a good experience for me. I would like to do that again."

During the shootout, Ekman-Larsson earned his team valuable points by beating Team Toews goalie Roberto Luongo with two shots. His second goal was scored with a special “Discover Puck” that was worth more points to his team.

"I just wanted to fake and see if he reacted and put it up top," Ekman-Larsson said. "I got lucky twice so it was fun."

As a "stick-handler" in the Skills Challenge Relay, Ekman-Larsson had to keep control of the puck through a series of six pucks placed just inches apart. He nailed it.

Photo by Getty Images.

"I was real nervous so I just told myself to slow it down and take your time," Ekman-Larsson said. "I didn’t want to mess that up. It went pretty good."

Before the Skills Competition, Ekman-Larsson entered the arena via the Red Carpet and posed for photos and signed autographs. It was a fun experience for Ekman-Larsson, who co-owns a Sweden-based clothing line named OEL of Sweden.

"I did a pretty good job on the Red Carpet," Ekman-Larsson said with a smile. "I think I looked pretty nice so I’m happy with my performance there."

The All-Star weekend concludes on Sunday at 3 p.m. (Arizona time) with the All-Star Game. Ekman-Larsson again will skate with Team Foligno.

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POSTED ON Friday, 01.23.2015 / 10:52 PM


COLUMBUS - Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was selected by Team Foligno in the 15th round of the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday night at the Greater Columbus Civic Center.

"It was a good experience," Ekman-Larsson told arizonacoyotes.com. "They told me before that I couldn't get picked last so that was a big relief. I had a great time in the back room so I didn't mind staying there a little longer."

Ekman-Larsson will be one of six defensemen on his team, which is captained by Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The others are Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns and Kevin Shattenkirk.

NOTE: Click HERE to view full rosters.

Team Foligno gets to wear the black All-Star sweaters while Team Toews will wear white in Sunday's NHL All-Star Game.

"I like the black jersey because I don't like white gloves, so that fits me perfect," Ekman-Larsson said.

Ekman-Larsson will be one of 20 first-time participants in this year's NHL All-Star Game on Sunday at Nationwide Arena. Like many, he enjoyed the TV broadcast of the Fantasy Draft and got a kick out of how Alexander Ovechkin lobbied to be the last pick so he could win a car. It didn't happen.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft on Friday night. 
Ekman-Larsson said he looks forward to what Ovechkin may have up his sleeve for the rest of the weekend.

"It's going to be fun to be around Ovechkin for two days and see what (else) he can bring to the table," he said.

Ekman-Larsson, 23, is attending the event co-leading the NHL’s defensemen in goal scoring. He and three others - Byfuglien, Erik Johnson and Dennis Wideman - have scored a League-high 12 goals this season. Ekman-Larsson also leads NHL defensemen with eight power-play goals and leads all NHL skaters with six game-winning goals.

Next up is the Skills Competition on Saturday night. Ekman-Larsson will learn which event he gets to participate in on Saturday morning.

"Hopefully I'm not going to skate around in laps," Ekman-Larsson said with a smile. "Other than that, I'm just going to do what they tell me to do."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.22.2015 / 6:07 PM


COLUMBUS – While his Coyotes teammates enjoyed the second day of a five-day hiatus from the season, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson traveled from Arizona to the NHL All-Star Game on Thursday.

Ekman-Larsson, 23, awoke at 7 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. flight and was all smiles as he checked his hockey gear as luggage at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and then flew commercially to the League’s star-studded event. While waiting to depart, he signed a few autographs, took some photos and chatted with fans who recognized him.

Ekman-Larsson is the only Swede selected to play at this year’s All-Star Game. He won’t be lonely here though because his parents have made the trip from Sweden to watch him as the festivities unfold all weekend. The three of them planned to dine out on Thursday night.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” Ekman-Larsson said from his hotel’s lobby.

“It’s going to be a good time and it’s going to be nice to see my parents again and spend some time with them.”

Ekman-Larsson plans to visit with former teammate Radim Vrbata during the weekend. He also is hoping to get to know other All-Stars whom he knows only from competing against them.

“I’m going to try to make some new friends here,” Ekman-Larsson said. “It’s going to be fun to be around (Sidney) Crosby. He’s a big superstar in this league and I’ve played against him a couple times. It’s just going to be fun to be around him, and all the players, but especially him.”

Like the other All-Stars in town, Ekman-Larsson will learn which All-Star team he will play for on Friday night when team captains Nick Foligno and Jonathan Toews select players during a televised Fantasy Draft on NBC Sports Network (at 6 p.m. Arizona time). Once selected for a team, Ekman-Larsson will later learn which Skills Competition event he will take part in on Saturday night on NBC Sports Network (at 5 p.m. Arizona time).

“I’m pretty nervous about the draft,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I think it’s a good chance that I get picked last and I don’t want that to happen.”

The All-Star Game itself will be played Sunday on NBC Sports Network (at 3 p.m. Arizona time).

Ekman-Larsson is the fifth defenseman in team history to be invited to play in an NHL All-Star Game. The others are Oleg Tverdovsky, Teppo Numminen, Ed Jovanovski and Keith Yandle.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 5:24 PM

GLENDALE – Oliver Ekman-Larsson can’t wait to participate in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game and its festivities this weekend in Columbus.

"It’s a big honor for me to go there and represent the Coyotes," Ekman-Larsson said. "It’s going to be a lot of fun to be around the top players in this league. I’ve always wanted to go to the All-Star Game. I want to take my game to the next level and I’m hoping this experience will help me do that."

Ekman-Larsson

Ekman-Larsson, 23, will attend the event as the NHL’s top goal-scoring defenseman. He and Colorado’s Erik Johnson each have lit the lamp 12 times this season. Ekman-Larsson also leads the League with game-winning goals.

"It's been a mixed bag for OEL because he struggled a bit early in the season," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "But the things he's accomplished this year, even though our team hasn't played as well, are very much All-Star worthy."

The All-Star Game festivities include the player draft to determine the two All-Star Game rosters on Friday, and then red carpet walk and skills competition on Saturday. The game itself is Sunday at 3 p.m. Arizona time on NBC.

Ekman-Larsson says he’s looking forward to all of the events, but he’s crossing his fingers he isn’t the last player drafted on Friday. Toronto’s Phil Kessel was the final player selected at the inaugural All-Star fantasy player draft in 2011 and he received plenty of playful ribbing from his peers and friends and family for earning that distinction. On the plus side, Kessel also was awarded a new car.

"Hopefully I won’t get picked last," Ekman-Larsson said with a smile. "I don’t need a new car. I’m happy with mine."

Regarding the skills competition, Ekman-Larsson said he’d prefer to participate in a puck-shooting or stick-handling competition rather than one that features skating, but he’ll gladly do whatever his team captain assigns him to do.

Photo by Norm Hall.

Surprisingly, Ekman-Larsson will be the only Swede participating in this year’s NHL All-Star Game. While that disappoints him, he said it would give him a chance to branch out a little bit and hopefully make some new friends.

"It would be fun to have another Swede there, but there are a lot of good players in this league," Ekman-Larsson said. "I’m just going to try to hang out with as many people as I can and have a good time."

One Swede who will be with Ekman-Larsson in spirit is Erik Clarberg. Ekman-Larsson wears sweater No. 23 with the Coyotes as a tribute to Clarberg, a friend and former teammate in Sweden who passed away from illness in 2006.

"He was two years older than me but we still practiced together a lot and we had a lot of the same friends," Ekman-Larsson said. "He was the captain of one of the teams I played on growing up and a guy I always looked up to because he was just a great guy on and off the ice and a really good hockey player. When I was younger I wanted to be like him."

Ekman-Larsson’s parents are planning to travel from Sweden and attend the All-Star Game. He said their presence is going to greatly enhance the experience.

Photo by Getty Images.

"They’re happy for me and having them there will feel right because they’re a huge part of why I am getting to play in the All-Star Game," Ekman-Larsson said. "Plus it will be fun for them to come and to see how everything works."

Ekman-Larsson’s teammates are excited he’s getting the chance to showcase his skills in the All-Star setting. Forward Mikkel Boedker, who is Ekman-Larsson’s best friend on the Coyotes, said he expects his pal to fit in quite nicely among the NHL’s elite players.

"He’s proven he can play at a world-class level in real games so I think he’ll do just fine at the All-Star Game," Boedker said. "He has all the skills to compete with those players."

He added: "It’s not easy to be an All-Star in this league and at a young age he’s proven that he’s worthy. I’m very proud of him. We all are."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 10:45 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- With no obvious No. 1 overall pick, the 2014 NHL Draft promises to be a fascinating one.

And with eight total picks, including No. 12 overall and three of the first 58, the Coyotes can’t wait for the curtain to rise at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.

Only five teams – Dallas, Los Angeles, the N.Y. Islanders, St. Louis and Washington – will enter the weekend with more picks than the Coyotes at this draft; each have nine.

Round No. 1 is Friday (4 p.m. AZ time on NBC Sports Network) with Rounds Nos. 2-7 set for Saturday (7 a.m. AZ time on NHL Network).

The Coyotes currently own the following picks: Nos. 12, 43, 58, 73, 133, 163, 191, and 193.

Tim Bernhardt, whom the Coyotes announced as the team’s new Director of Amateur Scouting on June 19, says the scouting staff is prepared for the hectic weekend and has its eyes on two or three players it believes will still be available when the Coyotes pick 12th overall on Friday.

Experts are predicting lots of wheeling and dealing before and likely during the first round, and Bernhardt said the Coyotes would be ready.

“We're well prepared," Bernhardt said. "We've gone through many situations ... and hopefully everything falls where we want it to fall and we can go from there.”

General Manager Don Maloney has said because the talent in the first round of the draft is so comparable after the elite prospects will be chosen with the first four or five picks, the Coyotes can be very flexible with the No. 12 selection. He has suggested the team would seriously consider moving down as low as No. 20 if the right offer comes along for No. 12.

“From No. 5 down to No. 20 there are real good players there,” Maloney said.

Barring a trade, this year marks the second consecutive year the Coyotes will pick 12th overall in the Draft. Last year, the team selected forward Max Domi 12th overall.

Bernhardt, who spent 14 years as Director of Amateur Scouting for the Dallas Stars from 1998-2011, is known for his track record in the later rounds of the draft. For example, the Stars selected Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and current Stars captain Jamie Benn in the fifth rounds of their respective drafts on Bernhardt’s watch.

“The key is to try to work through seven rounds of the draft because there are players there and you just have to find them,” Bernhardt said.

Maloney was asked if the Coyotes’ draft philosophy is one of drafting by positional need or by taking the best player available, regardless of position.

His response: “Because we’re dealing with players who are 17, 18, maybe 19 years old, you go for the best talent. You’re looking at least a three- to four-year development period. If there is a present need factor, that normally does not enter into the immediate selection process.”

He added, the Coyotes covet young players who are fast.

“We need more speed into our lineup,” Maloney said. “You start looking around at the teams we’re playing against all the time, and speed is vital.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.21.2014 / 6:26 PM

GLENDALE -- The 2014 NHL Entry Draft is less than a week away and the Coyotes are eager to get started.

"It’s the Super Bowl for our scouts," Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said. "It’s really the foundation of your whole franchise. If you do a good job at the draft table you acquire assets that can be used not only for yourself but also assets maybe you can use in other deals… The draft weekend is as important as they come."

This year’s draft will take place June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Coyotes have eight picks, including No. 12 overall and three of the first 58 (Nos. 12, 43, 58).

Regarding that 12th overall pick, Maloney said the Coyotes “are in a great spot (and) we can be very flexible.”

"We like the top end of the first round," Maloney said. "If we could get ourselves up into the top four or five picks we’d certainly look to do it. I don’t know how realistic that is for us. I think we’re more inclined to move down from our pick at No. 12 depending on how it flows… These decisions all come down to the draft table and what the flow is like and what the phone calls are like."

The Florida Panthers own the Draft’s top pick. The Buffalo Sabres have the No. 2 pick, followed by the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders.

Maloney said he’s already been checking in with other general managers before even heading to Philadelphia.

"It’s important to do your homework and kind of reach out to everybody and let everybody know 'Listen, we’re very flexible where we’re at,'" he said.

Tim Bernhardt, recently promoted to Director of Amateur Scouting, will lead the Coyotes at the draft for the first time. Like Maloney, Bernhardt likes where the Coyotes are slated to pick in the first round.

Bernhardt

"There are players that we're looking at (with the No. 12 pick) and we're confident in those players," Bernhardt said. "We'll be happy to get any of them, and maybe if they're all there then maybe you move back. We have a good group of players in behind them that we're confident with."

The first round of the draft will be Friday, June 27. It will be televised by NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. (AZ time).

The second through seventh rounds of the draft will be Saturday, June 28. Those rounds will be televised by NHL Network starting at 7 a.m. (AZ time).

The Coyotes will be staging a Draft Party/Open House at Jobing.com Arena, which will start at 4 p.m. Fans attending the draft party will be able to purchase Arizona Coyotes merchandise for the first time as the team name change becomes official that night.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 11:52 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Five members of the Coyotes organization - Head Coach Dave Tippett (Canada), Mikkel Boedker (Denmark), Connor Murphy (USA), Andy Miele (USA) and Tobias Rieder (Germany) - are competing at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

QUARTERFINALS: May 22, 2014

• Czech Republic defeated USA, 4-3, in a quarterfinal game.

Coyotes/Canada Head Coach Dave Tippett.

Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy played 17:01 and took one shot on goal, and Coyotes forward Andy Miele did not play for USA, which was eliminated.

Visit usahockey.com for more info on this game.

• Finland defeated Canada, 3-2, in a quarterfinal game.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett led Canada to a 5-1-1-1 record in eight games in his first stint as Canada's Head Coach.

"For the most part I thought our team played well," Tippett said. "We controlled long portions of the game. We made a couple of mistakes that cost us the game. Our goal was to get better every day. That was probably the best game we've played here."

Visit hockeycanada.ca for more info on this game.

NEXT UP on Saturday:
Semifinals


Russia vs. Sweden 6:45 a.m. (AZ time)
Czech Republic vs. Finland 10:45 a.m. (AZ time)

Visit iihfworlds2014.com for full coverage/schedule.


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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 1:56 PM

GLENDALE -- Team USA and Team Canada have reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Andy Miele are competing for USA, which will face Czech Republic on Thursday in one of four quarterfinals.

The game begins at 6 a.m. (AZ time) and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on a 30-minute delay with coverage beginning at 6:30 a.m. (AZ time). NBC Sports will provide a live stream of the game via NBC Sports Live Extra, beginning at 6 a.m. (AZ time).

Meanwhile, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett will lead Team Canada against Finland in a quarterfinal game that begins at 10 a.m. (AZ time).

The other quarterfinals are: Russia vs. France at 7 a.m. (AZ time) and Sweden vs. Belarus at 11 a.m. (AZ time).

Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker (Denmark) and prospect Tobias Rieder (Germany) did not reach the quarterfinals. Boedker finished the tournament with two goals and two assists in seven games. He took 17 shots on goal and averaged 19:01 per game. Rieder notched one goal in seven games, and took 10 shots on goal and averaged 15:04 per game.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Visit usahockey.com, hockeycanada.ca and/or iihfworlds2014.com for more info.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 11:46 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: Five members of the Coyotes organization - Head Coach Dave Tippett (Canada), Mikkel Boedker (Denmark), Connor Murphy (USA), Andy Miele (USA) and Tobias Rieder (Germany) - are competing at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.

DAY TWELVE: May 20, 2014

• USA defeated Germany, 5-4, in a Group B game to close the preliminary round for both teams. The USA has advanced to the quarterfinals; Germany has been eliminated.

Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy played 20:27 and took one shot on goal, and Coyotes forward Andy Miele played 2:04 for USA.

Coyotes prospect Tobias Rieder played 14:45 and scored a power-play goal for Germany at 18:03 of the third period.

Visit usahockey.com for more info on this game.

• Canada defeated Norway, 3-2, in a Group A game to close the preliminary round for both teams. Canada has advanced to the quarterfinals.

Visit hockeycanada.ca for more info on this game.

• Slovakia defeated Denmark, 3-2, in a Group A game to close the preliminary round for both teams. Denmark has been eliminated.

Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker played 21:20 and scored a power-play goal at 1:11 of the second period. He was named his team's Best Player for this game.

Visit iihfworlds2014.com for more info on this game.

NEXT UP (for Coyotes) on Thursday:
Quarterfinals

USA vs. Czech Republic 6 a.m. (AZ time)
Canada vs. Finland 10 a.m. (AZ time)

Visit iihfworlds2014.com for full coverage/schedule.


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