GLENDALE – After a much-needed day off on Saturday, the Coyotes regrouped on Sunday morning for a critical practice at the Ice Den in Scottsdale.
After practice - and after interacting with the fans who came to watch practice like he always does - team captain Shane Doan spoke with reporters about the situation his team finds itself in with less than two weeks left in the regular season.
Thanks, in part, to a 1-1-1 record on a three-game trip to Western Canada, the Coyotes are in 11th place in in the Western Conference standings, two points behind eighth-place Dallas.
Doan joked that his 11-year-old son has been constantly keeping him up to date on the standings. But make no mistake: Doan knows exactly what’s going on with his team and the others jockeying for playoff position.
“The walls are getting tighter and tighter so we’re going to have to find ways to get more points,” Doan said. “…We’re excited because we are close to where our game needs to be to give us a chance.”
At one point Doan was asked if he feels the Coyotes are still in control of their own destiny with just seven games left.
“If we win every game I’m sure we’ll go in (to the playoffs) but it’s going to be tough,” Doan said. “…We can only get two points at a time.”
The Coyotes next play at home on Monday vs. San Jose. Then it’s off to St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit. Their last three games are against San Jose (home), Colorado (home) and Anaheim (away).
The Coyotes, of course, won their final five regular-season games to race up the standings and capture the Pacific Division title last season and the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. I asked Doan if he would use that experience as the basis for an upcoming motivational speech to his teammates.
“People like to think you can have an emotional speech but it doesn’t really work,” Doan said. “Obviously there are special times, special occasions, but to try and generate it generically is pretty tough.”
Nevertheless, Doan said he remains confident the Coyotes will continue to keep digging themselves out the hole they are in.
“Obviously, it's not fun in the fact that you're in the situation that you're in and you're disappointed that you've put yourself in this situation," Doan said. "The fun part is that every game means so much and you have to be ready to play."
NOTE: Forward Lauri Korpikoski (upper-body injury) skated with teammates on Sunday. He is considered day-to-day.
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