Center Jeff Halpern watched the Coyotes beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 on Sunday from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Halpern, whom the Coyotes signed as a free agent on Saturday, is expected to make his debut with Phoenix on Tuesday vs. Ottawa at Jobing.com Arena. He will wear sweater No. 14.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Halpern said during Sunday’s TV broadcast. “I’m pretty happy to get a chance. It’s a great team. I love the way the play. For me, it’s an exciting time.”
Halpern played for Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett with Dallas from 2006-08. The Coyotes signed him because he fills a very key role.
“One thing we felt we were lacking is a right-handed centerman, specifically when you look at faceoffs and penalty killing,” Assistant G.M. Brad Treliving said during the TV broadcast. “Jeff is a veteran guy and we know Jeff; ‘Tip’ had Jeff in Dallas. He has excellent character. We just felt it was a good fit for us now.”
Halpern, 37, was never drafted but has played in 907 NHL games plus 39 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Last season, he notched one goal and two assists in 46 games with the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.
“I really enjoyed playing for ‘Tip’ in Dallas,” Halpern said. “I like the way his teams have always played. … Everyone seems to be on the same page.”
Tippett coached his 300th (regular-season) game for the Coyotes on Sunday.
Only Bob Francis (390) and Wayne Gretzky (328) have coached more regular-season games than Tippett in franchise history.
Tippett has posted a 160-98-42 record in those 300 games. He needs only six more wins to move past Francis as the franchise’s coach with the most wins.
Captain Shane Doan assisted on Mikkel Boedker’s goal in the first period. It was Doan’s first point of the season. Later, he scored his first goal of the season to tie Thomas Steen for second place on the team's all-time points list with 817.
Forward Rob Klinkhammer scored two goals in 10:33 of ice time. It was the first multi-goal game of his NHL career.
Defenseman Derek Morris, who notched 11 points in 39 games last season, already has notched six points in six games this season.
Lauri Korpikoski scored a goal in the second period. It was his 100th point as a member of the Coyotes.
Goalie Mike Smith assisted on Klinkhammer’s second goal. It was Smith’s first point of the season.
The Coyotes are 118-13-19 when scoring first under Tippett.
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