GLENDALE -- The Coyotes are all about a pack mentality, but Head Coach Dave Tippett is approaching a personal milestone worthy of a little hype and hoopla.
Tippett, who took over as head coach just before the start of the 2009-10 season, is just one victory shy of tying the franchise record for wins by a head coach. Heading into Thursday’s home game vs. Nashville, Bob Francis (165) is one victory ahead of Tippett (164).
Francis coached 390 regular-season games for the Coyotes. Tippett has coached 307 regular-season games. It’s worth noting that Francis coached the team from 1999-2004 - before shootouts.
Both Francis and Tippett have won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the Coyotes. Francis won in 2002; Tippett won in 2010. Two other coaches in team history won the NHL's award for top coach when the team was based in Winnipeg: Tom Watt in 1982 and Bob Murdoch in 1990.
Tippett has coached the Coyotes to a 8-3-2 mark this season and his overall record of 164-99-44 (372 points) with Phoenix is the highest points percentage (.606) of any head coach the team’s history.
The TV rating for Tuesday’s game vs. LA tied for the team’s best regular-season rating on FOX Sports Arizona since Jan. 9, 2004 (1.5 rating vs. 1.7 rating in ’04). That 2004 game was the game in which goalie Brian Boucher set the NHL record for longest shutout streak.
Center Antoine Vermette wore ‘A’ for alternate captain on his sweater for Tuesday’s game vs. LA and will again on Thursday. Vermette is filling in as an alternate captain for suspended alternate captain Martin Hanzal.
Forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury, practiced with teammates on Wednesday and could be available to play in Thursday’s game. The same goes for defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower-body injury). Meanwhile, Tippett said center Jeff Halpern (upper-body injury) would not play in Thursday’s game.
Thursday’s game will be the team’s fifth game played on Halloween since it moved to Phoenix in 1996. The Coyotes are 2-2-0 in those four games.
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