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The Desert Dog Blog - A Dave Vest Blog
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Friday, 10.10.2008 / 5:47 AM MT / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest
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Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

Kevin Porter is in the midst of a bittersweet week.

Five days after attending the funeral of one of his grandfathers, the 22-year-old is set to realize a dream by playing in his first NHL game on Saturday night in the season opener vs. Columbus.

“I’m really excited,” Porter said. “It’s a dream come true to play in the NHL right out of college. It’s pretty special and not many guys do it, so to be one of the guys to do it is pretty awesome.”

Porter, the reigning Hober Baker Award winner, said playing four years at the University of Michigan served him well on and off the ice.

"I always wanted to play college hockey, and I knew Michigan was always the school," he said. "After my junior year, there was some discussion about turning pro, but I thought the right decision was to come back and go to school and finish my degree. I think it worked out. I grew as a player. I became a lot better. I played center last year, so I think that helped my defensive game, my skating, so I think it was the right decision to stay four years."

Porter showed up at camp along with University of Michigan teammate Chad Kolarik, whom the Coyotes assigned to their top affiliate in San Antonio abouty halfway through training camp.

I asked Porter how it feels to be making his NHL debut without Kolarik around.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Porter said. “He's my best friend and it would have been great to have him here, but I know he's doing well down in San Antonio…He’ll get his chance up here and he's going to do well.”

I asked Head Coach Wayne Gretzky how many games he expected goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to play this season. His reply:

“A lot. As I said to my goalies, if you're winning, you're going to stay in net. Same with Telly (backup Mikael Tellqvist). Once he gets in, if he's winning I'll leave him in there. He works hard every day and he's extremely well liked by his teammates. But Bryzgalov is the No. 1 guy and it's up to him how many games he's going to play. If he's doing the job, he'll be in there. If he's not, Telly will get his chance to play."

These were the lines at Thursday's practice, in no particular order:

Todd Fedoruk-Steven Reinprecht-Mikkel Boedker
Shane Doan-Olli Jokinen-Peter Mueller
Daniel Carcillo-Kyle Turris-Kevin Porter
Daniel Winnik-Martin Hanzal-Viktor Tikhonov

Thanks for reading.

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