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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: PANTHERS COACH IS BOEDKER FAN

Sunday, 11.09.2008 / 1:48 AM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content

Coyotes rookie Mikkel Boedker notched his first multi-goal NHL game on Saturday night with one of his biggest fans watching from ice level inside Jobing.com Arena.

To whom am I referring? Why, Panthers Head Coach Peter DeBoer, of course. DeBoer was Boedker’s coach last season when Boedker registered 29 goals and 44 assists for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. On Saturday, I asked DeBoer if he was surprised Boedker, whom the Coyotes selected with the eighth overall pick in this year's NHL Draft, has reached the league already.

“I’m not surprised,” DeBoer said. “He’s a fantastic kid and just a pleasure to work with. He’s one of my favorite kids I've ever coached. He comes to the rink with a smile on his face every day and works hard. He’s a good person and he’s a great athlete. No, I’m not surprised by his success.“

DeBoer became head coach of the Panthers on June 13 and was at the draft a few weeks later when Boedker was picked.

"I actually told Wayne and Keith Gretzky at the draft that they got a real, real good player," DeBoer said. "Other than Steven Stamkos (the top overall pick), he was the most NHL-ready guy in our league last year. His body, his legs, his core strength. He's a strong kid and he skates well.”



I also spoke to former Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard on Saturday and asked him about being back inside Jobing.com Arena for the first time since being traded to Florida along with defenseman Nick Boynton for Olli Jokinen on draft day.

“It was fine and I understand it," Ballard said about being dealt. "I'm really happy with how things have worked out so far."

I asked Ballard if he follows the Coyotes from afar.

"I do," he said. "I check on the Internet just to see how they’re doing. It's good to see 'Doaner' is off to a good start this year. I used to tease him that I didn’t think he knew the season started until about December, but I'm real happy for him. He’s playing really well.”

'Doaner,' aka Coyotes captain Shane Doan, has scored seven goals in Phoenix's first 12 games.



Rookie Kyle Turris was back in the lineup on Saturday after a two-game stint as a healthy scratch. That was the good news for Turris. The bad news was he got hit in the leg by a shot in the third period. He kept playing, but it's unclear if he'll be able to go again Sunday night against San Jose.

Thanks for reading.

Dave
thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com
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