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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: 'Z' DESERVES A+ FOR HIS DEFENSE

Sunday, 11.30.2008 / 7:35 PM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content


In baseball, they say a pitcher’s best friend is the double play. In hockey, a goalie’s best friend has got to be a blocked shot.

Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his steady, team-first approach to playing defense. I spent chunks of the past few games watching him play, especially during penalty kills, and I was impressed by his poise, positioning and willingness to throw his body in front of shots.

"I don't really think about it, it’s just part of my job," Michalek says about shot blocking. And oh, by the way, Michalek leads the NHL with 75 blocks.

Regarding Michalek, I was shocked a few games back when a trivia question on the Jumbotron inside Jobing.com Arena revealed that aside from Shane Doan, none of the current Coyotes had played more games for this franchise than Michalek (262). He's a quiet yet key part of this team's future.


The Coyotes didn’t practice on Sunday giving Head Coach Wayne Gretzky an extra day to decide which goalie – Ilya Bryzgalov or Mikael Tellqvist – will start Tuesday vs. the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena.

Gretzky wasn’t thrilled with Bryzgalov’s effort on Saturday night and pulled him after he gave up two goals on two shots in the first period.

“Two shots, two goals, and I didn't think either goal should have went in," Gretzky said. “Even after the first goal, I wanted him to battle, show his teammates what he's got, and when the second one went in, there was no reason to keep him in. Two shots, two goals, and the second goal the guy scored from the stands."

Here’s guessing (and I stress the word "guessing") that Gretzky goes back to Tellqvist, who has stopped 95 of the past 99 shots he's faced, on Tuesday. Check back to phoenixcoyotes.com after Monday's practice to find out if I'm correct.


So, what does everyone think of the new third sweater? I like it. Black and red are a terrific color combination, and I like how the new Coyotes design is subtle and not overdone.

And it seems the black sweater is a hit with the fans. As of Sunday night, 42 percent of respondents to a poll question on phoenixcoyotes.com said they liked the new sweater better than the red and white sweaters.


I’d like to end this blog by sending my condolences to Coyotes Radio Color Analyst Tyson Nash, whose mother, Wendy, recently passed away. Tyson, if you’re reading this, know we’re all thinking about you during this difficult time.

Thanks for reading.

Dave
thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com

 
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