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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: TOUGH LOSS WILL GO LONG WAY

Sunday, 12.14.2008 / 1:14 AM / 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

As expected, the Detroit Red Wings provided a tough challenge for the Coyotes Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.

Phoenix responded.

Yes, Detroit won 5-4 in a shootout, but the Coyotes showed heart and character in losing to arguably the best team in the league right now. I must admit, when Henrik Zetterberg ripped a shot past Ilya Bryzgalov 33 seconds into the game I had flashbacks to the 7-1 loss in Chicago last weekend and couldn’t help but wonder if we’d be heading down that road again.

It didn’t happen. Not even close. And that bodes well for this young team, which came within 19.9 seconds and two late near-misses on an empty net of beating the defending Stanley Cup champs.


Joakim Lindstrom is impressing the coaches with two goals and an assist in three games.
His play is one of the reasons the team sent Kevin Porter to its American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio. Another reason was because San Antonio plays Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and the Coyotes didn’t want Porter to just sit in the press box in Phoenix instead of getting some playing time with San Antonio.

“We’ll reassess it Sunday night or Monday morning,” Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “…We have a unique situation here in that we have a lot of young guys, and we as an organization have made it clear that we don’t want young guys to sit in the stands. He (Porter) didn’t come out of the lineup because he was playing poorly or worse than anyone else. It becomes a numbers issue and we kept a different younger guy in the lineup instead.”


Here’s a funny story, just in case you haven’t heard it.

With only one goalie available at the start of Friday’s game against Ottawa, the Washington Capitals turned to Web site producer Brett Leonhardt to be its temporary backup. All within a few hours, Leonhardt, who played goalie in college, signed an amateur tryout contract, suited up and skated on the ice with the team during warm-ups and then returned to his job as Web site producer after prospect Simeon Varlamov arrived mid-game and took his place on the bench.

"I should pay the team for being able to do this," Leonhardt told reporters. "It was like every dream come true."

I had several co-workers tell me on Saturday to sharpen my skates just in case I’m needed here in a pinch. Ain’t happening. Remember, we’ve got Panger.

Thanks for reading.

Dave
thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com


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