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The Desert Dog Blog - A Dave Vest Blog
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Friday, 01.2.2009 / 11:40 PM MT / The Desert Dog Blog - 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

Several Coyotes fans have written me wondering why the Coyotes on Thursday sent forward Daniel Winnik to their top affiliate in the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment.

Well, here’s the deal.

The Coyotes asked Winnik, who has been a regular healthy scratch the past few weeks, to go to the AHL to play in some games and hopefully get his timing back. Winnik could have refused the assignment per CBA rules, but he didn’t.

So, Winnik will play for the San Antonio Rampage for a maximum of two weeks and then rejoin the team.

“I give Danny credit,” General Manager Don Maloney told me. “He could have said no. It really showed me that he wants to improve his game and he wants to be a member of the Coyotes. He hasn't played much in the last month, and the trouble when you don’t play on a regular basis is that your timing gets a little off. So, unless something very good happens, you're back on the sideline again. This way, he’ll get a lot of ice time and get a chance to come back, and then hopefully play.”

I then asked Maloney what Winnik, who has recorded no goals and one assist in 23 games this season after notching 11 goals and 15 assists in 79 games as a rookie, needs to do to get back in the Coyotes lineup.

His response: “Quite frankly, he has to play like he did in training camp and in the first few weeks of the season. We need a physical forecheck from him and we need him taking pucks to the net and being a big presence at the net... We don’t look to Danny to be a big scorer, but we need some basic things out of him consistently, otherwise there are other guys waiting in line for his spot.”

Thanks for reading.

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