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The Desert Dog Blog - A Dave Vest Blog
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Friday, 02.6.2009 / 6:13 AM 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

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I can’t sleep anymore. Thoughts of that loss in Detroit the other night still are lingering in my mind. It’s been about 36 hours since it happened and that hooking call against Joel Perrault with 46 seconds left still doesn’t make any sense to me. What a crummy ending to a terrific game.

I absolutely detest the tired sports cliché “a must-win game” so I won’t use it to describe Saturday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Arena. But I will call it “a really-really-really-need-to-win game” for the Coyotes. The players know it. They all check the standings and realize they are now at the bottom of the cluster of teams huddled together around the playoff line instead of at the top of that cluster where they were just 10 days ago. I am expecting a high-energy effort from them on Saturday.

Injuries have slowed this team. The good news is forward Steven Reinprecht may return to the lineup on Saturday. Ditto defenseman Derek Morris. Peter Mueller’s status is less clear – concussions are tricky. I should know more after speaking to Head Coach Wayne Gretzky after Friday’s practice.

Defenseman Kurt Sauer is skating again but he is not close to returning. His lower-body injury has hurt this team. The Coyotes have won just three of the 10 games he has missed.

FYI, Carolina is going to play Saturday night’s game without captain  Rod Brind’Amour, who is in North Carolina nursing a lower-body injury. That’s
good news for Phoenix because Brind’Amour still is dominant in the face-off circles and the Coyotes struggle there.

Meanwhile, Hurricanes All-Star Eric Staal did not play in the third period or overtime of Carolina’s win over San Jose on Thursday night because of a lower-body injury. Stay tuned.

I chuckled on Wednesday when rookie Kevin Porter told me that while he was thrilled to be playing in Joe Louis Arena for the first time as an NHL player, he really wasn’t a Red Wings fan when he was a kid or playing for the University of Michigan.

For those who don’t know, Porter is from Northville, Mich., which is about a half-hour drive from Detroit. When I spoke to him before Wednesday’s game I just assumed the Red Wings were his team of choice as a kid. Wrong. Porter told me that while his brothers loved the Red Wings when they were all growing up together, he simply chose to go against the grain and be different. Colorado, he said, was his team.

Thanks for reading.

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