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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: PLAYOFF PUSH MUST START NOW

Tuesday, 02.24.2009 / 12:59 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

So , here we are on a plane flying to St. Louis for a game against the Blues on Tuesday night at the Scottrade Center. Sitting here, staring out my window at an overcast sky, I’m thinking the schedule over the next six days is quite favorable to building a winning streak that will allow the Coyotes to get right back into playoff position.

'Yotes Quotes at St. Louis

After Tuesday, the Coyotes play at Nashville on Thursday, and then it’s back to Jobing.com Arena for another game against the Blues. As I’m writing this, the Preds and Blues also are on the outside looking up at the playoffs, and certainly are teams the Coyotes can beat. Six points are there for the taking if the Coyotes want them badly enough.

After Saturday's game, the Coyotes will play five games in a row east of the Mississippi River, and four of those games will be against opponents who are currently playoff teams. So, these next three games present a good chance to earn some points and gather some momentum. The time to make a move is now.


Before becoming a dad, defenseman David Hale scored two goals in 254 NHL games. As a father, Hale is averaging a goal a game after netting a first-period marker vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Go figure.
David Hale

Hale’s wife, Maggie, gave birth to their first child, a daughter they named Nora, on Feb. 18. Hale returned to the lineup on Saturday with a new look on life.

“It was just an unbelievable experience,” said Hale, who was with his wife during her 12-plus hours of labor. “This organization was great and it really understands the value of family and gave me a few days off to enjoy the experience.”

I asked Hale, 27, to sum up how it felt to be a parent.

“The best thing I can say is you really can’t understand it until you’ve gone through it for yourself. It’s a unique experience.”


Rookie Viktor Tikhonov has notched four goals and two assists in the five games he has played since returning from a conditioning assignment in the American Hockey League on Feb. 12. The Coyotes sent Tikhonov to their AHL team in San Antonio to help him get back into game shape after he missed about a month because of a hand injury.
Coyotes rookie Viktor Tikhonov. (Photo by Norm Hall/Phoenix Coyotes.)

I asked Tikhonov if he gained confidence playing in the AHL and, if so, if he thinks that is why he has gone on a scoring tear since his return.

His response: “I definitely have more confidence now because when I got sent down I got to play a little more and I scored a few goals and got that scoring touch back again. It was good to feel that and it was good to come back to the NHL with that confidence again."


For those who would like to read the thoughts and opinions of those who cover the Coyotes on a daily basis, go to twitter.com/phoenixcoyotes. In a nutshell, it is a social-networking service that provides information in blurb format. Basically, it’s like reading text messages from those in the know, and it’s a lot of fun. Me, Darren Pang, Dave Strader, Bob Heethuis and Tyson Nash are regular contributors.

Thanks for reading.

Dave
thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com




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