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THE DESERT DOG BLOG: BIG NIGHT FOR 'BIG CUBANO'

Thursday, 04.02.2009 / 3:16 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

Al Montoya is easy to root for and I’m glad I was there to see his memorable NHL debut in person. I only hope he will enjoy his feat as much as possible because he’s playing again on Thursday night against Los Angeles.

It's funny. After I pointed out to Montoya that after waiting 24-plus years to make his NHL debut, he would have to wait less than 24 hours for his second start, the “Big Cubano” smiled and said: "Well, there’s no better way to do it than that.”
Montoya

Montoya said he was nervous before Wednesday night’s game, but he hid it well.

“I'd lie to you if I said I wasn’t (nervous,)” Montoya told me moments after he finished his post-game stretching. "At the same time, I wasn’t going to let nerves get the best of me. I was waiting for this chance for a long time and I was going to seize this opportunity.”

Kudos to the coaching staff for giving Montoya a better shot to win his first game by starting him in a road game against a team struggling to score goals. And kudos to Montoya’s teammates for making sure he got the shutout by holding the Avs to just three shots in the third period.


Joe Sakic created a media buzz on Wednesday morning when he spoke to reporters in Denver about possibly playing again this season. Sakic, of course, has played just 15 games in 2008-09 because of back and hand injuries.

Joe Sakic
Asked why he is even considering playing again this season for a team buried at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, Sakic told reporters: ”I’m a hockey player…If I am healthy, I play.”

Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky is a big fan of Sakic, and he can relate to Sakic's situation as he nears the end of his career.

"The games themselves, you look forward to," Gretzky said. "It's the commitment and the work ethic that you have to do in the offseason to get ready for the games. I know when I retired, it wasn't the game itself that I was concerned about, but I was concerned about the offseason training that I knew I had to put in, and I didn't have the same energy and same desire I had before. That's ultimately what made me decide to retire."


The announced attendance for Wednesday’s game at the Pepsi Center was 13,437. But thanks to the Avalanche’s late-season collapse and a snowstorm, it appeared as if the arena - which is usually packed - was barely half-full.

I thought Coyotes TV/Radio Host Todd Walsh, who has witnessed many, many NHL games in Denver, summed it up best when he scanned the underwhelming crowd from the press box and said, “I just can’t believe what I’m seeing.”

Thanks for reading.

Dave
thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com
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