GRETZKY PLEASED WITH TEAM MENTALITY
By: Chad Lynch
When Wayne Gretzky took over as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, one of his goals was to change the way the club approached the game and their work ethic in it. He wanted the players to develop a relentless attack and to believe that they could win every game they play. Just five games into the 2005-06 season, Gretzky is already seeing the changes taking place.
"We haven't got into a game where we have given up," said Gretzky. "Our work ethic has been strong every night and our guys continue to battle."
While Gretzky didn't want to compare this year's club against past Coyotes teams, he did point out that one aspect that has set this club apart from its predecessors is the team's refusal to give in.
"This team keeps going at the opponent and continues to play within the system we are putting in place here," said Gretzky. "I am proud that they are going out and competing every night."
Gretzky also pointed out that the Coyotes have the all the tool to be successful, they just need to be more assertive.
"We want to take more control during the game and not relax," said Gretzky. "When we start being more aggressive and forceful, we will change the outcome of the games."
MORRIS HAPPY TO BE BACK
On Thursday, Derek Morris returned to the Phoenix line-up for the first time since he injured his groin in the season opener in Vancouver. Although Morris did not want to rush back before he was physically ready, there was no doubt that he couldn't wait to re-enter the Coyotes lineup.
"It was great to finally be back in the game," said Morris. "I still want to improve and give the forwards more support, but at least I am back playing."
JOSEPH TO START SATURDAY
When the Coyotes face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph will return to the nets after missing a week of action due to a groin stain.
While Joseph may have a little extra incentive on Saturday as he faces his former team, his focus during the past week has just been on getting healthy and not thinking about which team he may face.
"They're (Detroit) off to a good start and that adds to the game, but my focus has been getting healthy and ready to play and not worrying about who I will play against. I am getting stronger everyday and I feel really good right now."
Gretzky acknowledged that with "Cujo" having played in Detroit from 2002-2004, there will be a lot of talk about "revenge" but that he isn't worried about Joseph's focus.
"Curtis will be ready to go Saturday night," said Gretzky. "I know players get a little bit fired up whenever they play against their former team, but he has things under control and I expect a good game from him."