REINPRECHT SHINES IN COYOTES DEBUT
By: David Breitman
Within 24 hours of dawning a Phoenix Coyotes uniform, Steven Reinprecht showed Coyote fans what they were getting in the six-foot center: A winner.
With zeros across the shootout scoreboard and the game in his hands, Reinprecht gave the Coyotes their first win in three games when he drew Kings goalie Mathieu Garon to the right side of the crease before sharply cutting to his backhand, lifting the puck and fan's hopes with a single shot.
"It was an exciting goal to score," said Reinprecht "We all love winning and I want to keep this up."
Reinprecht's previous stops before landing in the Valley of the Sun saw him in Colorado and Calgary where he made two appearances in the Cup finals, hoisting Lord Stanley in 2001. His proclivity for winning is not only a large part of Reinprecht's demeanor, but also what motivated the team to bring him to Phoenix.
"Steve's a winner," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "Its definitely part of the reasons we brought him here."
Outside of his experience in the win column, Reinprecht gives the Coyotes a speedy playmaker at center, something they have lacked all season.
"Its no secret we needed a center," said Gretzky. "He gives us speed and finesse."
"He's an incredible player that I'm excited to play with," said captain Shane Doan. "He's a great guy and I look forward to playing with him Saturday."
For the time being, Gretzky has said that he anticipates playing Doan and Reinprecht on the team's top line, while rotating several players on the left side as they await Ladislav Nagy's return.
Though Reinprecht's heroics brought fans to their feet, his main goal is to help get Phoenix into the post season and once there, go deep.
"This is a great team," said Reinprecht. "But right now we aren't a playoff team and that needs to change."
If Reinprecht can bring the same effort and play that he did on Thursday, it won't take long for the Coyotes to to get back in the playoff picture.