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WINNIK REBOUNDING FROM SCORING SLUMP

Sunday, 11.08.2009 / 10:34 PM / Features
By Anthony Perez
Daniel Winnik is enjoying his time with the Coyotes this season much more than last season. He’s producing more, too.

With seven points in 17 games, Winnik already has matched his point total from 2008-09.

After having a solid rookie campaign in 2007-08 when he notched 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points in 79 games, Winnik struggled to score in his sophomore season. He played just 49 games and was held to three goals and four assists for seven points.

Daniel Winnik
While he was trying to help out last season in other areas, Winnik said that being unable to find his scoring touch caused him to stop playing the physical type of game that he’s comfortable playing.

“I didn’t score until February of last year,” Winnik said. “And it wasn’t the fact that I was playing bad to start the season, I just couldn’t score and started changing other parts of my game. I took out my physical part to try and jump on more offensive chances.”

Winnik entered this season focused on rebounding from his frustrating sophomore year in the NHL. He credits the coaching staff for helping him turn things around.

“(Assistant Coach) Dave King has a wealth of hockey knowledge that I don’t think too many of us have seen in this room, especially us young guys,” Winnik said. “He helps a lot with just positional stuff. The pre-game preparations are phenomenal. The video they show us, and the pre-scout and where guys are going to be, the other team’s tendencies and how they play, that just makes your game a lot easier to play.”

Winnik also credits the chemistry he has with linemates Taylor Pyatt and Vernon Fiddler for his increased offensive production.

“Fiddler an I have played together the majority of the season, so we’ve really gotten used to each other’s tendencies. We play with each other on the penalty kill as well, and with Taylor on the line now, we just seem to be jelling.”

Pyatt said he enjoys being linemates with Winnik and Fiddler.

“We all seemed to have some chemistry kind of right off the start,” Pyatt said. “I know Vernon has really impressed me this season. I had no idea he was such a good skater, and such a good offensive player. Danny Winnik on the other side has scored some big goals and has made some real good plays, so hopefully we can continue to build on the chemistry and help this team compete.”

Winnik said he’s pleased that his improvement this season has helped the team win games.

“When you’re helping out offensively it feels a lot better,” Winnik said. “It’s not always the case for helping your team. You can kill penalties and make good defensive plays, but it brings a lot more joy, especially when you’re winning. We’ve got a phenomenal group of guys in the locker room this year.”


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