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Whitney Showing Skills, Savvy at Camp

Monday, 09.20.2010 / 5:41 PM / Features
By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez
GLENDALE -- There’s nothing like impressing your new boss, and newcomer Ray Whitney has done exactly that over the first three days of training camp.

“He’s playing in another league right now,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said Monday.

Asked to elaborate, Tippett said: “He’s just better than a lot of people right now… He’s had umpteen training camps and he just comes in and you can see he’s a good player. There’s a lot of good players here and he’s a real good player.”

Ray Whitney
Whitney has been equally impressed by the way Tippett and the coaching staff have run training camp the first few days.

“They’ve got a structured, scheduled practice that everybody’s doing,” Whitney said. “He (Tippett) is organized, he knows what he’s doing, he’s very prepared. He runs practices right to the minute, and so far he’s been a real pleasure to deal with.”

Whitney signed with the Coyotes on July 1, the first day of the free-agent signing period.

“They were one of the teams that came calling the earliest,” Whitney said. “And they were serious about the offers that they made… I watched a lot of their games last year, and I watched the playoffs as well, and I saw the direction that they’re going, and any time you have a coach that comes in and does a job like ‘Tip’ did, and the job that Don (Maloney) did since he’s been here, it’s an organization that’s going in the right direction and I thought they’re not that far from taking another step.”

Whitney, who took the ice on Saturday at training camp for the first time as a member of the Coyotes, said he and his new teammates already are working to build upon the success that the organization enjoyed last season.

Ray Whitney. Photo by Norm Hall
“It’s been a hard camp,” Whitney said. “It’s been a lot of work. (The coaching staff is) not letting anyone get too comfortable with the way things ended last year, and you can tell they’ve moved on. This year’s a different chapter, and the workload we’ve had so far has been pretty good.”

Whitney brings a wealth of experience to the Coyotes. The native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta has played in 1,072 regular-season games and another 83 playoff games over a span of 20 NHL seasons.

But despite all the experience, and the fact that he spent many years under the leadership of longtime NHL veteran Rod Brind’Amour, Whitney said he’s not here to take over the reigns from the leaders who already are in the dressing room.

“Each organization has their own identity and their own way of doing things, and there are some things you can take from every organization and try to implement it into another one, but I think they have a very good system the way things are going here,” Whitney said.

He added, “We have a great leader in Shane (Doan). We don’t need extra leadership, we need someone to help him along with what he’s doing.”

CAMP NOTES

        Kyle Wellwood
► Coyotes fans will see Whitney, who has notched nine 20-goal seasons including four in a row, skating the ice wearing No. 13 on his sweater.

“When I went to Carolina, No. 14 was taken, so I went with 13,” Whitney said. “That’s the whole story behind it. Then (I had) success with that, and we won a Cup in Carolina. I had some good years there, so I just felt that there’s no need to change.”

► Center Kyle Wellwood, who is in camp minus a contract on a tryout basis, scored three goals during Monday’s scrimmage to lead Team C to a 4-3 win over Team B.

► Tippett said he would not announce which player would replace Zbynek Michalek as an alternate capatain until the team goes to Prague to start the season. He said we would likely incorporate that announcement into a team-bonding exercise.

► Center Martin Hanzal told reporters a funny story after his workouts on Monday about how he signed his new contract on the hood of a car at an I-17 gas station on his way to a weekend trip in Las Vegas.

► The Coyotes will open their preseason schedule on Tuesday night at Anaheim. Check back to phoenixcoyotes.com later to see the roster for that game.
 
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