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Coyotes Work on Defense, Puck Management at Thursday's Practice

Thursday, 02.3.2011 / 6:29 PM MT / Features
By Dave Vest
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Coyotes Work on Defense, Puck Management at Thursday\'s Practice
GLENDALE – The Coyotes quickly buried a 6-0 home loss to Vancouver on Wednesday night deep in the past with an intense and physical practice on Thursday afternoon at Arena.

Head Coach Dave Tippett started the workout by telling the players that they must improve the way they defend their zone and they way they manage the puck.

The practice, which was noticeably quiet by Coyotes standards, lasted 45 minutes. Afterward, the consensus among the players was that while Wednesday’s defeat was humbling, it was just one loss.

Center Eric Belanger summed it up best:

Eric Belanger. Photo by Getty Images.
“You have to try and forget about it as quick as you can,” Belanger said. “What’s done is done. We have to learn from that game and move on as quick as we can… The vibe in the room is good today. Our job as players is to stay positive and work hard. Tomorrow is another day.”

The Coyotes have given up 10 goals in the past four periods.

“We have to find a way to better defend,” forward Taylor Pyatt said. “We have to defend our zone better, especially around the net. We have to limit second chances around our crease. It has to start there.”

Defenseman Sami Lepisto said he liked the physical nature of Thursday’s practice.

“It felt very good to compete in those one-on-one battle drills and feel like you’re working again,” Lepisto said. “We got a lot better today, and tomorrow we will look at some video and go over our mistakes and get ready for Saturday’s game (vs. Minnesota).”

• Center Vernon Fiddler, who is nursing an upper-body injury, skated alone again before his teammates took the ice. He won’t play Saturday but Tippett said he’s getting close and that he could return to the lineup next week.

• Defenseman Ed Jovanovski did not practice Thursday because of the upper-body injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s game. He is considered day-to-day.

• After Thursday’s practice, Coyotes players signed autographs for the team’s season-ticket holders at an event staged exclusively for them on the floor at Arena.

Click here to view photos from the event.

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