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Notes and Quotes From Sunday's Practices

Sunday, 09.18.2011 / 6:10 PM / Features
By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – Newcomer Boyd Gordon is on the list of players that Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett has noticed over the first two days of training camp.

“I’ve been very impressed with Boyd so far,” Tippett said Sunday in between practices at Jobing.com Arena. “He’s very business-like; when he goes about the drills he does everything right.”

Boyd Gordon
Tippett is expecting Gordon to help fill the void left in the faceoff circles by the exits of Vernon Fiddler and Eric Belanger. Gordon, who won 58 percent of his draws in the regular season and an NHL-best 68.8 percent in the playoffs for Washington last season, knows winning face-offs is key to winning games.

“Puck possession is huge,” Gordon said, “especially during penalty kills. If you win a draw and get it out, you kill 20 seconds. It’s an important part of what I do and I’ve been doing it a while in this league. It’s something I take a lot of pride in. I try to be one of the best in the league.”

Gordon signed with the Coyotes as a free agent on July 1 after seven seasons with the Capitals.

“Hopefully this change is good for me,” Gordon said. “I like the way they play here and I think it kind of fits into what I do. So I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

He added, “The guys have been great so far and very open, and the coaching staff has been great. It’s a good facility, and it’s exciting for me.”

He’s in the guts of the game and he’s one of those guys that helps you win. He’s going to be a very important player for us.” - Dave Tippett
Gordon’s parents live in nearby Goodyear during the winter months. He said they are excited to watch him play more often than in past seasons.

Gordon is not the flashiest player on the ice, but he often makes an impact by doing the dirty work.

Asked to explain his approach to the game, Gordon said:

“I want to be accountable and responsible and reliable. I try to be a hard-working guy who plays good defense and hopefully that turns into offense. I take pride in doing the little things right. I think the little things add up to wins.”

Those words are music to Tippett’s ears.

“He’s in the guts of the game and he’s one of those guys that helps you win,” Tippett said. “He’s going to be a very important player for us.”

►Team C beat Team A, 3-2, in Sunday’s scrimmage, which was noticeably more intense, physical and crisper than Saturday’s scrimmage.

Matt Watkins (C), Keith Yandle (C), Shane Doan (A), Colin Long (C) and Ray Whitney (A) scored the goals, in that order.

Keith Yandle in 2010-11. Photo by Getty Images.
Yandle’s goal was the prettiest, a slap shot from the left point that zoomed past goalie Mark Visentin.

Yandle was in a great mood after the scrimmage and not because he scored the goal. He’s excited about the upcoming season and the atmosphere around the arena.

“It’s a great vibe,” Yandle said. “It’s probably the best vibe I’ve felt since I’ve been here with the way the new guys are gelling. Guys like Boyd Gordon and Raffi Torres are coming in and making a big impact in the locker room.”

Yandle, of course, signed a five-year contract in the off-season and after that became a father for the first time when his wife gave birth to their daughter Mila about eight weeks ago.

“It was the best experience of my life,” said Yandle, who was in the delivery room when Mila arrived. “Everyone told me it was like nothing you could imagine and it was everything (they said) and more. It was just a great day… The tough thing now is being away from her for a long time. Even during the day when I’m at the rink for a couple hours it’s tough. I just want to see her. It’s been great.”

Photo by Norm Hall
► After focusing Saturday’s practices on defense, Tippett and his staff shifted gears and made “puck play” the theme of Sunday’s practices. Breakouts, regroups and driving to the net were emphasized during the on-ice sessions.

Team B will be the first on the ice on Monday at 9 a.m. Team B will scrimmage Team C at 10:15 a.m. Team A will take the ice at 1 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend Monday's practices free of charge.They should enter the arena at Gate 3. 

► The Coyotes will play their first preseason game on Tuesday at Anaheim. The next night, the same team will play at the Los Angeles Kings while a second Coyotes team plays the Kings at Jobing,com Arena.

Tippett, who will coach the team in Anaheim on Tuesday and the team in Glendale on Wednesday, said he has yet to decide which players will play in which games. The first cuts of the camp are expected to be made after the Wednesday games. vs. LA.
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