Keith Yandle reflects on losing in the playoffs, improving Coyotes defense

keithyandle1.jpgThe rise of Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle last season could be described as meteoric. Flying under the radar as a virtually unknown player for his first three seasons in the NHL, Yandle emerged as one of the Coyotes top blue liners last season even earning himself a spot on Team USA during the 2010 World Championships.

The Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio talked to Yandle about how last season that saw spirits rise in Arizona for the Coyotes ended with a tough loss in seven games to the Detroit Red Wings.

The defense was a strong suit last season as the Coyotes advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The season ended with a crushing loss to Detroit in Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs.

“You do look back a little on it,” Yandle said. “We had a good season, and you want to build on it, carry it into the this coming season. “I think it’s important to look back a little bit and see what you did right and see what you did ring, and try to build on that.

“But also you’ve got to concentrate on things you need to do to get better for this season.”

If Yandle can continue his upward trend in play, the Coyotes back line is looking pretty solid. Ed Jovanovski, Adrian Aucoin, Derek Morris and Yandle make up a solid first four. Sami Lepisto along with competitors for the sixth spot like rookie Oliver Ekman-Larsson will help the Coyotes stay steady on defense. If the Coyotes are going to continue to be studly this season, those guys are going to have to remain vigilant in their commitment to coach Dave Tippett’s system.

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    Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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    Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

    It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

    His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

    These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

    Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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    Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

    Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

    It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

    Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

    Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

    Peter Chiarelli

    It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

    Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

    You can see and hear his full comments below:

    If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

    Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

    Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

    Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

    Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


    It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

    The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

    It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

    Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

    Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

    Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

    The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

    The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

    Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

    The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

    The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.