The 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.