After a Cinderella 2009-10 season that ended after they gave the Detroit Red Wings everything they could handle in a seven game first round series, the Phoenix Coyotes seem like their plummeting back to earth. (Aren’t you glad I didn’t make some kind of pumpkin reference?)
Perhaps it’s the loss of Zbynek Michalek or maybe the “Us against the World” mentality cannot be maintained through two seasons. Whatever the case may be, the Coyotes are struggling mightily right now. Sure, they’re maintaining at least some of their scrappy mindset – after all, four of their losses came after regulation – but there’s only so much positive spin you can put on winning just six of your last eight games.
Good news doesn’t seem like it’s coming anytime soon for the Coyotes, either. He already missed three games due to a suspension this season, but now Shane Doan will be on the shelf for an indefinite amount of time with a lower-body injury. TSN has the story.
The Phoenix Coyotes will be without the services of Shane Doan for an extended period, after the team captain suffered a lower-body injury in a collision with Dallas defenceman Nicklas Grossman in the final minutes of a 6-3 loss to the Stars on Friday.
Team officials say Doan’s status will be evaluated ”week-to-week.”
You know an injury could be a pretty big problem if teams are measuring the evaluation process by weeks, not days.
To be fair, Doan isn’t quite the pivotal player he once was for the Coyotes, despite being a valuable leader. After two 28+ goal and 70+ point seasons, Doan only scored 18 goals and 55 points last season. He only had one goal and two assists for three points so far in 2010-11, so it’s hard to say he’s downright irreplaceable.
That being said, he will be missed. The question is: for how long? We’ll pass along updates on his condition, even if they only filter through on a “week-to-week” basis.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.