Keith Yandle

Report: Yandle goes unrecognized at Phoenix-area Best Buy


Keith Yandle? More like Don Incognito.

That’s the story out of Phoenix as Fox Sports Arizona caught up with the Coyotes defenseman prior to Sunday’s Game 1 against Los Angeles.

Yandle — a two-time All-Star, Phoenix’s alternate captain, tied for the playoff scoring lead among defensemen — hasn’t exactly found the the fame and notoriety that comes with being four wins away from the Stanley Cup finals.

For example, here’s how Yandle described his Wednesday afternoon.

“I went to Best Buy, Home Depot and Fry’s Grocery Store,” he said. “I was in each of them for probably a half hour to 45 minutes, and I didn’t get recognized once.

“It’s fine for me flying under the radar. It’s nice to be able to do my thing.”

This anecdote embodies Phoenix on the whole: No stars, no huge profiles, no massive egos. Yandle had the highest salary of all the Coyotes this year — $4.75 million — which doesn’t even put him top-5o in the NHL.

(If you’re curious: New York Rangers center Brad Richards was No. 1, with $12 million.)

No Phoenix player was nominated for an NHL Award and none made it to the prestigious EA Sports NHL 13 cover vote finals.

Suits the team just fine, though — especially defenseman Rostislav Klesla.

Klesla finds comfort in going unrecognized, noting there’s been no increase in exposure since the team started its magical playoff run.

“Nobody’s looking at you, nobody cares what you’re wearing, how you talk, who you talk to and what you’re doing,” he explained. “You can life your life, and I like it.”

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.