Author: Joe Yerdon

Max Domi

Coyotes deciding between rookies Domi and Lessio


The Phoenix Coyotes have a pair of young forwards they really like. They’re also having a hard time deciding who stays with the big club as well.

2013 first-round pick Max Domi and 2011 second-round pick Lucas Lessio are competing for the last forward spot with the team and as GM Don Maloney puts it, their decision is going to be tough to make. Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona has the story and it sounds like Lessio has the lead on Domi.

“From Day 1 in camp, Lucas has willed himself onto our roster with hard work,” Maloney said. “We’ve been waiting to see a drop-off and we haven’t seen one, so he’s probably the most pleasant surprise in camp.”

Maloney says Lessio could play on any of the four lines while Domi would have to be on one of the top two scoring lines to fit in best. That turns into a dilemma as to what coach Dave Tippett needs more of: Goals or all-around play.

Domi making the jump right into the NHL would be a surprise as he’s got the option to head back to juniors. While he could get a nine-game look, after seeing how things went with Kyle Turris in the past, they may not want to do that again.

Blues release Ryan Whitney from PTO

Ryan Whitney

Ryan Whitney’s trial run with the St. Louis Blues is at an end.

The team announced they’ve released the eight-year veteran from his professional tryout agreement.

After spending the past three-and-a-half injury-riddled seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, he was hoping to latch on with the Blues as a puck-moving defenseman. Instead, he wasn’t able to generate much offense in his limited preseason action.

As it was, cracking the Blues lineup on defense was set to be a tall order. Everyone from last year’s team is back and that group has proved to be very strong. With Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk leading the way and signed long-term, Whitney already had two players doing what he does there.

Related: EA Sports predicts St. Louis Blues as 2014 Stanley Cup champions

Alfredsson (pulled groin) to make first appearance in Detroit tonight

Daniel Alfredsson

Fans in Detroit will finally get their first look at Daniel Alfredsson tonight.

Alfredsson has been nagged by a pulled groin since September 17 but he’ll be in the lineup for the Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena. Ansar Khan of reports Alfie can’t wait to get back into action.

“It feels good to get into a game,” Alfredsson said. “It’s going to be exciting to play in this building for the first time (as a Red Wing).”

Alfredsson will be back with Johan Franzen and Stephen Weiss on the team’s second line. As it is, he’s played in just one preseason game this year, a 2-0 loss to Chicago in which he was a minus-2.

For Detroit, getting things right before the start of the season is of the utmost importance as they’ve struggled finding chemistry with their lines early on. They’ll get to try and figure that out tonight and tomorrow against Toronto.

Vokoun says he nearly died because of blood clot issue

Tomas Vokoun

Tomas Vokoun’s absence in Pittsburgh due to a blood clot issue almost became headline news for the worst reasons.

The Penguins goaltender tells Karel Knap of (via Roman Jedlicka) his life was in serious danger thanks to his blood clot ailment. Translated quotes courtesy of Jedlicka.

“I was lucky I was sent to hospital so quickly. I nearly died during weekend,” Vokoun said. “My foot was swollen, I had blood clots from mid-thigh almost to the heart. I was thinking about the end of my career. It would not be so difficult decision. Now I will do what doctors say. Health is clearly the main thing. I hope I have more than half of life ahead of me.“

It’s not the first time Vokoun has had blood clot problems in his career as he also had an instance come up while with the Nashville Predators in 2006. This time around, however, it sounds like things were a bit more daunting.

The Penguins have no timetable for when Vokoun might return. AHL veteran Jeff Zatkoff is taking his place as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup for the time being.

Noel on Trouba: ‘There’s some good stability in his game’

Jacob Trouba; Dustin Byfuglien

When Jacob Trouba departed the University of Michigan last year to go pro, the biggest question surrounding him was how soon he’d crack the Winnipeg Jets roster.

The answer may be this season.

Jets coach Claude Noel is playing it cool when talking about his play in the preseason, but he’s liking what he sees from the rookie defenseman as Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press reports.

“For a 19-year-old player I think he makes good decisions, he plays hard, he plays a lot of minutes and makes a lot of good decisions,” said the Jets’ boss. “There’s some good stability in his game.”

Winnipeg does have a crowded group on defense. Obviously Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom are guarantees, as are Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, and Grant Clitsome.

That sixth spot though? That’s up for grabs and Trouba has to compete with Adam Pardy and Paul Postma for that. Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press says to give Trouba (and rookie teammate Mark Scheifele) their shot to succeed right away.

Trouba’s shown he’s got the skills from his play at last year’s World Junior Championships. If he can hang with the big boys, suddenly Winnipeg’s defense doesn’t look too shabby at all.