Joe Yerdon

Don Maloney

Coyotes GM Maloney expects open competition on scoring lines

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Some fans don’t necessarily think of the Coyotes as a big-time offensive team. After all, Shane Doan and Antoine Vermette were their goal-scoring leaders with 13 a piece.

GM Don Maloney wants to perhaps change that up a bit this season by opening up competition for everyone on their top two lines.

Tal Pinchevsky at NHL.com hears from Maloney about how he’s changed things up heading into training camp this year.

“We made a concerted effort to leave three open scoring spots available. Hopefully somebody will seize the opportunity and take it,” Maloney told NHL.com. “I really feel we have the third and fourth line covered. Where do we find a little more skill? Where do we find help on our power play? Where do we find help in the shootout? We’re not closing our minds to anything.”

Guys like Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata will get some offensive help from newly signed Mike Ribeiro. The playmaking center will be able to distribute the puck well. Finding finishers will be the trick.

Coach Dave Tippett hasn’t really been a guy to shake things up like crazy year-to-year, but perhaps with new ownership comes new plans to open things up for younger guys like Lucas Lessio, Chris Brown, Henrik Samuelsson, or even 2013 first-rounder Max Domi.

Yandle excited by Team USA’s influx of youth

Keith Yandle
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When you take a look over Team USA’s orientation camp roster, the one thing that stands out is how young a lot of the guys are.

That fact wasn’t lost on Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle and he tells Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic he’s excited to see a lot of new blood get a shot at the 2014 Olympic team.

“If you talk about the youth and how USA Hockey is developing guys, it’s amazing,” Yandle said. “It’s not like they’re just inviting young guys to invite them. The guys that they’re inviting they’re all special players.”

Among that group of young guys are a couple of players who will look to take a job away from Yandle. Jets 2012 first-rounder Jacob Trouba and Predators 2013 first-round pick Seth Jones are very new and Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk has more than caught the eye of Team USA GM David Poile.

As it is, Team USA’s roster is very young with only four players being older than 30. Hockey is kind of a young man’s game already but the Olympic invites show that the future is now.

Report: Board of Governors may approve Coyotes sale this week

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There are just a couple of hurdles left to clear in the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, but a big one may be out of the way this week.

Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona reports NHL Deputy Commissioner will seek approval of the Board of Governors this week for the sale of the team.

As you know, the deal to sell the team to Renaissance Sports and Entertainment was approved by the Glendale City Council and now it’s just a matter of the final paperwork and procedure being completed. Getting approval of the Board of Governors is a big one as far as the league is concerned.

As for the completion of the sale, Daly says they’re still moving forward with that. There are only baby steps left in ending this saga.

 

Lightning’s St. Louis itchy to make 2014 Team Canada roster

Martin St. Louis
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Four years ago, Martin St. Louis was one disappointed guy. He wasn’t selected to the 2010 Team Canada roster and missed out on the chance to win gold and play for his country in his country.

This time around, he says he’ll do whatever it takes to make the 2014 roster. Mike Brophy at NHL.com hears it from the man himself.

“I’ll be a natural whatever they want me to be if it means making the team,” St. Louis said with a grin. “If I have a chance to play for my country at this stage of my career, I’ll do whatever they want.”

St. Louis, of course, is a natural right wing and with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also being Team Canada’s GM, you’d think he’d have an easy in, right? Not so much. Yzerman was also Team Canada’s GM back in 2010 as well.

As we’ve seen from Team Canada’s invite list, the competition to make the team will be very tough. Considering how consistent of a point producer St. Louis has been through his career, his chances have to be pretty good.

Columnist: NHL doesn’t have PED problem

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All the talk of late in Major League Baseball has centered around the latest performance enhancing drug scandal. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reminds us that the NHL doesn’t have to worry about such issues.

In his column today, Brooks says there’s no reason to think the NHL will have such off-ice distractions and there are two particular reasons why.

But even if NHL testing procedures previously have left holes to exploit, the league’s participation in international events such as the Olympics and World Championships are the best guard against the use of PEDs in the sport.

Drug testing for international competition is as stringent as it gets. Hockey players wanting to represent their country apparently won’t take chances ruining that opportunity or inviting criticism on themselves by using PEDs.

Adding to that, the NHL and NHLPA cracked down on drug testing following the 2004-05 lockout. Since then, just one NHL player (Sean Hill then of the New York Islanders) tested positive for PEDs and that was in 2007. Jose Theodore was busted in 2006 testing positive for a substance that could’ve been used to mask PED usage but was excused.

As Brooks notes, however, PEDs aren’t the NHL’s main concern when it comes to drugs. Instead, it’s pain killers and that’s another story for another time.