Tag: Shane Doan

Montreal Canadiens v Phoenix Coyotes

Yandle credits new assistant coach for Coyotes’ improved power play

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The fact the Phoenix Coyotes don’t have the most dynamic group of forwards in the NHL hasn’t stopped them from scoring the third most power-play goals in the NHL, with 55.

Only the Washington Capitals (65) and Pittsburgh Penguins (60) have more goals with the man advantage, and we all know what kind of firepower those clubs boast up front.

How have the ‘Yotes done it? Defenseman Keith Yandle credits one of the new assistant coaches for the team’s success — a success it didn’t enjoy last season, when the power play ranked 25th.

Bringing in a guy like Newell Brown, he’s helped change that,” Yandle said, per NHL.com.

Brown’s last job was in Vancouver, where he helped the Canucks score a pile of goals on the power play, particularly in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He was fired at the end of last season, along with head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant Rick Bowness, after his specialty slumped to 22nd.

In Phoenix, having point men like Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson certainly hasn’t hurt Brown’s cause. Nor have right-handed finishers up front like Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan, each with 10 power-play goals this season.

We only mention the right-handed shots, because here’s what Brown said after being let go by the Canucks: “When you’re trying to run a power play with five left shots, which we were forced to do a lot this year, you’re really swimming upstream. Seventy-seven per cent of the power-play goals are scored with at least two right shots, so that tells you a lot right there. Not to say there are exceptions to the rule, but when you have five left shots, or even four, your chances of scoring are diminished.”

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings, Coyotes fight for playoffs in doubleheader action

Tomas Tatar, Tuukka Rask

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight with a doubleheader. The Detroit Red Wings host the Boston Bruinns from Joe Louis Arena at 8:00 p.m. ET followed by the Los Angeles Kings hosting the Phoenix Coyotes from Staples Center at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The season is winding down quickly and that means many games come with a little added pressure. Two of those come your way tonight on NBCSN.

It starts in Detroit where the Red Wings have a tenuous hold on the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wings have a one point lead on Columbus and are two points ahead of Toronto, three ahead of Washington, and four up on New Jersey. There are just enough games for everyone that any loss can be a playoff dream-killer and that puts the Bruins in a special sort of position.

The Bruins’ next two games are with the Red Wings tonight and the Maple Leafs tomorrow. As the top team in the Eastern Conference they’ll have a strong hand in helping shape who they’ll get to face in the first round of the playoffs. That means their choice of which game to start Tuukka Rask or Chad Johnson could have major ramifications.

The Red Wings have played a bit more consistent lately due to the play of Gustav Nyquist, they’ll be getting Pavel Datsyuk back from injury soon, and Jimmy Howard has been strong and steady. That sounds like the kind of team no one wants to face in the playoffs. The Bruins will hope Jarome Iginla will have flashbacks of facing the Wings in postseasons gone by and try to do his part to keep them down.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $200. Starts Wednesday at 7pm ETHere’s the FanDuel link.

Things are a bit dicier out West for the Phoenix Coyotes.

source: Getty ImagesThe Coyotes fell out of the second wild card spot last night after losing in a shootout to Winnipeg while the Dallas Stars blew out the Washington Capitals. The Coyotes and Stars each have 85 points, but the Stars have four more regulation/overtime wins. Making up ground in that category isn’t likely, so it’s up to the Coyotes to do it the old-fashioned way and just win.

Standing in their way tonight is a team that’s made life miserable for them in the Los Angeles Kings and the Coyotes are catching them at absolutely the wrong time. L.A. has won 14 of the past 18 but are coming off a loss to the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

Coyotes-Kings games bring out a lot of bad blood and perhaps that spark is what Shane Doan and Thomas Greiss need to close out strong. They’ll have to do their part to wrangle Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, and their hated nemesis Dustin Brown to make it happen. Even if they do that, Jonathan Quick is still back there to keep them off the board.

It might not be the playoffs yet, but these games are as close as it will get until then.

Coyotes GM Maloney questions team leadership, not Doan

Don Maloney, Dave Tippett

Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney has a reason for why his team has been inconsistent this season and it might surprise you: Questionable leadership.

Before you start pointing the finger at Shane Doan, as Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic shares, Maloney says it’s a team-wide problem.

“I really look at it and say it comes back to the leadership in your locker room,” Maloney said. “This is not a condemnation of (captain) Shane (Doan). I’m not pointing a finger at Shane whatsoever. This is the collective group … this group that’s been here for the last four, five years, that knows how we have to play and the focus we have to put in to have that group drag along the rest of the players. And that’s what has me doing a lot of soul searching right now.”

Doan hasn’t been the same player since returning from Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Before that, he was playing some of the best hockey of his career. Pointing the finger at him would’ve been rough.

The Coyotes have the same number of points as the Dallas Stars, but the Stars have the tiebreaker edge on the Coyotes for the final wild card spot. If Phoenix can find that consistency they’re lacking, they’ll be a tough opponent in the postseason. 

In praise of Antoine Vermette

Antoine Vermette

In terms of well-rounded seasons, few are having better ones than Antoine Vermette.

The Phoenix center, who leads the team with 21 goals this year, is putting together the kind of campaign that pushed ‘Yotes GM Don Maloney to offer the highest of praise.

“I don’t think anyone would argue if I said Antoine has been our most valuable player this season,” Maloney told Fox Sports Arizona. “He does everything for us and he does it all well.”

Consider the following:

— Vermette leads the team in faceoff winning percentage (55.9), ninth-best in the NHL.

— Vermette leads the team in shorthanded goals (three), tied for second in the NHL.

— Vermette leads all Coyotes forwards in PK time, is fifth in PP time and is one of only two forwards to average at least 19 minutes per game.

The 31-year-old is also enjoying an unprecedented offensive streak. Vermette scored an unassisted goal on Tuesday against Dallas to extend his point streak to eight games, marking a career-high for while matching Shane Doan for the longest Phoenix point streak this season.

What’s more, it’s also the NHL’s longest active point streak.

Vermette has been scoring in bunches lately — a hat trick in Vancouver two Sundays ago, two points in a 3-0 win over L.A. last week — and is on pace for 31 goals, which would be a career best and the most he’s scored since netting 27 for Columbus during the 2009-10 campaign.

But, as head coach Dave Tippett pointed out, Vermette’s success isn’t just about putting pucks in the net.

“Even when he wasn’t scoring, his work ethic remained the same,” Tippett said, per NHL.com. “He’s been very opportunistic and two hat tricks [Vermette also had one in December against Ottawa] will move your numbers up fast. Plus he’s on a line with (Lauri Korpikoski and Mikkel Boedker) that really likes playing with each other and they’ve been a real effective group.”

It’ll be interesting how Vermette’s future plays out. He’s in the penultimate season of a five-year, $18.75 million deal that expires at the end of the 2014-15 campaign and, assuming he continues to produce, would likely garner a raise on his $3.75 million annual cap hit with his next contract.

Report: ‘More than a dozen’ teams have contacted Buffalo about Moulson


Just to give an idea of how intense the Matt Moulson sweepstakes are, here’s Chris Botta of the Sports Business Journal:

The only potential hiccup to said sweepstakes is the fact Moulson’s currently on IR with a suspected arm injury. He was hurt last week against Phoenix on a Shane Doan hit/slash, and looked to be in considerable pain upon leaving the ice.

The former Islander, who came to Buffalo as part of the Thomas Vanek trade, has nine goals and 24 points in 40 games for the Sabres this season. He’s in the last of a three-year, $9.4 million deal and rumored to be on the want list of a number of teams at the deadline, so it’ll be very interesting to see 1) how severe this injury is, and 2) how much it affects the bidding war (though according to Botta’s tweet, it doesn’t seem to have slowed things any.)

The Senators have reportedly been kicking the tires on Moulson, according to the Ottawa Sun, and dialed-in Kings scribe John Hoven — from Mayors’ Manor — says L.A. is very interested in acquiring Moulson as well.

Moulson hasn’t said what his plans are for the future, but didn’t rule out re-signing in Buffalo.