Martin Hanzal’s overtime Game 1-winning tip might have been his introduction for many casual fans. More regular followers of the Phoenix Coyotes probably know that Hanzal is a big center who can be a big headache for opposing teams’ top forwards, so losing him for Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks could be a big – if subtle – loss.
Sarah McLellan reports that he’s an unhealthy scratch as the series shifts to the United Center tonight. (The game’s just about to start on CNBC, by the way.)
Hanzal is dealing with a lower-body injury. It’s unclear how severe it is (or in typical playoff fashion, what exactly it is), but it must be serious if the large pivot cannot play.
With both games ending in overtime out in Phoenix, every little edge is needed. Being without Hanzal might just prove costly for the Coyotes. Then again, Dave Tippett’s team is pretty good at facing steep odds, so this could just be nothing. (The Blackhawks will be without Andrew Shaw on their end, after all.)
Oh, and in case you were wondering … yes, Mike Smith is Phoenix’s starting goalie.