I’m running a bit behind here. Training camps opened on Sunday across the NHL and the Coyotes had their first public practice on Monday. I did attend and took a few pictures (after the jump). Being that it was the first day it is hard to say anyone really stood out or knocked my socks off. I didn’t get to see any more so this is all I can go on.
Andy Miele did completely undress Schlemko at one point. Plus he has some speed. A little more time in the AHL and some NHL experience (maybe learning how to win a faceoff) and this kid could be something special. Speaking of Schlem, he just wasn’t quite great. I feel if he doesn’t step it up and really wow people he could easily be replaced by the multitude of young defensemen waiting in the wings. Plus he shaved off all his facial hair. Hmmm… maybe that was his power source?
Of course after Monday’s practice Maloney trades for Lombardi. I am not sure how I feel about this trade. Lombardi was decent. He is a fast skater. I just wonder about bringing players back. Usually they have left for a reason (not producing, locker room issues etc). I am trying to reserve further judgement until I see what he brings.
Gone are Adrian Aucoin, Ray Whitney, Gilbert Brule, Taylor Pyatt, Michael Rozival and Daymond Langkow. I can’t say I will really miss any of them. New faces include Nick Johnson (sent to AHL), David Moss, Steve Sullivan and a longtime Phoenix fan favorite in Zbynek Michalek. I didn’t really notice much from the new guys Monday but it was the first day and I was trying to keep all the new guys straight.
Michalek is a welcome addition. I don’t think anyone, not even Z himself, wanted him to leave. His play wasn’t the greatest in Pittsburgh but it wasn’t horrible either. I think being back in Phoenix will help him out. I think he will do well here.
Overall I do not think this team has changed for the worse. I would put them at least equal to last years squad. What would really help is to find a powerplay that clicked. Our special teams coach really needs to figure it out. At least we have graduated from the patented “Gretzky’s Dump n Chase”. An improved powerplay would certainly make a difference in those tight games. It’s either going to make us or break us. Here’s to finally finding that winning combination!
We will learn more tonight. Their first game is tonight in Dallas. I will be watching, how about you?
Alright, I think that is all I have for now. As far as I can tell the Coyotes have narrowed it down to 23 players, keeping up Rundblad for now. It never hurts to carry an extra dman. I feel like we’ve done this before.
What are your thoughts on training camp? Do you think this roster will do as well as last years, if not better? Who are you looking forward to see play the most? Do you think Lombardi and Michalek were great re-additions?
Enjoy the few salvageable pictures from Monday. Here is one to peak your interest; the rest will follow after the jump!
And here are the rest.