Tonight the Coyotes raise to the rafters the number of one of the best to have ever played for our team in the desert in Teppo Numminen. I never entirely understood why we let him go in the first place. At the time management gave the old "Better to trade too soon than too late" line, but he still played 5 more years, with one shortened by having to replace a heart valve. It was always hard to watch him skate in a Buffalo jersey, but at least we're honoring him right and retiring his number.
Believe it or not there's also a game tonight, that in addition to being the Coyotes' 55th game of the year, also kicks off the Coyotes' 24 Hours of Hockey as part of Hockey Weekend in America. Kids, Adults, High School teams and beer leagues all ending with a Coyotes Alumni game. Enough with the extracurriculars though. What about the game itself?
Well after taking down the Red Wings, then taking the Flames into the shootout for the win after blowing a two goal lead, the Coyotes get the Rangers. The Blueshirts have hit a rough patch of late losing their last 4 games and 7 of the last nine. Including a loss on Wednesday to the league's worst overall team in the Carolina Hurricanes. They've been in town since Thursday practicing though and you better believe John Torterella has been running them ragged in practice.
One other important note for the Coyotes is that Scottie Upshall is definitely out for tonight's game, but beyond that no one knows his status right now. Everyone knows it's a knee injury, but the severity is anyone's guess. At least for those of us not in the organization. We'll need to see people start stepping up to fill the void. Maybe Mueller can actually return to form or Boedker actually stays on the club for once. We'll have to see.
|2009 - Jason LaBarbera||10||530||3||4||22||2.49||263||241||.916||0|
Barbie gets his first start in a while and his first action since taking over for the second half of the Buffalo debacle. His record isn't reall all that bad at 3-4-1 and his other stats in GAA and Save percentage are actually pretty decent. It's all a question of if he can make the saves early. When he lets in an early goal the team in front of him plays with less confidence. So much so that you can absolutely tell the diference just in the body language of the team when he makes a couple glove saves. Hopefully we get the Barbie that played against the Canucks a while back instead of the one we saw against the Sharks on the 12th.
|2009 - Henrik Lundqvist||48||2754||22||19||110||2.40||1371||1261||.920||2|
Overall this season King Henrik has done well for the Rangers, but along with the rest of the team he's really taken a hit over the last 4. With a GAA of 5.02 and a .849 sv% in those 4 games he's been reeling. That doesn't mean that he's going to be a pushover tonight, but it's certainly a funk that he's in.
This former Ranger would love to take some of his former mates to the woodshed. He's looked strong in almost all aspects of his game and has been finding ways to make big plays. Maybe a couple goals tonight to remind the Ranger faithful what they're missing?
How could I pick anyone else? He's the most dangerous guy on the ice for the blue crew. Everyone was thinking he'd have another injury filled season, but he's been big for the Rangers this year.
Phoenix Coyotes Injuries
New York Rangers Injuries