There has been a lot to like about the Phoenix Coyotes play of late. Since the start of February, the Coyotes are 7-0-1, including wins over the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings (all ahead of the Coyotes at the time they played). The success has the Coyotes playoff odds surging up to 83.7%, and the Sharks are now decidedly a target for top spot in the Pacific Division and the 3 seed in the Western Conference (especially with 3 head-to-head meetings left in their season series).
Just about the only thing that could really spell doom for the Coyotes would be a rash of injuries. Unfortunately, it seems as if they are having a surge on the injury front, although early signs are that all of these could be short term. After the jump we'll take a quick look at each player that is more than a little banged up.Derek Morris: As was reported today, DMo has taken a team leave to deal with a family illness. Even before this leave, Morris has been missing games with an apparent groin (?) injury. Now, I know that I've made my feelings known regarding the early season that DMo was having paired with Keith Yandle, but since the pairings have been mixed up and Morris is seeing more time with Michal Rozsival, his game has really stepped up. Now, the Coyotes generally have defensive depth to handle this issue, but with Rostislav Klesla also injured (see below), the Coyotes ran out the uber-inexperienced Michael Stone-Chris Summers d pairing on Saturday against Dallas. Here's hoping that DMo is back with the team soon and continuing to bring his second-half A game.
Rostislav Klesla: Rusty, you will recall, had his bell rung by Dustin Brown in the playoff-intensity, penalty-filled game against the Kings on Thursday night. By all accounts, Klesla is only day-to-day and may even be back in the lineup tomorrow night for the rematch with LA. That is certainly a welcome sign after how woozy he looked leaving the ice Thursday night. I saw Klesla up in the press box on Saturday and he looked in good spirits, but he also was just sitting down speaking with Rich Nairn at the time...we will have to wait and see.
Kyle Chipchura: Chip left the game against Dallas with an apparent wrist/shoulder injury after taking a pretty good whack midway through the third period. Reports from Dave Tippett are that Chip is day-to-day, but I haven't seen anything about x-ray results or whether he is expected to return for tomorrow's game or for the Western Canada roadtrip later this week.
Taylor Pyatt: Our blue-eyed fangirl swoonee has been out since taking a very hard check into the end boards during the shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks a week ago. Tip seemed to imply that Pyatt could be back for tomorrow's match-up. Given the lack of depth among our big bodied forwards, this would be a welcome return, although all respect to the job that Paul Bissonnette has done filling in after a long stretch without getting into any games.
Martin Hanzal: Last, but certainly not least, Coyotes shutdown center, Martin Hanzal went out with a "lower body injury" midway through the second period of the Dallas game. I've heard nothing regarding his status and rewatching his last shift yielded no evidence of apparent injury. We all know that the injuries to Hanzal, Boyd Gordon and Mike Smith that all corresponded with the December swoon left the team reeling. Hopefully this latest bump to Marty is just a temporary hiccup and he is back soon.
David Schlemko: Remarkably, all reports are pointing to the fact that Schlem might be rejoining the team sooner rather than later after lacerating his foot earlier this season (I believe it happened during practice, but can't recall). Schlemko was having a great season and his return would be most welcome.
With the trade deadline looming just a little over a week away, the status of these players may force GMDM's hand to shore up the ranks if he feels any may be out for extended times. Without an owner, he'll have to continue shopping for the bargain players, but he's made the most of that the past few years and we've seen the guys picked up at the deadline go on tears to end the season. Here's hoping there's a scoring winger in our trade deadline stocking.