Monday Morning Musings: the reemergence of Coyotes hockey

Bruce Bennett

A look back at an interesting week in Coyotes hockey with thoughts and observations from Managing Editor Jaime Eisner.

The Phoenix Coyotes have been on the road all week and found themselves in two overtime games. They emerged from the first three games with an overall record of 1-1-1.

Before the Coyotes head home for Christmas, here are a few tidbits and notes from the week that was in Coyotes hockey:

- The Coyotes have played much better defensive hockey as of late. In the three road games this week, Phoenix allowed only six goals (not including empty net and SO awarded goals). Considering the team came into the week averaging over three goals per game allowed, the defense has definitely stepped up.

- Mike Smith has found his groove. Smith boasts a 2.23 GAA and .926 save percentage in the month of December.

- Antoine Vermette (6-3-9) and Mikkel Boedker (4-5-9) are point-per-game players in December with nine points in nine games apiece.

- Phoenix's PK has killed nine of their last 10 penalties since allowing two power play goals in the loss to Montreal.

- The Coyotes had strong possession numbers in the first three games of the trip. Their Corsi for percentage was 55 percent.

- Something's got to give with the David Rundblad dilemma. It's clear Connor Murphy has passed the Swede on the RD depth chart for the foreseeable future. Sitting in the press box every night is of no benefit to him, the team or his trade value.

- The Coyotes and the public finally found out what's been ailing Shane Doan. The news isn't good, although Doan is reportedly responding to medication. The 37-year-old may be out longer than people think. The team hopes to get their captain back in January but don't be surprised if he's out until the Olympic break if there is a set back in his recovery.

- Andy Miele is running away with the Portland Pirates' points lead. He has 26 points (including 11 goals) in 24 games. The next closest scorer? Chris Brown with 17.

- It's unfortunate that Coyotes fans will not see forward prospect Henrik Samuelsson don the Team USA sweater in the World Junior Championship this year. However, Samuelsson is still a player who will challenge for a third line role in training camp next season.

- To all of our FFH readers, have a safe and merry Christmas. The new CBA dictates the mandatory off days of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Yotes won't practice until Friday's morning skate.

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