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Coyotes Ups and Downs: Looking Back at the 10 Game Mark

Ok, missed an entire week or two which is bad of me, but the Phoenix Coyotes had too many games and I've been too busy at work, so as Coach Tippett does, I'm taking this week to look back at the first ten games of the season and see how everyone is doing. We'll try and be better about doing this every week in the future. So, this information will not include last night's game against Colorado.

For those that have not joined us previously, we're looking at every Coyotes player on the roster and saying whether their performance is trending up, trending down or staying about neutral. Follow the jump to see the master list.

Goalies Trend Notes
Jason LaBarbera One great game in Nashville, and one pretty forgettable game against Chicago, but it's hard to really blame Barbs too much on that latter game. I've been a bit surprised that we've only seen Jason twice this year, but Smith has been pretty steady, so I understand the desire to keep giving him the starts. I expect we'll see a bit more Barbs as the season really cranks into gear over the next few weeks.

Mike Smith Can we say enough good things about Smith's play thus far. Other than the first game of the year, he has looked phenomenal in net. His only regulation loss since the disaster in San Jose came in a 2-0 shutout to LA where Jonathan Quick simply stole 2 points for the Kings. Smith still is working out the kinks of working with new defensemen as a puck-handling goalie, but that will come with time. 2.57 GAA, .919 save percentage - yeah, that works.


Adrian Aucoin Oakie is playing his normal solid defensively-minded way, and is a +4 playing almost 20 minutes per game. I love the job he is doing mentoring OEL and although he only has a single assist on the season, that's just not his job here. I'd like to see him fire a few more from the point, but Oakie is what I expect him to be.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Two goal night in the home opener against Winnipeg, and a new brand of physicality that seems to come directly from the Aucoin bag of tricks. I love his intensity out there right now and his pure offensive skills are coming to the fore as well. It's clear that Tip has seen what he needs to and OEL has responded to what he was asked to improve last year. I expect big things.
Rostislav Klesla Rusty has probably been one of the more consistent players on the team, playing that similar game to Aucoin, but with a bit more offensive jump than I've seen from Oakie so far. Not sure there is any D-man I want to see more on an odd man rush. Although his normal partner is still on the shelf, he's playing really well with Schlemko in the interim.
Derek Morris
Morris continues to struggle as he is a team worst -8 through the first ten games. His play has improved a bit as he had his first point of the season in the last game against LA. Whether he is catching his stride remains to be seen, but the Coyotes need him to keep picking up his game or it might be DMo getting a night or two off once Roszy comes back.
Michal Rozsival Still on IR, there has been little news from the Coyotes regarding the injuries to Rozsival, although I believe he has resumed skating and the team did send Summers back to Portland implying his return could be imminent.
David Schlemko Quite frankly, Schlem might just be the defenseman playing the best right now for the Coyotes. He has a goal and 4 assists, is +6 and is playing almost 19 minutes per game. I'm not entirely sure that he will be the odd man out when Rozsival returns. The highest compliment I can give him--I've confused him for Yandle on the ice with some of his jumps into the play...yeah, he's been that good.
Chris Summers Well, he got called up, but that's about where it ends as he didn't crack the lineup mostly because of Schlemko's solid play and no other injuries (knocks on wood). So he's back in Portland, but clearly he'll be back if/when someone goes down.
Keith Yandle Well, Yandle isn't exactly slacking as he has 7 points through the first 10 games, but he is a -5 through those games. Now, part of this is that DMo isn't helping him out much--let's not forget that Yandle's forte is not the defensive part of the game. I'd be curious to see where Yandle's numbers went if he was paired with Aucoin,  Rozsival or Klesla for a little while, but I'm not gonna hold my breath for that.


Paul Bissonnette Other than Biz calling me out on Twitter for criticizing a penalty he took in the win against Nashville, it's been pretty quiet from BizNasty this year. He hasn't been bad when he's been on the ice, but he hasn't been great either. He's only getting 6 minutes of ice time per game in the six games he's dressed for, so it will be interesting to see if those numbers go up. Had his first fight of the year against LA's Westgarth and did pretty well for himself.
Mikkel Boedker Boedker's been bouncing around a bit on various lines as he got some time with Hanzal and Vrbata, but is more recently seeing third line ice time. While he is playing well, he hasn't been able to find the score sheet as much as I'm sure the team would like. I think given a consistent grouping, we'll see Boedker get more settled and start finding the back of the net more.
Shane Doan 10 points through the first 10 games; 300th career NHL goal, playing over 20 minutes per game. Doan's a notoriously slow starter, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Just unbelievable play from Captain Coyote early in the year.

Boyd Gordon Gordon has come as advertised--a bit of offensive ability (1g, 2 a), solid defensive play (+5) and outstanding faceoff numbers (59.5%). Sounds about exactly what I was expecting from Gordon.
Martin Hanzal Hanzal has picked up his play recently with three multi-point games over the past week. He has continued his solid defensive play that has become expected at this point and is clicking again with Vrbata to nobody's surprise.
Lauri Korpikoski As with Boedker, I think Korps has been hurt by getting bumped a bit from line to line. He has shown flashes of the play that saw him break out last year, but it hasn't been consistent this year. When he's using his speed to get around the edges he is at his best, and I've seen more of that over the past few games than I had been seeing, so I think the offense is on the way.
Daymond Langkow Despite seeming to be a bit snake-bitten out there after missing a few wide open net opportunities, Langkow has quietly had a very solid first 10 games with 2 goals and 5 assists. I rarely notice Langkow out of position and his ability to fit in on any line has been a big boon for Tippett as he seems to double shift Langkow fairly often, spelling some of his third and fourth liners while still rotating in wingers throughout.
Andy Miele Miele has been a treat to watch. He hasn't gotten on the score sheet yet, but he's come pretty close a few times. What I like is that everytime he hits the ice, the team seems to start to make something happen. He still needs to learn to use his size to his advantage and find the soft spots in the defense, but I expect to see his play continue to improve as he gets more ice time.
Cal O'Reilly The new guy is still nursing an injury so we haven't seen him out there yet, but I'm intrigued to see how he'll fit in on the team and expect good things.
Patrick O'Sullivan POS has been dressed for half the games, but more recently since Miele was recalled. He scored his first goal of the year on a fluky play against New Jersey, but they all look like blasts from the slot on the scoresheet. I've liked what I've seen from POS, but haven't seen enough to make any long term judgments.
Taylor Pyatt
Let's throw Pyatt in the group with Boedker and Korps as guys suffering from lack of consistency. I don't know anymore what Tippett is looking for with Pyatt, but I don't think he's being used to his best ability (and I said I won't discuss Colorado, but it should be noted that he scored the exact type of goal that he is good at scoring last night while playing with Boedker and Gordon - I like that unit, so maybe we'll see more of them in future games).
Raffi Torres It's a shame that the only thing anyone is going to discuss when it comes to Torres is going to be his now infamous Halloween costume. Torres hasn't been spectacular, but he's scored a few nice goals, delivered a few big hits and has almost been able to avoid taking the really bad penalties (the interference call against LA was brutally bad though).
Kyle Turris
There's been no good news on this front and we know that Kyle wants out and GMDM doesn't want to (and shouldn't) budge on his position. Not sure that Kyle will ever sign or that he'd be terribly well received if he did, but there's still tons of potential in Turris if he ever gets his head out of his ass.
Radim Vrbata Vrby went through a pretty long goal drought and then had two goals and a few near misses against LA and an assist on the game winner in OT. Nothing to complain about from Vrbata and hopefully he continues to shoot because that is clearly when he is at his best.
Ray Whitney I just don't know what to say about Whitney any more. He's leading the team in scoring with 5 goals and 5 assists, including 2 PPG and 2 PPA despite being the oldest player on the team at 39 years young. Since moving to the line with Hanzal and Vrbata, their play has improved and before that he was making the Doan-Langkow line click. There's just no way to underscore what he brings to this team.