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Phoenix Coyotes Ups and Downs: March 9 Edition

The Coyotes have been the walking wounded recently... (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Coyotes have been the walking wounded recently... (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Here is a new weekly feature here at Five For Howling. We are to take a weekly look at individual Phoenix Coyotes' ups and downs. Basically we'll summarize some stats, some performance issues and give our view on how the player has trended over the current week. Tell us how we screwed the pooch in the comments.

Join us after the jump as we go player-by-player and see who's up, who's down and who's simply holding steady.

And here we go:

Goalies Trend Notes
Ilya Bryzgalov Allowing four goals in back-to-back action against the Red Wings and Canucks may not be his best work, but he has been solid against tough competition and shows signs of rebounding after a few poor performances in Tampa Bay and Columbus. His strong efforts against Dallas and Los Angeles, unfortunately, went unrewarded with the team losing these tough affairs.
Jason LaBarbera I know Jason isn't really injured, but he hasn't actually seen any action since he was the whipping boy in that dismal Tampa Bay game. His most noteworthy action, therefore, was getting his bell rung during warm-ups by Doan. He was also nearly killed while on the bench Saturday night when a Detroit player fired one hard into the Coyotes bench right at him.
Adrian Aucoin Not much going on for Oakie, as he's been his steady self over the past week tallying just a single assist during that span while being completely even in +/-. He had a rough goal against during the Vancouver game where his clear went off of a Sedin's foot and in the net, but Aucoin has been a steady, and generally healthy, part of the Coyotes defense all year and this week was no different.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson It's still not entirely clear to me why OEL is with the NHL squad given Coach Tippett's obvious distrust of using him throughout games. Getting his first game action last night against the Canucks, OEL still saw less than 12 minutes of ice time, despite Klesla getting injured early in the second period. The raw tools are there, and he still reminds me of Yandle in his rookie season - perhaps it would be best for him to have spent more of this season learning the North American style of game with the Rampage though.
Ed Jovanovski Apparently, Jovocop has resumed skating after suffering his 20th (I exaggerate) injury of the season. It's been a rough year for Jovo, but with the defensive injuries piling up, Jovo's return would be a huge boon for this team.
Rostislav Klesla Klesla has been a fairly reliable defensive defenseman since being acquired at the trade deadline, which is exactly why the Coyotes grabbed him. He scored a pretty goal against Dallas in his first game with the team, and almost duplicated the feat to tie the game in Los Angeles, but was stoned by Jonathan Bernier. Unfortunately, Klesla took a nasty shot to the face last night and the Coyotes have him listed as day-to-day and have recalled Chris Summers from San Antonio.
Derek Morris And yet another Coyotes d-man with an injury, are we sensing a trend all to itself. Not entirely sure what happened to DMo, but he left at the end of the second period against Detroit and has not been back, he's day-to-day. It's been a frustrating season for DMo and I think he's probably been playing through some nagging injuries, so maybe this time off will help him. He certainly still has the fire as was evidenced when he took 12 PIM at the very end of the Dallas game yelling at the refs.
Michal Rozsival Rozsival was another guy picked up to play solid defense for the Coyotes, and he's been able to do that. He added an assist against Vancouver on the Korpikoski goal which is always a plus from your defensive d-men. As he's gotten more comfortable with the Coyotes' system, he's seeing more ice time and playing better, especially recently when paired with fellow-Czech Klesla.
Kurt Sauer Obviously, Sauer hasn't played a single game this year, but I'm including him here just to remind everyone of how deep this defense could've been without all these injuries. Granted, if Sauer isn't sidelined this entire year, we may not have had the need to get Rozsival or Klesla. Injuries have been harsh to our D crew.
David Schlemko Schlemko has seen his ice time increase dramatically with all the injuries (almost 22 minutes against Vancouver last night), and he's been playing fairly well. His one glaring mistake this week was his handling of Darren Helm on Detroit's shorthanded goal at the end of the second period, but he is showing a knack for jumping in the play and making things happen. He needs to get better at choosing his spots, but that will come with time.
Keith Yandle Seems harsh to have our first down trend be the player that has been the team MVP thus far, but Yandle has gone pointless since his goal and assist against Chicago five games ago. Yandle was a driving force of the team's 8-game win streak and he leads the team in time-on-ice basically every game, so they need him to pick up his scoring pace again going forward.
Eric Belanger Last night's game was the best Belanger's had with the Desert Dogs, recording a goal and two assists, including that beautiful saucer pass to Korpi for the game-tying goal. Belanger has had a problem with taking some lazy penalties this year when he doesn't skate hard, but he's been doing better recently which has helped as he's seen more ice time recently paired with Doan, primarily.
Paul Bissonnette BizNasty has actually seen increased ice time when he gets into the lineup and played fairly well. He's never going to be a high scorer, but he is pretty good at what he does - big hits, energy, drawing penalties. He actually hasn't been fighting that much this year, but his presence in the lineup is deterrent for anyone who thinks about taking a run at one of the kids.
Mikkel Boedker During the stretch from the Philly game through the losing stretch, Boedker was regularly the best player on the ice for the Coyotes, which was one of the reasons Scottie Upshall became expendable for the team. He is getting stronger on the puck and using his speed to get into great positions to make plays (his goal against Detroit is evidence of that).
Shane Doan Doan's starting to look like the wrecking ball that he was at the end of last season. He's starting to shoot more, and we're seeing his productivity go up as well. That can only mean good things for the Coyotes.
Andrew Ebbett Ebbett's been palying really well with the Rampage, so with the rotating forward injuries from game to game, he was a logical call-up. Unfortunately, he's just been generally invisible on the ice and not really threatening anyone's ice time when the other forwards get healthy.
Vernon Fiddler When the Coyotes went into a little funk around the All-Star break, I attributed a lot of the issues to Fiddler being out of the lineup, missing his penalty killing prowess and defensively responsible play. Fiddy's been giving us some of that, although he was a -2 on the week (it's against the best competition most nights). It would be nice to see Fiddler get back on the score sheet as he hasn't had a goal since Valentine's Day.
Martin Hanzal Hanzal missed the Canucks game with a "lower body" injury and he is listed as day-to-day. He has had an offensive break out this year, playing more in front of the goalie to the tune of 16 goals (a career high) while continuing to be a defensively-dominant center. The Coyotes need him back in the lineup in a bad way.
Lauri Korpikoski Korpedo has had a nice season himself, but his pretty goal against Vancouver was his first in almost two weeks, and the Coyotes probably need him to pick it up and shoot the puck (on net) a bit more.
Brett MacLean MacLean is back with the big squad and getting some ice time with his AHL linemates Turris and Boedker. He has made some solid plays in the offensive zone and recorded 3 shots in each game against Detroit and Vancouver. Will need to improve his play in the defensive zone before he sees his ice time really ratchet up.
Taylor Pyatt Pyatt's another player like Yandle that was producing a lot during the winning streak, but has gone cold since (no points since the victory over the Flyers). He is still getting in front of the goalie and grinding well, but he's another guy that should be showing up on the score sheet at least a few times every week.
Lee Stempniak This isn't really reflective of the last week, where I think the Desert Ninja has been showing a bit more jump in his step and a couple of better scoring opportunities. No, Lee simply hasn't scored a goal since January 22, when he potted a pair against the Kings. The reason Stemps wasn't traded over Wolski is that he plays hard in both ends and that hasn't changed at all - it would be nice to see him light the lamp every now and again though as the team enters the stretch run.
Kyle Turris Turris' game against Detroit was his best effort since his 3-point game against Carolina earlier this year and his recent play has shown signs of why he was the #3 pick in the draft. He has an unbelievable release and as he gets more ice time, I think we'll see his productivity shoot up. His shot off the cross bar against Vancouver was off his stick ridiculously quick and Luongo had no chance to stop it whatsoever, if only it had been a few inches lower.
Radim Vrbata Vrby is having a typical Vrby year - he'll likely end with just over 20 goals and 45 points or thereabouts. He's been getting juggled around the lines a bit recently as Tippett figures out how to incorporate Boedker and MacLean while also dealing with injuries to Hanzal and Whitney, so Vrbata has been a bit off. I expect to see his production uptick as his usual linemates get healthy again.
Ray Whitney The Wizard has been nothing short of magical this season, and missing him against the Canucks certainly did nothing to help the Coyotes chances in that game. He simply makes the offense play better. He still needs to be looking to shoot a little more, but he made a sweet play in front of the net to score the goal against Detroit and the team is just not the same with him out of the lineup.