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Phoenix Coyotes Ups and Downs: Down The Stretch They Come

With three fourths of the season in the books, it's time for our quarterly look at the Phoenix Coyotes players individually and how they are trending.


Remember, this isn't necessarily the best and worst, but trying to track how the play has improved, declined, or been about the same through the last 12 games or thereabouts. Over the third quarter of the season, the Phoenix Coyotes have not gotten the best results, compiling a record of 4-5-3, with a seven game losing streak jammed in the middle. Generally, a record like that isn't conducive to high grades, but the play from the team hasn't actually been terrible through much of the quarter.

Let's take a look....

Goalies Trend Notes
Chad Johnson Smitty is back on IR, and Johnson is back with the Coyotes, but Barbs is shouldering the load for now. With Smith's return seeming imminent, and Barbs coming off a really solid game against LA, Tres Uno might not see the ice again until he is back in Maine.
Jason LaBarbera Barbs has been seeing plenty of ice time recently, and despite a few tough luck losses against Detroit and Vancouver, he has been earning the Coyotes points in his last 4 starts, including an impressive 39 save performance against the Kings. Hard to complain about his .927 save percentage over the quarter.

Mike Smith Smith started the stretch with two strong wins against Dallas and LA, before the ugly four game road trip where the team forgot to score goals. Smith actually had a shutout in Columbus, despite losing the shootout when Sergei Brobovsky matched him across the ice. He was playing well against Vancouver as well before the two collisions with Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler put him on the shelf for the past few weeks.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

It's hard to say OEL is trending down as he continues to be generally one of the best players on the ice in any given day, but with only 3 points over his past 12 games (all assists), and a -2 rating, he isn't producing at the pace that the Coyotes are looking for him to produce. He is still fourth on the team in points, but some more shots on net would be even awesome-ier.
Rostislav Klesla Has a positive rating (+1) over the quarter, and had an amazing game in Nashville where he tallied a career high 4 assists (all in the first period). Other than that, he had just one other assist in the quarter. He's Kles, he's steady, and gets the job done; nothing flashy.
Zbynek Michalek Z only played the one game this quarter against Dallas where he blocked 8 shots. In that game he cracked a bone in his foot and has been struggling to get back into the lineup.
Derek Morris DMo, like Klesla has been holding down the back end very well this season and gets little credit. He still commits the occasional awful turnover, but he is the most physical Coyotes defender and he manages to not take too many penalties despite playing that type of game. Over the quarter, just 3 assists, and a -3 rating, so pretty much meh.
David Schlemko Schlemko took a little while to round into form (taking a number of penalties his first game back and slowly working up his ice time), but he's been playing better and better recently and had a couple of assists over the past week. He plays a solid, simple game and can play in all facets (PK, PP, etc.).
David Rundblad Trade bait? I'm writing this 12 hours before the deadline, and i would not be shocked if Rundblad was no longer a Coyote when this gets posted.
Michael Stone He has pretty much locked down the 6th d spot for the time being with the injury to Z, and he's been adequate there (own goal on the deflection against LA notwithstanding). He had a HUGE go-ahead goal in the Minny game that started the current games with points streak for the Coyotes.
Chris Summers With Stone locking in the 6th D spot, Summers has been in Portland all quarter.
Keith Yandle For all of his naysayers, he has been getting the job done for the most part. He's tied for the team lead in scoring, and his 2-goal game against LA demonstrated how important he can be to this team's success. Over the quarter, he had 3G, 4A, and was a +2.

Paul Bissonnette BizNasty had fewer minutes this quarter than OEL sees most games, appearing in only 4 games for under 25 minutes. He had an assist, was even, and recorded 9 penalty minutes - pretty busy and in line with his role.
Mikkel Boedker Still waiting for him to grab the reins and get his scoring up to the level that he seems capable of for short stretches. He has a bit of a problem getting clean shots off when he is in position, but he creates tons of chances when he is on the ice. For the quarter, only a pair of goals and 3 assists and the team needs him to produce more down the stretch.
Alexandre Bolduc Still with the Pirates, probably should remove him here...but I'm too lazy.
Kyle Chipchura I still like what he brings to the team, but his production has slipped significantly with his only two points of the quarter, both assists, coming in the last game against the Kings. His line generally helps generate offensive chances, but right now the team needs goals.
Shane Doan Had quite possibly the greatest game of his career in the second loss in LA when he scored a pair of goals while registering 13 hits and 11 shots on net. He has taken over the team lead in goals and is leading this team by his strength of will and determined play on the ice. If the Coyotes don't make the playoffs, it will not be because of a lack of leadership.

Boyd Gordon Boyd scored his first goal last week, and enjoyed it so much, he scored a second goal as well. He's still winning faceoffs at an insane rate and blocking a ton of shots, so adding points is just icing on the cake for him.
Martin Hanzal Marty has been decent, doing what he needs to defensively and chipping in the occasional goal and point. He needs to be more consistent getting in front of the net to score those rebound type goals and create havoc with his size. Having Vrby back in the line-up should only help his play improve down the stretch, as he had only 2G, 3A on the quarter.
Nick Johnson Sent back down to Portland but may be back if injuries or trades happen.
Rob Klinkhammer I'm not sure if there's a player that's excited the fanbase this much in a limited time period since Lee Stempniak a few years back. Der Colonel is scoring goals, setting up goals, laying the big hits, and forechecking like crazy. He is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his 8 points over the past quarter (4G, 4A), and his current 5 game point-scoring streak.
Lauri Korpikoski Out with the mysterious upper body injury, Korpi has been out of the line up since the Detroit game where he failed to convert a late penalty shot opportunity that would have tied the game. He's pointless in his last 11 games and when he gets back, he really needs to start finding his scoring touch again.
Matthew Lombardi Two goals in his last three games helps make up for the scoreless 8 before that. He suffered a minor injury in the midst of this quarter, but he seems to be finding his stride. hopefully the offense will continue.

Andy Miele
Again, trade bait?
David Moss He is very quietly having a pretty good season on a checking line, killing penalties, and bringing energy. Right now, his unit with Klinkhammer and Gordon is probably the best on the team. He had a goal and 5 assists over the quarter and has 17 points on the season believe it or not.
Steve Sullivan Congrats on 1000 games and all, but 1 point over the quarter and dwindling ice time and demoted from the top unit. That about sums it up.
Raffi Torres Raffi only scored points against LA this quarter with 1G, 4A. I know we've lamented that the playoffs would have been different (maybe) with Torres in the line up, but there's no reason he shouldn't be able to score against other teams as well - they could use it.
Antoine Vermette Needs to get over this constant snake bitten thing he has going - only 2G, 1A over the past quarter. Like Gordon, he does the defensive things very well, but the Coyotes are expecting (and needing) much more offense from Vermette.
Radim Vrbata Vrby missed the first 5 games of the quarter, but since then he has 3G and 3A. We've said he is the cog that gets the offense going in the past and he's been doing his job recently by also directing lots of shots on net. Coyotes need to keep him going over the final quarter to have any shot at making the postseason.