Sunday, February 1, 2009

Injury Bug Taking Bite Out of the Coyotes

Last season the Coyotes were fortunate enough to have little to no injuries. This year however has been a different story. The Coyotes currently have four players on the injured list. These players are Viktor Tikhonov (Hand), Peter Mueller (Concussion), Steve Reinprecht (Shoulder), and Kurt Sauer (Lower Body).

Viktor Tikhonov suffered a hand injury on January 8th and hasn’t played since. He is expected to be back in the lineup within a week. Tikhonov has been a great suprise defensively for the Coyotes this season.

When he was in the lineup he was one of the Coyotes top penalty killers. Since he has been out the lineup the Coyotes penalty kill has started to fall off a bit. They currently have the 20th ranked penalty kill in the league. Expect that to rise with the return of Viktor Tikhonov.

Peter Mueller suffered his first notable injury in the NHL when he was forced to leave a game on January 27th against the Anaheim Ducks with a minor concussion.

He is expected to be back very soon. The Coyotes hope he can come back as soon as possible as his presence can only help the league's second worst powerplay.

The first diagnosis of Steven Reinprecht’s injured shoulder had him out for 4 -12 weeks. His status has since been updated to two weeks on the injured list. The two weeks that he will be out are still going to be a tough couple weeks for the Coyotes.

Reinprecht has been one of the Coyotes' best player’s this season. He currently ranks fourth on the Coyotes with 28 points. Not to mention Reinprecht is one of a few veteran leaders the Coyotes have in the locker room.

The most significant injury to the Coyotes so far this season is to that of defenseman Kurt Sauer. Sauer has been out since January 10th but is expected to be back in the lineup in the next couple weeks. When Sauer was in the Coyotes lineup he played huge minutes and was responsible for shutting down some of the league’s top players.

In replacement of Sauer, both David Hale and Keith Yandle were given permanent spots on the Coyotes blue line. While Yandle has stepped up his game both offensively and defensively, Hale has been prone to making some costly defensive mistakes.

The Coyotes defensive group isn’t very deep to begin with so getting a healthy Kurt Sauer back will give much more depth to the Coyotes blue line.

The Coyotes have been patient throughout all of the injuries this season and that’s what they will continue to do. Players like Joel Perrault and Alexander Nikulin have come into the lineup and contributed what they can. The Coyotes should have all their players back in time for the stretch run. At the end of that run could be their first playoff appearance in seven years.


MJ Kasprzak said...

Good to see you post. The Yotes have to be a bit better to hold off those pesky Stars--both of you will not make the playoffs.

Cameron Paul said...

The Coyotes badly need a goal right now.