News and notes from Friday’s day off between Games 1 and 2. Phoenix leads the series 1-0. Both the Blackhawks and Coyotes held optional practices.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata, the 35-goal scorer for the Phoenix Coyotes, left Game 1 after just two shifts. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett called it an upper body injury and declared him day-to-day. His status for Game 2 won’t be known until Saturday.
Andrew Shaw was responsible for knocking him out of the game.
“He was coming down to pinch the puck in and I just kind of finished my check on him,” Shaw explained. “He went into the boards awkwardly.”
Shaw thought it looked like Vrbata hurt his shoulder.
Coyotes’ first goal:
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was sure the Coyotes got away with a too-many-men-on-the-ice situation shortly before their first goal on Thursday. Three players were on the ice near the Coyotes bench as the puck headed that way. Three more were deeper in the Hawks zone. Tippett claims defenseman Michal Rozsival touched the puck with two wingers around him changing.
“The two wingers that changed for each other, neither of those wingers touched the puck,” Tippett said on Friday. “One guy standing right beside the bench. If one of those wingers had touched the puck it would have been an automatic call.”
Quenneville didn’t quite agree.
“Everyone can look at it a different way,” he responded. “You still can’t play the puck.”
Tippett might come out the winner in this debate. Here is what part of the rule states:
“If in the course of making a substitution, either the player entering the game or the player retiring from the ice surface plays the puck with his stick, skates or hands or who checks or makes any physical contact with an opposing player while either the player entering the game or the retiring player is actually on the ice, then the infraction of ‘too many men on the ice’ will be called.”
Replays show Rozsival touching the puck but not the changing wingers.
Veterans on ice
O’Donnell finished minus-2, and was in the middle of the Coyotes first goal. At one point his stick broke and he tried to slide the puck to Corey Crawford or his defensive partner, Niklas Hjalmarsson.
“I just tried to get it over that way to Corey to freeze or [Hjalmarsson] to make a play with it,” O’Donnell said. “There was some confusion there. I had a broken stick… We were tired and they were on us pretty good and were able to get a good shot.”
“It’s never fun to have that,” O’Donnell said of being minus-2. “You never like to see it, and look in the mirror and judge how you played. But I think things went OK.”
Captains go to combat
The two captains each wear No. 19 and played on the 2010 Canadian Olympic team. It was only the day before the series started that Shane Doan spoke very highly of Jonathan Toews, saying he was even friendly with his family. That didn’t stop the two from battling in Game 1. Doan hit Toews hard several times and they barked at each other, but it never got personal.
“It’s never going to get any worse than that,” Toews said. “We both respect each other as players and as people. Him being the captain, there is kind of something where we’re drawn to each other.”
And what about wishing the family well?
“Maybe after the series,” Toews laughed. “Not much time for that right now.”
“We have some depth and five guys here that want to play as well so we’ll see.” -- Quenneville, on possible lineup changes for Game 2.
“It’s kind of nice to feel them out for a little bit in Game 1, for the rest of the series we know what to expect.” -- Kane on the Coyotes.
“Played a lot of minutes and handled the minutes well. Feels fine today. That was a big hurdle and a good test and hopefully he keep improving off those levels.” -- Quenneville, on Toews’ return to the lineup.
“We want to steal one and go home with a good feeling.” -- Toews.