Perhaps in a former life, Dave Scatchard was a U.S. Postal Service courier — because it seems nothing can keep him from his job.
Instead of having to overcome snow, rain, heat or gloom of night, the Coyotes forward has battled through a broken nose, the loss of his two front teeth and a severe leg cramp the past two seasons without missing a game.
“I’ve had a pretty healthy career so to speak and saved most of my surgeries for the summer time,” Scatchard said Monday. “So as long as I can play and get through the year, then I’ve got the summer to get everything fixed afterwards. I’m just happy that I’m going to get to play and keep playing.”
Scatchard’s leg injury occurred in the first period of Saturday’s game. At the time the Coyotes feared he might be out for at least a few games.
Instead Scatchard was back at practice Monday, skating as if the injury never occurred.
“I felt actually really, really good (Monday),” said Scatchard, who hurt his leg when he fell awkwardly into the boards but continued to play until early in the third. “I don’t know if a nerve got pinched in my leg or it was just the calf seizing up to protect it, but for whatever reason the third period, I couldn’t get through it. I iced it down the past two days, and it felt pretty good.”
Thinking Scatchard wouldn’t be able to play, Phoenix called up Josh Gratton from San Antonio of the American Hockey League. Coach Wayne Gretzky said Gratton would be in the lineup anyway.
Despite his team’s awful start, Gretzky said Phoenix’s 4-12 record has not curbed his enthusiasm for coaching.
“It’s not fun after games, but that’s the situation we’re in,” he said. “As coaches it becomes more and more apparent and more and more important (that) we’ve got to come into this room and we’ve got to show the things that we need to do to become better, things we need to do to correct. We need to be the energy people that move forward each and every day. . . . Nobody is liking that we’re 4-12, but it’s still a long way to go. If we continue to progress and get the effort that we did Saturday, we’re going to get better."
Wild at Coyotes
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Jobing.com Arena
TV: FSN Arizona
Radio: KDUS (1060 AM)
Line: Minnesota 160-180
Series history: Phoenix has lost the past two meetings with Minnesota but still leads 11-6-3-0 all time, including 6-3-1-0 at home.
Scouting report: Wild — After starting the season 6-0-0, Minnesota has stumbled of late, dropping four of six. The Wild are 3-4-0 on the road, including 1-2-0 on their current trip. Six of their victories have come in either overtime or a shootout. Minnesota has been without winger Marian Gaborik (groin) for the past nine games, and he isn’t expected back until next month. The Wild feature the league’s top penalty kill (92.2 percent) and the fifth-best power play (20.7 percent). Manny Fernandez (9-4-0, .928 save percentage) will start in goal.
Coyotes — Phoenix is coming off one of its best efforts of the season in a 2-1 loss to San Jose that dropped it to 3-6-0 at home. Winger Oleg Saprykin has an assist in three of the last four games. Jeremy Roenick, who has played an average of 18 minutes the last eight games, was given Monday off but is scheduled to be in tonight’s lineup. Defenseman Nick Boynton (bruised foot) didn’t practice and is day-to-day. Goalie Curtis Joseph, who has stopped 50 of 53 shots over the past two games, will get his third straight start.