The Coyotes will have four assistant captains this season, two at home and two on the road, coach Wayne Gretzky said Thursday. Mike Ricci and Derek Morris will wear the "A" on their jerseys for home games, and Brett Hull and Sean O’Donnell will do likewise on the road.
"I think it’s good to have the leadership we have here. We have some nice veteran players and some good leaders," Gretzky said. "The more guys I can have leading by example, having the ‘As’ on and ‘C’ is good for the team. "We did it with Team Canada. It’s a nice system, you get more guys involved." Shane Doan remains the captain.
Phoenix announced its 20-man rosters for its first two preseason contests and only goalie David LeNeveu and forwards Martin Podlesak, Jeff Taffe and Krys Kolanos were made available for both.
"Those are some young guys who played a little bit more hockey last year, so they’re a little bit more advanced at this stage of the process as far as physical fitness goes," said Gretzky, who will watch both games from upstairs. "Plus, they’re young and we want to give them an opportunity to play. There’s not too much to read into it."
Those who aren’t on the rosters for the first two games will make their debuts Tuesday.
Gretzky and his staff will have a chance to look at 36 different players in game situations and the basic system they started to install Thursday.
"We’re just trying to establish our forecheck in the offensive zone and the neutral zone," Gretzky said. "We’re trying to lay down the foundation of what we want to do as far as the first, second and third attacker, where they’re going to go and what we want them to do. . . .
"We haven’t worked on penalty killing or power play yet. That will come in time."
The Coyotes reduced their training camp roster by assigning five players to their respective junior clubs and sending goalie Dov Grumet-Morris to San Antonio of the AHL for training camp with the Rampage. Centers Aaron Gagnon and Olivier Latendresse, goalie Pier-Olivier Pelletier and defensemen Logan Stephenson and Keith Yandle are headed to their junior teams. Phoenix now has 44 players in camp. . . . The shootout will be used in all preseason games.
Coyotes scheduled to play in tonight’s
Jeff Taffe Mike Ricci Boyd Devereaux Martin Podlesak Krys Kolanos Shane Doan Oleg Saprykin Mike Comrie Mike Johnson Ladislav Nagy Petr Nedved Jason Chimera
Chris McAllister Derek Morris Matthew Spiller Paul Mara Sean O’Donnell Denis Gauthier
Brian Boucher David LeNeveu