Rookie forward Enver Lisin, who was reassigned to San Antonio of the AHL on Monday, decided Wednesday to return to his native Russia to play rather than report to the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate.
Because of his decision, Lisin was suspended by the Coyotes and will forfeit his salary as long as he stays away. Since there is no transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian hockey federation, Russian players are free to leave the NHL whenever they want even though they are under contract.
Lisin, 20, whose father visited last week, was feeling homesick, sources said.
One of the Coyotes’ top prospects, Lisin was the 50th pick in the 2004 draft. He had a goal and an assist in 17 games this season but was a minus-18 "We are very disappointed in Enver’s decision to not report to the San Antonio Rampage," general manager Mike Barnett said. "We fully expected him to honor his contract, thus we have no choice but to suspend him as a result of his actions. He has the tools to one day be an NHL player, but his defensive liabilities negated him from playing regularly at the NHL level at this time."
BREAK FOR CUJO
Curtis Joseph has appeared in 10 straight games for the Coyotes but with new backup Mikael Tellqvist having joined the team Wednesday, Joseph will soon be getting some days off.
“(Tellqvist) is going to get in relatively quick because we’ve got a lot of hockey games coming up,” coach Wayne Gretzky said.
Starting Monday, the Coyotes play eight games in 12 days.
Gretzky said Joseph would play today and Monday and Tellqvist, who has 40 games of NHL experience, would get an opportunity after that.
While the Coyotes had conversations regarding several other goalies over the past few weeks, Gretzky said they never got close to making any other deals.
“This scenario works out the best for us,” he said. “We get a guy that’s played at the NHL level. . . . So we’re getting a guy that’s kind of proven. . . .
“All the other avenues we explored were either a guy that was really high up there that we weren’t prepared to move some guys (in return) or the other guys were young guys that were playing at the American League level.”
With goalie David LeNeveu having been reassigned to San Antonio on Tuesday, Mike Morrison was sent down to the RoadRunners (ECHL) on Wednesday. Morrison (0-1-0 with an 11.01 goals-against average and .732 save percentage in two games for San Antonio) began the season as the Coyotes’ No. 2 goalie. . . . Gretzky said he spoke with Ladislav Nagy on Tuesday and the two “cleared the air” regarding Nagy’s benching Saturday.
Kings at Coyotes
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Jobing.com Arena
TV: o FSN Arizona
Radio: o KDUS (1060 AM)
Records: o Los Angeles 9-13-4, Phoenix 8-15-0
Line: o Phoenix 120-140
Series history: Phoenix has lost two of three meetings this season but leads 76-58-25-2 overall and 43-27-11-1 at home.
Kings — Los Angeles topped New Jersey in a shootout on Monday for their second straight victory. The Kings are 5-4-1 in their last 10 but just 2-8 on the road. Left wing Alexander Frolov leads the team in goals (14) and points (24). Center Anze Kopitar, who has two goals and two assists in three games vs. Phoenix, leads all rookies in points (23) and assists (17).
Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky (groin) is day-to-day , while defenseman Brent Sopel (broken ankle) and center Alyn McCauley (knee) are sidelined indefinitely.
Coyotes — After a dreadful start, Phoenix is showing some signs of improvement. The Coyotes are 5-5 in their last 10, 4-3 in their last seven and have won three straight at home. Center Yanic Perreault continues to be the team’s best signing with seven goals and 10 points in 11 games. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski has five points in the past four games. Forward Georges Laraque will wear a microphone for TV during tonight’s game.