Three Phoenix Coyotes have a shot at a gold medal in the 2003 World Championships, and all three made significant contributions to Team Canada in Friday's 8-4 semifinal win over the Czech Republic in Helsinki, Finland.
Winger Shane Doan netted his third goal of the tournament on the power play to open the scoring and added an assist. Center Krys Kolanos had a pair of assists — setting up two goals for Atlanta sniper Dany Heatley, who recorded a hat trick for Canada.
Meanwhile goalie Sean Burke, who is undefeated in the tournament, shut out the Czechs until midway through the second period when he left with a minor groin strain. Coyotes officials who spoke with Canada representatives Friday said the injury isn't believed to be serious and Burke hopes to play in Sunday's gold medal game against Sweden, which upset the defending champion.
The Czechs promptly wiped out a 3-0 Canada lead with three quick goals against backup goalie Roberto Luongo, with ex-Coyote Robert Reichel getting the first. But Canada scored the next three goals to put the game away.
CANUCKS HURT COYOTES
When the Vancouver Canucks blew a 3-1 series lead — and a 2-0 lead at home in Game 7 — to the Minnesota Wild, the collapse wound up hurting the Coyotes as well.
If Vancouver had reached the Western Conference Finals, Phoenix would have received a low second-round draft pick for the trade deadline deal that sent Brad May to the Canucks — likely the 63rd or 64th overall selection, depending on the number of compensatory picks awarded around the league.
Now the pick will drop to a low third-round pick somewhere in the 80s, selection-wise. That really hurts Phoenix, because it doesn't have picks in the first round (to Philadelphia in the Daymond Langkow trade) or second round (to Florida for Brad Ference), and the Vancouver pick will be their first in what has been heralded as a deep and talented draft pool.
The Coyotes have until June 1 to sign their 2001 North American draft picks, or they will re-enter the June draft. Forwards Fredrik Sjostrom (11th overall) and Martin Podlesak (45th overall) are signed, but the Coyotes would like to reach terms with 6-foot-5, 230-pound defenseman Matthew Spiller (31st overall) and surprising left winger Frantisek Lukes (243rd overall) before the deadline.
“Discussions with both players are continuing and there is a chance we can get something done,'' assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said. “But there is also a chance we won't be able to sign them and they will go back. That's where it is right now.''
The 20-year-old Spiller figures to be a slam-dunk signing. He led the Western Hockey League with a plus-50 rating and had nine points in 15 playoff games with the Seattle Thunderbirds. He is the kind of big, physical specimen the Coyotes want on their blue line.
The 5-9 Lukes, who has offensive skills that remind many of former Coyote Daniel Briere, was a prolific scorer in the Ontario Hockey League, collecting 77 goals and 193 points in 186 games with Toronto St. Michaels. He led the team in goals (27), assists (46), points (73) and plus/minus (plus-30).