The Coyotes returned to the ice for a game on Tuesday night, which was hosted by head coach André Tourigny.
He was tired of using the same gameplay video for educational purposes and was eager to talk about a game. The Coyotes only played two games between December 17 and January 3. While there was a Christmas break in between, the rest of the time was to practice for most of the players, get through the NHL COVID-19 protocol for a few others, and get some rest.
Five games have been postponed due to COVID-19 issues across the NHL in those two-plus weeks, and there could still be more rescheduled.
Tourigny has spent bonus time with his children, who are in town for a visit.
“I guess there is never a good timing for this kind of thing, but if there was one good thing, it was this one,” said Tourigny. “Having that kind of break when my kids were in town was a good time, I won’t lie.”
Over the past month, the Coyotes have had to adapt quickly because they were on the road and didn’t know how long they could schedule practices, with game decisions coming on shorter notice. But with earlier notice of the Dallas game being postponed to Jan. 2, there were extra days to practice and take New Years off.
“When you know you have the time you can plan accordingly. You always have things you want to work on, but getting it into the schedule is always a challenge,” Tourigny said. “Knowing the schedule helped us.
The Coyotes spent 10 days between games Dec. 17-28, and when they faced the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 28 in the Bay Area, the result was an 8-7 slugfest won by the Sharks in the shootout in overtime.
The Coyotes and Sharks were the 10th team in the NHL in the past 25 years to accumulate at least 15 goals.
“I know (Tuesday) get back to that pace and come back to the urgency of playing defensively and stuff like that will be a challenge,” Tourigny said, “but at the same time… we’ll have energy. leaving and looking forward to getting started now. “
Forward Lawson Crouse said the team have done everything in their power to stay mentally alert, while also taking advantage of the extra training time in the middle of the season that is usually not there.
“The tape liner, I guess, allowed my body to heal and regain a state of freshness, and it was nice,” Crouse said Monday. “But saying that, I think we’re all very excited to come back and play a game. It’s been a while.”
Crouse himself had to overcome COVID-19 and was able to leave protocol in time to score two goals and add two assists in San José.
Knowing that there are a handful of postponed games to catch up on at any given time, whether during the Olympic Winter Games calendar break or some other time, is on the minds of players, Crouse said, but he hopes not to miss any more.
Shott Memorial Wednesday
The Coyotes will host a Celebration of Life Wednesday for the team’s vice president of hockey development Matt Shott, who died Dec. 19 after a battle with cancer. The event will take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gila River Arena and is open to the public.
Guests can park in Lot G and enter the Gila River Arena at Gate 4 from 2:30 p.m. Seats will be available throughout the lower part of the arena. Participants are encouraged to wear sweaters.
For those who would like to donate in Shott’s honor to the Matt Shott Memorial Hockey Development Fund, please visit the Coyotes website. The funds will benefit the Coyotes’ Arizona youth hockey programs.