The Phoenix Coyotes are among the more pleasantly surprising teams in the NHL this season. They’ve really come on strong as of late and have managed to tie the San Jose Sharks for second place in the ridiculous Pacific Division. Phoenix may be bumping into some untimely bumps and bruises early on though.
Morris & Vrbata both skated today but left the ice early. Tippett wants to assess them after Sat. morning’s skate before the Capitals game.
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) November 8, 2013
Derek Morris and Radim Vrbata have been two very important fixtures for the Desert Dogs thus far, and having either one of them at anything less than 100% isn’t a particularly good thing for Phoenix.
Varbata left Wednesday’s contest against the Anaheim Ducks with a lower-body injury after taking only five shifts in the second period. While the exact nature of his injury isn’t known and it doesn’t appear to be anything too serious, Vrbata is a criminally underrated offensive threat for the Coyotes and an important member of an attack that isn’t alarmingly deep.
He needs to be ready to go sooner rather than later, as replacing him internally could cause some jams in Phoenix’s lineup.
On the blue line, Derek Morris was forced to leave early one night prior to Vrbata when the ‘Yotes were playing the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday evening. He’s been a revelation for Phoenix and is producing an awesome amount of offense. No team in the NHL is receiving more goals from the back end than the Coyotes, and Morris has been a part of that trend.
Prior to only playing for 3:05 against Vancouver, Morris had posted ten points in his first 15 games.
With David Schlemko and Jeff Halpern just returning for the Coyotes as well, Phoenix could suddenly be icing a pretty beat up hockey club moving forward. The team will need to collectively step up for the dinged up players to continue its torrid pace in the Pacific Division race.