Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Coyotes place Zbynek Michalek on IR to make room for Derek Morris

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Coyotes will attempt to keep up their recent winning ways without defenseman Zbynek Michalek in the lineup. Phoenix placed the criminally underrated defensive-defenseman on the IR today to make room for Derek Morris, who is ready to return after missing the team’s last five contests.

Both of the defensemen have been critical parts of Phoenix’s incredible level of success so far in the 2013-14 campaign. Morris has been all over the place, blocking shots, scoring goals and being just an all-around best on the back-end for the desert dogs. Michalek has been every bit as good, and if the Norris Trophy actually went to the league’s best defenseman (instead of the league’s best forward pretending to be a defenseman) he’d be seeing his name floating around as a contender.

He’s blocked 63 shots for the Coyotes and has been Mr. Dependable in his own end so far this season. Michalek has been on the shelf since November 14. The team hasn’t made an announcement yet about whether or not they’ll be recalling anyone to replace the injured Michalek .

Phoenix is clearly a more solid squad on the blueline when both Morris and Michalek are both going, but they’ve played the last few games without both of them. Getting Morris back is a nice bump, and the team will need all the help they can get with a tough string of games coming up against the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks.

Tags: Derek Morris NHL Phoenix Coyotes Zbynek Michalek

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