Coyotes Taper Off Training for Preseason
PHOENIX (AP) _ Even if there wasn’t much at stake during a week-long intrasquad competition at the Phoenix Coyotes’ first training camp, the play was intense.
``I thought Cliff Ronning had another solid day as far as the veterans are concerned,″ coach Don Hay said Wednesday when the Ronning-led Black team edged the White team by four points after 17 periods of play. ``I thought Mike Gartner started to heat it up a bit, and that’s what you’re looking for.
``Dave Manson had another good game. When the juices get flowing, the older guys really pick up the pace.″
Ronning, who had a goal and an assist, was focused even though the teams were playing for dinner and shirts with the new Coyotes’ logo.
``Regardless of whether you’re playing street hockey or cards or whatever, it’s always nicer to win,″ he said.
Reggie Savage led the White team with two goals, and defenseman Deron Quint had a goal and an assist.
The White won the first period Wednesday 2-0, the second period was scoreless, and the Black won the third 2-1 when Ronning sent the puck to Mike Stapleton for a 1-0 lead, then scored himself late in the period.
``This is the end of the little competitions,″ Hay said. ``We tried to make each period interesting, and it went right down to the wire. They competed hard. There was a lot of enthusiasm and desire, so I don’t think you could ask for more.″
Savage, who spent last season with Atlanta _ an International Hockey League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning _ and Syracuse of the American Hockey League, scored goals in the first and third periods.
``It’s a new organization again, and I think coming to a new organization, you’ve got to get noticed,″ Savage said. ``I don’t think they noticed me last year, so I’ve got to make sure they notice, and today was a big plus for me.″
The Coyotes have been practicing at Veterans Memorial Coliseum but will play their games in America West Arena. They leave Saturday for the exhibition opener Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
Defenseman Teppo Numminen, who played for Finland in the World Cup, skated for conditioning but did not take part in the scrimmage.
The Coyotes have four other players who haven’t practiced with the team because of the World Cup _ center Juha Ylonen of Finland, Russian goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, and Keith Tkachuk of Team USA.
Hay said he will take 28 players on the trip, which includes a game at Vancouver on Tuesday. Some will be World Cup veterans, but Hay hadn’t decided who they will be. All the teams are finished but Canada and the United States, which eliminated Russia on Sunday.
As for unsigned Igor Korolev, who played his first full NHL season last year while the team still was in Winnipeg, Coyotes co-owner Richard Burke predicted that ``he’ll sign, and we hope it’s before exhibitions. We don’t want him to miss any games.″
Korolev has said he’ll practice while talks continue, though he can’t play until signed, and hopes the deal is completed before the exhibitions.
Korolev’s agent, New-Jersey-based Mark Gandler, said Wednesday, however, that the Coyotes haven’t offered enough yet. ``I really can’t qualify it anymore than to say we’re not in agreement,″ Gandler said.
Also still unsigned and apparently far from an agreement was center Jeremy Roenick, obtained in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. ``We’re just waiting, and we’re in a good position to wait,″ Burke said.
Roenick, a four-time All-Star, reportedly is seeking a five-year contract worth between $4.5 million and $6 million per season after making $1.4 million last season. The Coyotes reportedly have offered a five-year, $18 million contract based partially on incentives.