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     And it’s great to kick it off No. 1.”
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linhui95
Posted on: 2018-10-11 17:09
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Joined: 2018-4-13
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And it’s great to kick it off No. 1.”
GLENDALE Authentic Adam Boqvist Jersey , Ariz. (AP) — Every team enters training camp with optimism. The slate is clean, no losses to tarnish the outlook, every NHL team starting at the same place.

A year ago, the Arizona Coyotes had the extra boost of playing under a new coach, system and overhauled roster, yet it didn’t work out.

Heading into the start of this year’s training camp Thursday, the Coyotes have a dash of expectations to go with the optimism.

They know what coach Rick Tocchet expects and his system. They have a boost of confidence after closing last season with a flourish. They locked down a key player to a long-term contract, named him captain and made a series of offseason moves that should boost scoring.

After six rebuilding seasons, this may finally be the season the Coyotes trend upward from the bottom of the NHL standings.

“Everything that we’re doing in terms of developing a fan base, putting the right people in place, the right coach, the right infrastructure, the right players, we really see this as a sleeping giant,” Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen said. “I think that’s starting to resonate with people. The last part of the season we really saw the steps we were taking moving forward.”

The Coyotes went into last season with a new-look roster after making major offseason moves and hiring a new coach in Tocchet, who won a pair of Stanley Cup titles as an assistant at Pittsburgh.

The optimism washed away like a desert flash flood as the Coyotes lost their first 10 games and were 9-26 through the end of December.

Some of it was adjusting to a new coach and new system. Youth also played a role. In preparing his players for the future, Tocchet put the young guys in tight spots early in the season and they didn’t initially handle it well. The Coyotes repeatedly gave up goals right after scoring and had trouble holding onto leads, often losing in the last five or six minutes of games.

But as the season wore on, Tocchet’s put-them-to-the-fire tactic paid off. Arizona’s defense tightened up and the Coyotes started winning those close games, finishing the season 17-9-3. They were still last in the Pacific Division, but the late run showed the potential of this young team and boosted their confidence heading into this season.

“Obviously, the last half of the season, everybody’s excited about that,” Tocchet said. “Can you use last year’s success? Yeah, it helps, but we still picked fifth in the draft so we still have a long way to go.”

The Coyotes took steps this offseason to speed up that process.

One was to lock up defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the next eight years.

A four-time All-Star Womens Saquon Barkley Jersey , Ekman-Larsson has taken on more of a leadership role since Shane Doan’s retirement prior to last season and is still one of the NHL’s most skilled defensemen. On Thursday, the Coyotes named him captain, the first to wear the “C” since Doan retired.

Signing Ekman-Larsson to a deal that averages $8.25 million per year gives the Coyotes stability at the blue line and for the future.

“There’s a responsibility that he wants to lead this team into the next level,” Tocchet said. “He’s also a quality person. Everyone looks at him as a hockey player, but he’s a quality person. You want quality people in the room who care and it obviously adds to your chance at success.”

So should the additions general manager John Chayka made during the offseason.

The Coyotes were busy this summer, trading Max Domi to Montreal for Alex Galchenyuk and adding speedy winger Michael Grabner, among other deals.

The 24-year-old Galchenyuk scored 30 goals three seasons ago and has at least 44 points each of the past four seasons. The 30-year-old Grabner has scored 27 goals each of the past three seasons — with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils — and has a 34-goal season on his resume.

Scoring has always been a problem for the Coyotes, so they could use the boost.

“There’s balance of scoring. If you go down the list, you go, ‘Oh jeez, this guy can score 18 or this guy can score 24,'” Tocchet said. “If you look up and down the lineup, there are guys with the potential to score these amount of goals. And when you add it all up, is there enough goals to win? Yeah, I think so.”

__

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said the ”overwhelming likelihood” is that the team will keep its No. 1 overall pick and not trade it away.

McDonough made the comment Friday after the first of what will be many pre-draft workouts of players on the Suns’ practice court.

The leading candidates for that No. 1 almost certainly will be worked out privately, with the exception of Luka Doncic, the European sensation who still is playing in Spain.

”Obviously the agents have a lot of say,” McDonough said. ”They have a strong voice in the process. They’re worried about injuries, which we understand is part of it. So we’d love them to come in and compete against the other top guys at their position. I think for the guys in the mix at No. 1 that’s going to be tough for us to put together.”

The Suns won the lottery for the first No. 1 pick in the franchise’s 50-year history. In the days that followed, McDonough said the team would be open to trading that pick. But that seemed less likely when he described the criteria such a deal would have to entail.

”It would have to be a young, proven star player with multiple years on his contract, multiple years of team control,” McDonough said. ”Once you start whittling down the list, that list probably shrinks to a handful of players if not fewer players than that. So I think the overwhelming likelihood is that we keep the pick. However, we’re open, if those teams call us or we call them. But as of now obviously we’re planning on keeping it.”

McDonough insists there are a few players in the mix Justin Tucker Jersey , but the names at the top according to most observers are Doncic and Arizona’s Deandre Ayton.

Born and raised in the Bahamas, the 7-foot-1 Ayton played his one college season just down Interstate 10 at the University of Arizona, where he averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

McDonough said he believes questions about Ayton’s defense stem from the fact he had to play alongside another 7-footer, Dusan Ristic, in college.

”So he was guarding away from the basket on the perimeter,” McDonough said. ”In the NBA, obviously, he’s a center. He’s a five. He slides well. He moves his feet well. He’s a tremendous athlete in terms of strength, fluidity, coordination, all of that.”

McDonough said Ayton ”has a high-level feel for the game, especially on the offensive end of the court. And from my experience guys who have that at the offensive end of the floor usually, in time, are able to translate that to the defensive end of the court as well.”

McDonough said he plans to try to get to Europe one more time to see Doncic.

”We’ve seen him play a lot,” McDonough said. ”I’ve personally seen him four or five times in the last seven or eight months, (assistant general manager) Pat Connelly’s seen him. Igor’s seen him more than anybody.”

New Suns coach Igor Kokoskov coached Doncic on the Slovenian national team that won the European championship last year.

McDonough was asked about the observation that Doncic lacks high-level athleticism. But the Suns GM noted that the young European guard is ”really, really big” – 6-foot-6 and weighs 218 pounds.

”Because he’s so skilled at that size and has such a good feel, I think you don’t realize on tape how big he is,” McDonough said. ”He’s able to jab and create his own shot. He’s able to lower his shoulder and create space to overpower defenders. He’s adept at getting to the free throw line. I don’t have any concerns with him physically.”

On Friday, the Suns worked out a group of guards, most of them four-year college players. They included Tra Holder from Arizona State.

The Suns also have the No. 16 pick overall in the draft and, in the second round, Nos. 30 and 59.

But that No. 1 pick is the big one, something neither the Suns nor McDonough have dealt with before.

”I think there are some drafts that you prefer not to have the No. 1 pick just because there isn’t a player worthy of that,” he said. ”I think in some ways you’re set up to fail in that scenario. This year we feel the opposite. We feel there are four or five players who in normal drafts would be in the mix for No. 1 if not be the No. 1 pick.

”We view that as a good problem to have. It’s a really talented draft. I think this will be one that you look back on historically and say that was one of the better drafts in the last decade. And it’s great to kick it off No. 1.”




cruzjohn
Posted on: 2018-10-11 20:39
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Joined: 2018-10-11
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Re: And it’s great to kick it off No. 1.”
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