Kevin Fladell – howlinhockey.com
The Arizona Coyotes are finding success after the return of their spark-plug winger Max Domi.
It was a long and debilitating period for the Arizona Coyotes during Max Domi’s 23 game absence.
The high-flying Coyote injured his hand on December 8th 2016 during a fight against Garnet Hathaway of the Calgary Flames.
The injury resulted in surgery and that meant the Coyotes would be missing one of their best players in an already grueling season of ups and downs.
Ups and Downs
During Domi’s absence the Coyotes had a plethora of recalls and demotions.
As a fan, it appeared as if a lot of energy and excitement was lacking during that time. It seems management felt the same way and began to shake things up where appropriate.
Brendan Perlini (called up a few days before the injury), has added some nice flair to the Coyotes roster and has deservingly earned his spot as a key contributor in the lineup.
Christian Fischer and Anthony DeAngelo had flashes of success in their call ups to the NHL, but have since been sent back to Tucson to fine-tune their game and discipline.
To top off the struggle during Domi’s absence, the most heart wrenching demotion I have ever experienced as a Coyote fan occurred. Anthony Duclair was demoted to Tucson and the Coyotes were left without their dynamic duo from last season.
Kick me while I’m down why don’t you?
The Return of the Max
The return of Max Domi couldn’t have come at a better time.
With the after-shock of the Duclair demotion finally wearing off, Domi made his return to the lineup at home against the Chicago Blackhawks on February 2nd.
Since Domi’s return, the Coyotes are 4-2-1 in their last 7 games.
They’ve scored 25 goals in that time frame, a considerable step up from earlier in the season.
It took Domi a few games to get his wheels back, but he has 5 points in his past 5 games (1G-4A-5P).
There are little things Domi does on the ice to make his team better, not always measurable, but extremely valuable.
Here is an example where Domi sets a basketball-like screen to create separation for Radim Vrbata. Vrbata then gets the puck on net and Martin Hanzal does the rest.
Plays like this increase the Coyotes’ chances of maintaining puck possession, ultimately getting more shots on goal.
Turning the Corner
The Arizona Coyotes are starting to turn the corner with better play and have begun stringing together some great wins. I believe a huge reason for this is the return of Max. The guy is just an energizer bunny. He brings so much energy to the table. It’s absolutely contagious in the locker room and on the ice.
The Coyotes seem to have more heart and spirit when ‘Mad Max’ is involved.
Even if this isn’t true in the locker room, I know it’s true in my living room. Every time he touches the puck I am inadvertently standing up and yelling things at the television like I am watching my first hockey game all over again.
Hopefully, Duclair will get a nice reset in the AHL and come back to reunite the “Killer D’s” as well.
With that said, we are extremely lucky as Coyotes fans to see this much skill shining out of our young star. Once consistency kicks in, Domi will help lead this team to success and winning days in the desert.