Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coyotes Adding Some Veteran Leadership?

For the last few years the Phoenix Coyotes have been all about young players and rebuilding. While developing young players is important a team needs veterans to help lead the youth of their team.
According to Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic and fan sightings at practice the Phoenix Coyotes have reached a contractual agreement with veteran center Robert Lang pending a physical. Lang is coming off an Achilles tendon injury suffered last season while playing for the Montreal Canadiens but it seems that he will be ready to go. Expect a formal announcement later from the Phoenix Coyotes.
Lang had 18 goals and 39 points in 50 games last season before being hurt. New York fans will remember when Robert Lang scored a hat trick at Madison Square Garden in January.
What does this do to the Coyotes? It adds a few things. First they get a great locker room veteran. Robert Lang is one of the best Czech players to ever lace them up in the NHL and he will be joining a team that already has a bit of a Czech flavor with Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal, Petr Prucha, and Zbynek Michalek all hailing from the eastern European nation. Having that sort of dynamic on and off the ice can really be a comforting factor for players.
Second is that Lang can still play. He has broken the 20 goal plateau seven times and the 30 goal plateau once. Obviously his main skill is in setting up players for goals and Phoenix has alot of talent on the wings. Players like Shane Doan, Mikkel Boedker, Peter Mueller, Petr Prucha, Scottie Upshall, and Radim Vrbata will benefit greatly from having a solid setup man like Robert Lang skating down the middle. Phoenix was sorely missing offense last season and a guy like Robert Lang can not only boost that with his own scoring abilities but by making others around him better.
This is a great signing if Lang passes his physical. The positive effects this will have both on and off the ice will only benefit the Coyotes as they try to get some wins and be competitive in the Western Conference. However let the Coyotes officially announce Lang's arrival.
In other NHL news the Chicago Blackhawks lost in the Victoria Cup to ZSC Zurich by a score of 2-1. The Lions were able to hold off Chicago in the third period as Zurich's goaltender Ari Sulander played outstanding. The Victoria Cup is out of the hands of the NHL until next season. The New York Rangers were the first winners of the Victoria Cup last season when they defeated Metallurg Magnitogorsk in a dramatic comeback.
Also the home opener for the Phoenix Coyotes is almost sold out. The entire lower bowl is sold and there are limited seats left in the upper bowl. Go out there and get them.

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