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Phoenix Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov celebrate their club's 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. (Gene J. Puskar/Gene J. Puskar/AP)
Phoenix Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov celebrate their club's 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. (Gene J. Puskar/Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Weekly notebook

Maloney keeps the faith Add to ...

However, he was aware early on that he might need to make a coaching change and so began the due diligence fairly early in the summer, zeroing in on former Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett. Tippett had two years remaining on his contract after he was dismissed by the new management staff in Dallas and, as Maloney memorably stated at the press conference announcing his hiring, could have sat on his couch watching Oprah for the duration of his Dallas deal.

But Tippett wanted to get back in as soon as possible, and was willing to take a chance on the Coyotes, even with all the uncertainty surrounding the future of the franchise.

"Ideally, you'd like to have your coaching staff in place from day one, but really, you're talking about two weeks," said Maloney. "Adding Dave King - he's a wealth of knowledge. He's a great pick-up as far as I'm concerned, in terms of how we can pull together a little quicker.

"Dave Tippett, I talked to him a month before the announcement. He actually came into Phoenix that Sunday before the announcement, met with the staff five or six hours. That really started the process - let's think about what we want to put in place here. So it's been relatively seamless."

As for the temptation to go for a quick fix, Maloney laughs.

"In all candour, there really isn't a quick-fix option," said Maloney. "Because our finances are where they are, we really can't go out and say, 'let's trade two first-round picks for a star player, a Dany Heatley-type player.' That's just not going to happen. This is what we have. This is what we have to make better. But I think having a real professional coaching staff will help. The proof will be in the pudding - how we start."

Around the rinks: Milan Lucic's signing - of a three-year $12.25-million (all currency U.S.) contract extension with the Boston Bruins - is indicative of how the business operates in the new salary-cap era; and how teams are forced to make hard choices early on in a player's evolution. Essentially, the Bruins chose to pay Lucic because they project him as a core player over the long term, a Cam Neely in training, someone they believe will make a difference in winning. No matter what they may have said publicly, they didn't feel the same way about Phil Kessel's qualities - good around the net sure, but with a limited physical presence. With David Krejci taking less to sign and a raft of other players coming up for renewal next year (including Marc Savard, a potential unrestricted free agent again), the Bruins took the draft choices from Toronto and made sure that if they were going to make somebody happy, it was going to be Lucic, the potential Canadian Olympian … As the Chicago Blackhawks know only too well, the problem with signing everybody is that eventually you can negotiate yourself into a salary-cap corner - and you may end up losing a marquee name to make the numbers work … Funny how $7.14-million per year doesn't buy what it once did. After signing Brian Campbell to that contract two summers ago, largely for his abilities on the power play, the Blackhawks are now using Cam Barker, plus Patrick Sharp - a forward - as the point men on their top unit with the man advantage … Think Atlanta is glad they finished second in the Campbell sweepstakes? With Zach Bogosian looking as if he'll evolve into an elite-level defenceman, the Thrashers now have the financial wherewithal to get a deal done with Ilya Kovalchuk, who had a pair of goals Thursday night, as Atlanta's unexpectedly good start continued … Chris Chelios's desire to keep playing, at the age of 47, may take him back to the minor leagues and a chance to play with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. Chelios has 1,644 NHL games on his resume and 25 in the minors - two for Grand Rapids last year and 23 with the Motor City Mechanics of the United Hockey League back in the lockout year of 2004-05 … The Red Wings didn't ask the aging Chelios back, but they took 37-year-old Brad May off the unemployment rolls this week, to add toughness. May responded with a fight in his first game, a victory over Chicago … Colorado's 2-0 start will be put to the test on a seven-game, 13-day road trip that began with a loss in Nashville and features stops in five of the Original Six cities. Hard to imagine the Avalanche hanging in the playoff race for long this year, even with Craig Anderson off to a spectacular start … Signs of the Kings' increasing depth: Alexander Frolov, a 32-goal scorer last year and linked to Ottawa, among other teams, in off-season trade speculation, is playing on the team's de facto checking line alongside Michal Handzus, what with Anze Kopitar anchoring the No. 1 unit with a pair of newcomers, Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams; and with Jarrett Stoll getting to play with team captain Dustin Brown.

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