Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:57 am
Holland faces old team as Coyotes visit Maple Leafs
TORONTO --Until a few days ago, Peter Holland played for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hardly played might be a better description. The center was traded to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday for a conditional pick in the 2018 draft and returns to the Air Canada Centre to face his former team Thursday night.
While the Maple Leafs were blowing a two-goal third-period lead on the way to a 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, Holland had two assists in his debut for the Coyotes in their 4-1 victory over the Red Wings at Detroit.
Holland had one assist in eight games for the Maple Leafs this season. He played in only two games last month, Nov. 26 and Nov. 12.
"I haven't been in a match in about a month and been practicing with just a few guys on the ice during my time in Toronto," Holland told the Arizona Republic before Tuesday's game. "So it's going to take me a little bit to get my timing back and feet under me. But, hopefully, it comes back quicker than I think."
"Peter gives us that steady center that we've needed since (Brad) Richardson got hurt," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said after the game Tuesday. "He didn't look like a guy playing his first game for a team."
"Well, it's good for him," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock told reporters Wednesday. "We're playing them next so I watched (Tuesday's game). We went through it today.
"Holly was a good player for us, did lots of good things, it just didn't work here for him. There's lots of players in the league, when you look at it, who are in a situation, and they go somewhere else and they get a new opportunity. You want everyone to do well, period. If it's not working here, and they're not finding a way to help themselves, or grow as a player, or to help you, it's important that they move on. When they move on, you're not cheering against them at all, you're cheering that they do well, except when they play you."
The Coyotes (10-14-5) play the third game of four in a row on the road Thursday. They began the trip with a 7-0 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, which followed a home win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
"We did a lot of the things that it takes to win hockey games," said goaltender Mike Smith, who made 37 saves Tuesday. "The offense took its chances and everyone made plays. We knew what happened (Monday) night and no one wanted to see that again. We're a better team than that."
The Coyotes will be without Max Domi indefinitely after the left winger had hand surgery Monday. He suffered a broken bone in his hand during a fight against the Calgary Flames last Thursday.
Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy suffered an upper body injury Saturday and was schedule for tests Tuesday in Arizona before rejoining the team. His status for Thursday's game was not known.
The Maple Leafs (11-11-6) have only one win in their past six games and once again Tuesday showed that they have problems closing games out. They were in command before the Sharks struck with goals of 12:43 and 14:50 of the third and then lost in the shootout.
Babcock talked about the necessity of keeping the pressure on the other team when on the lead. He talked about "activities" around each goal as an example.
"I've got it written down right here," he said. "In the third, we had six (activities) around their net. They had 12 around ours. Any way you look at it that means you're being a little more careful. Tight and tentative never got you anywhere in life.
"When you get in your car, normally what you do is you don't put one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. The long skinny one on the right -- you just push it down and the car goes better."
Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews, who had a goal and an assist against the Sharks, is from Scottsdale. Ariz. The first pick in the NHL draft this year grew up going to Coyotes' games, dreaming of playing for them. This will be the first time that he has played against them.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Matthews said Wednesday. "It's fun to play your hometown team. It will be cool after watching guys like (Shane) Doan growing up. He's still playing (at 40). That will be pretty special."
Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:14 pm
Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:00 am
Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:44 am
Stunned wrote:It had to feel good for Holland icing it in his former building.
Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:06 pm
Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:04 pm
Matzel wrote:Stunned wrote:It had to feel good for Holland icing it in his former building.
He 'inced' it?!
Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:25 am
Stunned wrote:Matzel wrote:Stunned wrote:It had to feel good for Holland icing it in his former building.
He 'inced' it?!