BY VIKTOR TIKHONOV
A lot of things have changed in Phoenix since my last blog, so it’s time for an update. The biggest day, of course, was the trade deadline earlier this month, which also happened to be the first time I had experienced it.
It was a nervous day for everyone, but also kind of exciting because so much can happen. There were a lot of rumors going around the dressing room leading up to the deadline and on the actual day, many of us gathered at the rink to watch the coverage on TV.
One player who wasn’t there was Olli Jokinen, who was traded earlier in the day (early in Arizona, that is). Knowing the guys would be in the dressing room, Olli wrote us all a message on the whiteboard, wishing us good luck.
With so much talk going around, some of the players who were dealt weren’t a surprise, even if we didn’t guess what the actual deals were going to be. Defenseman Derek Morris, for example, went to the Rangers by himself for three players, but some rumors had him leaving as part of a big package.
The interesting thing about watching the trade deadline with all the guys is that when your team is active, anything can happen. Daniel Carcillo was actually in the trainer’s room reading a magazine when we saw he had been dealt to Philadelphia. We yelled over to him, “Carce, you’ve been traded!” So he came in and said, “Well, see you guys later.”
We got a lot of good players at the deadline and they’ve fit in well. Obviously it’s tough for them coming to a new city, leaving their home in the middle of a season, so you help out however you can – showing them around, maybe giving them a lift to the arena.
It also takes awhile to get used to the old faces not being there. I used to sit next to Jokinen in the dressing room and now when I turn to my right, he’s not there.
With only a dozen games left in the season, our team is still very motivated to win every night. Our captain, Shane Doan, actually had a good talk with the team about that and we’re all on board to finish up strong. Playing the “spoiler” against teams such as San Jose (who we beat the other night) and Detroit is a great motivator, too.
There’s been a lot of talk this year about teams “tanking” to get a shot at a high draft pick, but I can tell you as a professional that it never enters our minds. It goes against your nature not to play your best.
One final update: Brian McGrattan is back with the team and we couldn’t be happier for him. He has always been a great guy and everyone on the team loves him. He’s in great shape and even lost some weight. Plus on the ice, he’s a big presence and we feel bigger when he’s in the lineup!
Viktor Tikhonov is a 20-year-old right winger who was drafted 28th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes at the 2008 draft. Last year, he played in the Russian Super League (now the Kontinental League) for Severstal and is the grandson of legendary coach Viktor Tikhonov. He’ll be blogging for THN.com throughout the 2008-09 season. Read his other blog entries HERE.