Shane Doan and Paul Bissonnette promise some good conversations about the Coyotes past and present in their new podcast.

Arizona Republic

Don’t think the Arizona Coyotes weren’t aware of what happened with their Glendale neighbors from across the street, the Arizona Cardinals, on Monday. 

Head coach Rick Tocchet, asked Monday about the acquisition of J.J. Watt and the effect the arrival of an elite pro athlete can have in the same market regardless of sport, joked that he put a call in to the Cardinals. 

“He’s going to play with Conor Garland next game. We’re going to put him on the wing,” Tocchet said. “We’ll see if anybody wants to touch ‘Gars.'”

In reality, of course, Watt isn’t coming to town to be a two-sport athlete. But also in reality, a little more protection for Garland, the Coyotes’ points leader with 19 this season, certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Garland, Tocchet said, skated on his own for 20 minutes Monday before team practice, in which he did not take part. The forward missed Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche with a lower body injury and is day to day, and Tocchet was to decide later in the day Monday if Garland would be available for Tuesday’s practice. 

Garland told Tocchet he wanted to play before Saturday’s game, but the coach opted to hold him out. 

“There’s just some guys, you know, you’ve got to drag them off the ice for them to play (at full strength),” Tocchet said. “We had a great talk. I said ‘Gars,’ I need you healthy for 36 games (remaining on schedule) or whatever, if he plays the next game I’m not sure, then something lingering for the next two weeks. So if we’ve got to keep him out for a week because of it, we have to do that. I told ‘Gars’ I can be the bad guy. ‘You’re not playing.’ And I know he wants to play, so enough said.”

Garland has often been the target of the most aggressive hits from opposing teams in games, in part because he plays with an edge and because he has been the Coyotes’ most dynamic offensive player this season.

On Friday against the Avalanche. Garland was slammed hard to the ice by Gabriel Landeskog, and both players drew roughing penalties. 


Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, on the hits injured forward Conor Garland has taken this season.

Arizona Republic

Forward Christian Fischer said Garland was missed Saturday in part because he keeps pucks alive in the offensive zone with second efforts or shots. 

“I know when ‘G’s’ playing his best game, it seems like he has the puck for 30, 40 seconds in the ‘O’ zone,” Fischer said. “He’s a big part of us scoring goals. He keeps a lot of plays alive.

“He stands up to anybody. He’s just a hard-nosed guy. If stuff’s cheap (shots) … we’re going to obviously take exception to that,” Fischer added. “We’ve got a pretty good brotherhood here and when that stuff, we know we’ve got each other’s backs.” 

Defenseman Jakob Chychrun said Garland is competitor who doesn’t give up on plays, something the Coyotes feed off of.

“He’s almost like the heartbeat of our team. When he’s going and he’s battling and competing, it’s contagious,” Chychrun said. “No surprise that he wanted to play, it’s just sometimes you have to be smart and take a game off, and you’ll be better in the long run for it.”

More: Coyotes points leader Conor Garland out for Saturday vs. Avalanche

Related: Avalanche score four in third period, overpower Coyotes in homestand finale

Get in touch with Jose Romero at [email protected]. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.