It’s not often kindness would be considered a negative quality. Except maybe when it comes to Coyotes winger Mikkel Boedker’s approach on the ice. “I think part of Mikkel’s problem is he’s too nice of a person,” General Manager Don Maloney said. After an impressive start to the season, Boedker’s impact weened in the second half. Maloney’s assessment — that Boedker needs to get a little meaner in the greasier areas of the game — isn’t an unfounded criticism. It’s a direction for improvement after a season that was still valuable in the 23-year-old’s development as an important cog in the Coyotes’ offense. “He took another step forward in his career, and I think he’s right on the cusp of being a top, top player for us,” Maloney said. “I think part of that is accepting responsibility for the wins and losses, and you look at Shane Doan, a captain. “He’ll take it upon himself to do something to impact the game, and I think a young player like Mike I think there’s sometimes where he sits on the sidelines and we need him to take the ball and run with it and be responsible — whether that’s drive to the net, taking the puck, finishing a check. “And it’s not just Mike. You go along the line of players, and we need more players with Shane’s attitude. That’s not good enough to just go out and play. You’re expected to do the little things to win, and a lot of time the little things aren’t fun — driving to the net and playing in the hard areas. It’s getting mad on occasion.” So far, that doesn’t seem to be in Boedker’s DNA but he’s not one to ignore areas in his game that require improvement. “In some aspects of life it’s probably good to be too nice but when you’re on the ice and it really counts, you probably have to have a little more of a mean streak,” he said. “That’s something you gotta work with, right? I’m not gonna go out there and be made and grumpy and all that. But, yeah, you gotta get into battles and you gotta get a little grumpy. I guess that’s something that I have to do, and I will do.” Boedker spent the lockout playing in Finland and arrived in the Valley already in game shape. He had 16 points in the first 21 games, including four goals. Over the final 27 games, he had three goals and 10 points.
Boedker’s off-season goal to get meaner
Arizona Republic | May 19