Considering Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek isn’t sure if his ailing hip will ever regain complete health this season, a timeline for a return hasn’t existed. But after two weeks of skating on his own — and two solid practice days earlier this week — Michalek decided Thursday’s game against a Pacific Division rival, the Vancouver Canucks, was an appropriate time for a test run. “He wants to see where it’s at,” coach Dave Tippett said. “He wants to see if he can play through it. We’ll give him that opportunity to do so.” This injury has pestered Michalek throughout the season. He missed nine games in November and December, returned for four games and then aggravated it again. The Coyotes vowed to be more careful with Michalek this time around, and it looked like they were. Michalek sat out 13 games before playing Thursday. “I feel good, but, until I go in the game, I won’t know,” he said. “I can’t guarantee how I’ll feel after two or three games, but right now I feel confident I’m healthy.” This isn’t the first time Michalek has had issues with his hip. He had off-season surgery on it in 2012, the same summer he was reacquired by the Coyotes. His health wasn’t a deterrent then, and it doesn’t appear to be now, either. “He’s the type of player that he gets in, he gives you everything he’s got, and that’s what we’re looking for right now,” Tippett said. “We’re looking for players to max out and give us everything they’ve got to help us win. He’s a big part of that identity on our team.” A return now should help decide Michalek’s status for the upcoming Winter Olympics. He was named to the Czech Republic team but could be replaced on the roster if he isn’t healthy enough to compete.
Coyotes’ Zbynek Michalek tests ailing hip against Canucks
Arizona Republic | Jan 17