The Phoenix Coyotes will get two of their most important players back Thursday at United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks. Top center Martin Hanzal (illness) and second-line right wing Radim Vrbata (lower body) will return to the lineup after going through a full morning skate. Hanzal missed one game, a 3-2 overtime win Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues, while Vrbata missed the past two games. Defenseman Derek Morris, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, went through the skate but will not play. "It gives us a little more depth at the forward position," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "They're two guys who we put in our top-six forwards, so you take two of them out together, that's a big hole. [Hanzal] touches so many parts of the game for us at center ice and Vrbata's been, for the last couple years, our leading goal scorer. They're both valuable players who can hopefully jump back in and contribute." Morris also is getting closer to returning. "He's coming along," Tippett said. "He had a couple of tough days there but it looks like he's going in the right direction now." The Blackhawks also have a forward returning to the lineup, but it's not injury-related. Rookie Jeremy Morin will start at right wing on the third line after being replaced by defenseman Sheldon Brookbank the past three games. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he hopes to see a more consistent effort at the defensive end of the rink and Morin knows what's expected of him.
Hanzal, Vrbata returning to Coyotes' lineup
NHL.com | Nov 14