Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Here's an article on the improvement of the former Express from the Arizona Republic.

Phoenix Coyotes' Kyle Turris constantly looking to improve

9 comments by Sarah McLellan - Nov. 1, 2010 11:07 PM
The Arizona Republic

"Where's Turry?" Coyotes assistant coach Dave King hollered as Monday's practice adjourned and players went their separate ways to participate in individual drills before leaving the ice for the locker room.

King stood at center ice with forward Petr Prucha and, once Kyle Turris skated to the faceoff dot, Turris and Prucha practiced a puck-protection drill where they took turns shielding the puck with their body from the other player.

"Keep going," King yelled repeatedly, encouraging the intensity.

This is typical of Turris, practicing long after head coach Dave Tippett has dismissed his players. He works on faceoffs, perfects his shot and is usually one of the last to leave the ice.

"There's always something to improve on," Turris said.

Improvement has been the theme of Turris' game since he was inserted into the lineup by Tippett for the team's home opener against the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, he's played every game and contributed on the score sheet. Turris has four points, and his three goals put him tied for first in that category among his teammates.

"I feel like a completely different player," Turris said. "I feel like I can control the puck and not rush my decisions, hold on to it and try and make plays like I can."

This is the Turris everyone expected two seasons ago when he was a rookie playing nearly an entire season with the Coyotes. But even Turris admits transitioning into an NHL lineup as a 19-year-old was a challenge he couldn't prepare for. Camp was tough, he wasn't sure of his rank on the depth chart, and he was nervous.

"I was always worried about getting sent down and whether I was gonna play the next night," he said. "I just never found my comfort zone."

Three years removed from his draft year where he was taken third overall and Turris thinks he's finally found it. And considering the status of the other players taken in the first round of that 2007 draft, Turris is right on schedule.

Turris is one of 16 first-round picks from 2007 who have played in the NHL, but only seven of those players have played more than Turris, who has 74 games under his belt.

The standouts have been first overall pick Patrick Kane with the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, David Perron as a member of the St. Louis Blues, and Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers.

Second overall pick James Van Riemsdyk is in just his second full year with the Philadelphia Flyers, fourth pick Thomas Hickey is still playing for the Los Angeles Kings' AHL squad, and fifth pick Karl Alzner has been shuffled between the Washington Capitals and AHL for the past two seasons.

"Everybody has their own path to the NHL, and I think everybody's done it different ways," Turris said. "From Kane getting an opportunity right away and going in right after the draft and playing a ton and kind of learning as he went.

"Van Riemsdyk going a couple years of college, coming out and he's getting his opportunity now . . . and now Hickey's in the (AHL) still and working to get there."

With recent first-round picks such as John Tavares and Matt Duchene from the 2009 class and Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin from this year's draft making the jump right to the professional level, NHL-ready players might be the expectation but not the reality. Even after Turris finished at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Coyotes for the 2008-09 season, he wasn't physically ready for the rigors of the NHL.

"When he was drafted, everybody saw potential," King said. "He was a prospect. They all recognized right away he had a pretty good head on his shoulders, really a smart, smart player. But everybody knew that he was physically not there yet.

"So when you draft a player like that, I think your plans are you know it's going to take some time. You know there's gong to be a maturation process where he, naturally, as a human, gets a little bit stronger, bigger."

Now Turris is stronger on the puck and his balance has improved - something King credits to Turris' year of seasoning in the AHL with the Coyotes' minor league affiliate in San Antonio.

Turris "got his confidence back up and more time with the puck and more possession with the puck, and you can see that's really helped him a lot," King said.

Turris' journey to the NHL has been "unique," King said, and he's finally at the point where his physical strength is on par with his vision and understanding of the game.

Turris agrees and plans to continue working on the niche he's carved with the Coyotes this season.

"I really feel like I've found it here," he said.

No comments: