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Coyotes player, system breakdowns: Every Petey's Puck Talk in one happy place

Craig Morgan Avatar
August 29, 2023
Coyotes player and system breakdowns are the specialties of Petey's Puck Talk.

When ALLCITY Network CEO Brandon Spano first contacted me about joining his growing outlet as a Coyotes reporter, he had a specific vision for each Valley beat. The idea was to have a hard-nosed reporter, an articulate host to drive the bus, and a third person who brought both personality and analysis to the table, making for a perfect mix on the daily shows that would be a staple of the beat.

I didn’t know at the time that Leah Merrall would be our host. It was just good fortune that we ended up on the same team, but when Spano asked me who I wanted to occupy the third chair, the exchange went something like this.

Me: “You mean anybody?”

Spano: “Name who you want.”

Me: “There’s only one guy I want. Steve Peters.”

As PHNX Sports prepares to celebrate its second anniversary in September, it should be clear to all of our readers and viewers why I wanted Petey. I had already worked with him for two decades while he was the Coyotes video coach and I was a reporter covering the team for too many outlets to mention.

After both of our work lives changed abruptly in the summer of 2020 — The Athletic laid me off and the Coyotes opted not to renew Peters’ contract after 23 seasons with the team — we worked together on stories for my Substack site, azcoyotesinsider.com. I would propose a topic and Petey would break it down for the layman.

Former Coyotes video coach Steve Peters works in the coaches room at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

You don’t get many chances to work with actual NHL coaches in media, unless it’s on a national level. While a lot of reporters like to try their hand at game analysis and player breakdowns, I have always been leery of that process because I have heard the whispers and laughter from coaches in every sport when reading reporters’ takes.

There are too many nuances, too many minor tweaks between team systems and too many other variables at play for reporters to tackle this project with 100 percent certainty. Journalism is the business of accuracy so even though I have a good understanding of the game, I have always felt that game or player analysis was best left to the experts.

That’s where Petey comes in. He has been breaking down plays and systems for two decades. When he doesn’t know an answer, he has contacts all over the league and in various NHL coaches offices from whom he can acquire that information.

Petey’s Puck Talk was bound to happen. The knowledge was always there. It was just about getting Steve comfortable in the media space after two seasons at PHNX. He knows his strengths and now, so do the lucky viewers and readers who follow us.

This offseason, we have conducted a series of deep dives on players in which Petey breaks down their strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement in all three zones, and on special teams. The current list includes Jack McBain, Matias Maccelli, Nick Schmaltz and JJ Moser.

I can’t stress enough how valuable this information is for average fans when trying to understand the game. You may think you know what happened on a specific play. You may think you know a player’s responsibility. Often, you do not.

That’s why I am putting all of the Petey’s Puck Talk editions in one place, here in story form. Every time Petey creates another one, we’ll add it to this file and let you know.  

Without further ado, here are the existing editions of Petey’s Puck Talk to date. 

Coyotes defenseman JJ Moser

Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz

Coyotes forward Matias Maccelli

Coyotes center Jack McBain

What is a forecheck?

What is D pinching?

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