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Rookie defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin brings physicality to Coyotes' blue line

Rookie defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin brings physicality to Coyotes' blue line
Published On: Tue, Oct 09
Jan 24, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Martin Marincin (85) tries to stop a shot on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (80) during the game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of how long he sticks with the team, Ilya Lyubushkin seems to be fitting right in with the Coyotes.

The Russian defenseman was signed out of his countrya€™s top professional league this offseason to give the Coyotes some depth on the blue line as well as bolster their right-handed options at the position. But Lyubushkin, 24, won a job on the NHL roster out of training camp and has continued to impress his teammates and coaches.

Lyubushkin made his NHL debut inA Saturdaya€™s 1-0 loss to the Anaheim DucksA at Gila River Arena. He looked a bit wobbly in the first period, but appeared to right the ship as the minutes wore on.

Playing on the Coyotesa€™ third defense pair with Alex Goligoski, Lyubushkin logged 11:13 of ice time and registered one shot on goal, four hits and one rebound created. In terms of possession, Lyubushkin graded out competently as he was on the ice for 11 CoyotesA shot attempts compared to nine against.

Although head coach Rick Tocchet said he would have liked to get Lyubushkin a bit more ice time, he was happy with the rookiea€™s NHL debut.

Read the complete news article here...

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