Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 3/13/13
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shane Doan would garner a lot of votes if the league's players were ever asked to crown the NHL's best captain. But how do you measure such an honor? Maybe the answer is found in Doan's deep bag of leadership tricks. Faced with the challenge of prodding gentle, humble, deferential Mikkel Boedker to greater heights, Doan took an unorthodox path to persuasion. "I teased him that I'd slash him if he passed me the puck," Doan said. "He's so good with it that I wanted him to hold onto it and I meant it. He's the best player on the ice when he has the puck." Faced with a four-game pointless streak, Boedker took that message to heart Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings. The 23-year-old Dane scored the Coyotes' first and third goals in a critical 5-2 win that pushed Phoenix into sixth place in the ever-changing Western Conference standings. The two-goal game was the third of Boedker's career and highlighted that ability Doan mentioned. "I thought he created a lot of situations in the offensive zone," coach Dave Tippett said. "That's as good a game as he's played in a while." When the season opened, the Coyotes had high hopes for Boedker. Following Ray Whitney's free-agent defection to the Dallas Stars, a team not blessed with a wealth of offensive forwards was suddenly blessed with less. Of all the young players on the roster, Boedker held the most promise to fill the gap, but he had never posted more than 28 points in two full NHL seasons and two partial seasons. Through the early portion of the schedule, he looked poised to deliver, and general manager Don Maloney even singled him out as one of the team's most consistent players. But there have been lapses in his defensive game and stretches where he's failed to exert his will at the offensive end. "There's times when, timing-wise, he feels like he's going one way and the puck is going the other," coach Dave Tippett said. "He's just got to find a way to get in sync with the game. "He has the ability to hold pucks. He changes direction well, he's got skill, (he's a) powerful skater. When he gets it, we just talked about: don't give it away so easy. Let's see what happens when you keep it for a while.' Tonight he kept it and good things happened." Boedker leads the team with 18 points (six goals). He's not the point-a-game performer this team could really use, and he's not among the NHL leaders in any offensive category, but his confidence does appear to be surging following a strong playoff performance last season in which he notched four goals (two game-winners) and eight points in the team's run to the conference finals. "It did a lot for me," Boedker said. "I know I can compete at the best level in the world and I can have an impact on a successful team. But obviously, taking the next step is important and I feel like I'm taking a good step in that direction." It couldn't have come at a better time. The Coyotes needed a statement win on Tuesday. Never mind that L.A. knocked the Coyotes out in the Western Conference final last year. Never mind that the Kings are a division foe, making these games doubly important in the standings. Phoenix plays 14 of its final 22 games on the road, including a back-to-back set with these Kings next week at Staples Center. Two points in this game -- and none for L.A. -- was the only acceptable outcome for a team that was outside of the playoff ropes when the night began. "Last year is over with," Boedker said. "But it's always good to beat a rival and it's always good to beat L.A." To have Boedker spearheading that victory with his speed and skill was a good sign for a team hoping to build off last season's unprecedented success. "It's kind of like playing off your fastball," Doan said. "He plays off of his speed and because of that it makes it so you have to respect him and it gives him open ice. "He's just a dominating player when he's moving his feet and shooting the puck like that. We all love playing with him." Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Westbrook gets emotional thanking family in MVP speech

Malcolm Brogdon makes history by beating out Saric, Embiid for Rookie of the Year

Bill Russell delivers epic line after winning NBA lifetime achievement award

Draymond Green ensemble at NBA Awards must be seen to believe

Victor Oladipo gets schooled by young boy at basketball camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall trying to recruit Paul George to join Wizards

Report: Saints looking at ways to recoup guaranteed money owed to Nick Fairley

Martellus Bennett thinks Rodgers is better than Brady?

Fairley expected to miss 2017 season due to heart condition

Cousins could get more than $30 million per year in free agency?

Charlie Sheen puts Babe Ruth trade contract, World Series ring up for auction

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker