(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JOHN MARSHALL AP Sports Writer Sitting in front of his locker, Radim Vrbata whips a roll of tape around the handle of his stick, working his way toward the end, where a few extra layers create a knob for better grip.
The way he's been playing, Vrbata could coat his stick in soap and probably still find a way to get the puck in the net.
In the midst of a career season, Vrbata has provided the surging Phoenix Coyotes with clutch goal-scoring and steady, heady play at both ends of the ice.
''Vrby is a really good player, a really skilled player,'' Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ''The one thing he's done this season is turn into a go-to guy.''
Vrbata has been a solid, under-the-radar type of player during his 10-year NHL career, eclipsing 25 points in every season but one. He's been consistent in his second go-round with the Coyotes as well, with 24 goals and 19 assists in 2009-10, 19 goals and 29 assists last s...