I'd never blame anyone for missing Arizona.

            Especially at this time ot the year, when the East Coast is bundled up and hurrying headlong and head down until April. It is joyously spring-like here in mostly sunny Glendale and Scottsdale and Surprise, among the cacti and mountains. Yeah, I rolled out the shorts. 

            Anyway so why blame Enver Lisin for saying he felt "weird" returning to the locale where he experienced his first NHL training camp at the Ice Den, and the region where he spent his first quality time in the U.S. after arriving from Russia in 2006. 

             "We'd (the Coyotes) practice here (at the public rink) about once a month," the 23-year-old Lisin said. "I liked the city, I liked the weather...But if I had to go anywhere, it would be New York." Note: One of Lisin's goals last season was at MSG, Nov. 24, in a 4-1 Yotes'  loss.

              Lisin, acquired for Lauri Korpikoski last July 13, played 78 games in Phoenix over two and a half seasons and also spent time in San Antonio, where the Coyotes have an AHL franchise. He played 60 games in Texas. 

             "No, it's not going to be like just another game tomorrow," he said after practice. But he wouldn't take the bait from either me or Brian Boyle, who jokingly urged him to tell me that he was going "to shove it to them" for trading him.

                "I'm not like that, I'm peaceful," said Lisin, who has played in seven straight and has six goals and seven assists for the season.  "I play every game as hard as I can. But it won' t be like a regular game. I know I'll be able to tell tomorrow (at jobing.com arena)." 

              As we were finishing up, assistant coach Mike Sullivan came over, ushering a youngster named Alex, who held out a white cap. "He says he was one of your biggest fans here," said Sullivan.

               Lisin grabbed the marker, signed the cap and turned to me.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

               "See?" he said.