Join Date: May 2002
Nagy Opens Ups
Nagy hits a scoring stride on close-knit Coyotes line
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 11, 2003 12:00 AM
Every so often, when things aren't going well, Ladislav Nagy might direct a word or two in his native Slovakian toward an official.
Officials haven't heard too much Slovakian lately. The Coyotes left wing has eight goals and 16 points in 13 games, the best start of his career, and he's tied for sixth in the league in both categories. He missed one game with a groin strain.
"Right now, it's just coming for me. When I shoot, it's just going in," said Nagy, who hopes his hot hand continues Thursday night at America West Arena against the Avalanche.
"My teammates have helped me a lot. They're always looking for me, always trying to find me. I have a lot of confidence right now, and I'm having a lot of fun."
Part of that fun derives from playing on a line with Czech center Jan Hrdina and Slovakian right wing Branko Radivojevic. It appears coach Bobby Francis called this one just right.
"Branko will go to the wall and Jan looks to find players, so he can bring it out in Ladislav," Francis said. "You have to have people around you who complement each other.
"He (Nagy) fit in well with Daymond Langkow and Mike Johnson, and now he's fitting in with Hrdina and Radivojevic."
The shoulder injury to Johnson, who was scheduled to undergo surgery today in Cleveland, necessitated Nagy's move, which continues to be a work in progress.
"It's a little bit tough," he said. "I was always with Johnson and Langkow, and we knew each other, three years together, so I know we just have to play more games together."
Off the ice, the three linemates, along with Radoslav Suchy, are the best of friends, and on the ice, the chemistry seems to be working, too.
In Saturday's overtime win against Anaheim, the line produced five points, and Nagy scored the lone goal in Sunday's overtime loss to the Mighty Ducks.
Nagy, 24, who was acquired in the 2001 trade that sent Keith Tkachuk to St. Louis, has 63 goals and 75 assists in his five-year NHL career. Most of those points have come with the Coyotes.
He said he never felt much pressure in being traded for Tkachuk, a prolific scorer and fan favorite.
"It's only pressure in wanting to do well," he said. "The organization has helped me a lot and given me the opportunity to play."
Francis now wants Nagy to step it up a notch.
"Ladislav, like all pure goal scorers, will go on streaks, and he can score in bunches," Francis said. "To get to the next level, he has to learn how to be consistent."
Nagy is a finesse player, but he will go hard to the wall to dig out pucks.
Now it's time to get some wins, he said. The Coyotes are last in the Pacific Division but are only five points behind division leader Los Angeles.
"We might be struggling right now, but we're trying to make the playoffs this year," he said. "We'll see what happens the next couple of games, but we're playing much better."