Phoenix Coyotes Preview!
Okay, as if it hasn't been alluded to enough on twitter and here - the
Coyotes are a great story.
An outstanding story.
A phenomenal story.
Ask anyone - okay almost anyone - to predict this team would have the year
they did. And they'd be lying if they said they knew.
This is a small rundown of what they did.
50 Wins (4th)
29 home wins (Tied for 3rd in league with Chicago, behind Washington and Vancouver)
9 game winning streak - tying a franchise record
36-3-3 record when scoring 1st goal (amazing!)
Best of the Best:
Goals - Vrbata (24)
Points - Doan (55)
Assists - Doan (37)
42 wins (3rd)
.920 Save% (T-8th)
107 points. (They had 79 last year!)
Good for 4th in the league behind Washington, San Jose, and Chicago. (Last year - they were 25th!)
This is the best season in franchise history!!
Read that again.
Their record against those teams, for those curious. Washington - 1 loss. San Jose - 2 wins, 1 loss, and 3 shootout losses. Chicago - 3 wins, 1 loss. (By the way, each of those three losses was by 2 goals.)
Not half bad.
If you haven't had the pleasure of watching them play, this is how they do it.
Solid goaltending. Defensive zone pressure. Unparalleled puck support.
Scoring from defense, scoring from an unlikely source of players. A team
concept. A true team support system.
In short, and since 1994, the most complete team I've had the pleasure of
The coolest part? They play so well so often. They are that good. Even cooler? When they aren't playing good enough - they don't need to be told. They know it, and they work to correct it.
Refreshing isn't it?
There are no superstars here. There doesn't need to be. They have an arguable candidate for best captain in the league, a Vezina worthy goalie, and a guy who is all but assured of the Jack Adams as coach.
But they have something else. Something perhaps intangible. This us-against-the-world. This pack mentality. This if you score I am as happy for you as if it had been me deal. A true sense of team. Of having everyone's back. Of the greater good of the team.
I figure I watched in full around 60 games, but part of around 78 this season. So I
feel I know this team well enough to speak to them.
The reasons I think they can and will beat Detroit are:
1) They never give up. This team has been down 2, 3, 4 goals and they've come back. And its not as if this was once or twice in October. All season. They can never be counted out.
2) There is always someone to step up. When Upshall went down, Vrbata
stepped up. When he slowed down, Lombardi picked up his game. When scoring slowed overall again, Lee Stempniak showed the world their is life beyond Toronto. This team may not have scored the most goals, but they've had the most balanced scoring in what they've had. True getting it done the team way.
Look, is playing Detroit my favorite matchup for the Coyotes? No. But not my least favorite. That would have been Vancouver. As good as the Coyotes have been Vancouver has made them look not as good on given nights. But Detroit is still Detroit, I'm not so blind to see that.
However, I really feel people easily dismissing this team are looking at how great Detroit has been (and still is) and forgetting just how good the Coyotes are.
And yes, the Coyotes have not done this - this playoffs thing - as a team. But I think the most important thing is that their heads be in the right place. I trust Shane Doan. I trust Adrian Aucoin. I trust Dave Tippett. I trust these guys will help keep the younger guys in check.
One game does not a series make.
I think Detroit will get a game or two in there. It may even be tonight because it may just be "TOO MUCH" for the Coyotes in Game 1 with the crazy home crowd and the first White Out in way too long.
But the other thing I alluded to about the Coyotes. If they make mistakes tonight, they will come out a better team for it on Friday night for Game Two.
Coyotes fans, enjoy and embrace. Your team is phenomenal and I've loved being able to root for them on this journey! Rangers fans, when you are done rooting against New Jersey (or Philly), Pittsburgh, etc, root for the Coyotes! They are the feel good story of the year.
One last thing and then we'll drop the puck. Why not the Coyotes?! Even if you don't think they have ANY chance of beating Detroit....has this team not obliterated everything almost every person thought of them THIS ENTIRE YEAR!?
Why not them?!
Why not the Coyotes?!
Join the Pack! ~ Go Coyotes!
Let the playoffs begin!