Archive for the ‘Phoenix Coyotes’ Category

Heading into the 2007 draft, there was not one clear cut prospect like in some years, 2008 (Stamkos) and 2009 (Tavares) for example. In 2007, there were plenty of good players,  but towards the draft it filtered down to three prospects at the top of the class.  According to NHL’s Central Scouting, the top three (in order) were Kyle Turris, Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk.  It seemed like those three would be the top choices, but in which order? And to which teams?

Turris, from Burnaby of the BCHL, was touted as a great skater with a combination of skill and hockey smarts.  Kane’s biggest knock was his size (5’10, 160) but was a scoring machine for London of the OHL.  Van Riemsdyk was a big scoring winger from the US National Development Program that hadn’t finished growing yet.

Philadelphia was in the midst of their worst season in team history and Phoenix had finished its’ third straight season near the bottom of the standings.  Chicago finished last place in their division, but with a bit of luck, won the NHL draft lottery, giving them the #1 pick, followed by the Flyers and Coyotes.

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When the word “captain” is thrown around in hockey, names of stars are mentioned.  Guys like Crosby, Lidstrom, Iginla and Chara are all discussed.  Rarely brought up are blue collar guys like the captains in Phoenix and Winnipeg.

Shane Doan has been with the Winnipeg/Phoenix organization since being drafted in 1995 and was named the team’s captain in 2003.  He’s seemingly been the face of the franchise since the team moved to the desert in 1996.  Doan is in the top three of the franchise’s leaders in goals, assists and points and owns the top spot in all three categories if only Coyotes statistics are counted.

Andrew Ladd is only 25, but already has two Stanley Cup rings, 2006 with Carolina and 2010 with Chicago.  He’s also the (new) Winnipeg Jets captain.  Ladd’s played in his fourth city (third franchise) in the last five seasons.  Jets fans hope that Winnipeg is a long term stop for the left winger.

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Last season: 43-26-13, 99 points, 6th West, lost in first round to Detroit (4-0)

Additions: RW Boyd Gordon, C Daymond Langkow, C Patrick O’Sullivan, G Mike Smith, LW Raffi Torres

Losses: RW Eric Belanger, G Ilya Bryzgalov, LW Vernon Fiddler, D Ed Jovanovski, RW Lee Stempniak

Offense: The offense is still lead by Shane Doan, who is the last remaining original Phoenix Coyote.  He was the only Coyote to hit the 20 goal mark last year and led the team with 60 points.  The ageless Ray Whitney is still able to be counted on for 15-20 goals.  The offense is scattered with 15 goal scorers such as Lauri Korpikoski, Radim Vrbata, Martin Hanzal and Taylor Pyatt.  But the roster doesn’t boast anyone who will step up and be a big star for the Coyotes.  Scoring may be at a premium this year for the team, and everyone is going to be counted on to chip in.

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More tidbits from around the NHL and the world of hockey:

Chris Drury (Photo: Getty Images)

– Chris Drury, unable to find a new team, called it a career on Friday. Drury played 892 games in 12 NHL seasons with 4 teams (Colorado, Calgary, Buffalo, New York). He finished with 615 career points (255 goals, 360 assists) He also played internationally in 3 Olympics, 3 IIHF championship tournaments, and 1 World Cup Of Hockey. He earned 2 silver medals in the Olympics, and one bronze in IIHF competition.

– The once highly touted Fabian Brunnström has earned a tryout with The Detroit Redwings. It will be interesting to see if he can finally show some of what was expected when he came to the NHL, or if this will be his last stop.

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Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:

NHL Research And Development Camp (Photo:THN)

 Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game.  Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.

No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.

Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum.  Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.

No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.

Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good  to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.

Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!

Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.

Random thoughts after the NHL Draft this past weekend.

– I believe I predicted only one of my 10 selections in our CSH Mock Draft, and that one was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

– I am not completely sold on Winnipeg selecting Mark Schleifele when Coutourier was still on the board. This could be a potential reach.

– The fall of Brandon Saad is going to make it an interesting development for his time with Chicago. Did he just have groin issues that messed up the 2nd half of his draft year or is there more to it?

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We all know who the best players have been the best in the NHL in the 2010-11 season, but who have been some of the worst?  Years ago, I created some “awards” in my old sim league (DCHL), as a semi roast to certain players, GMs and teams.  I took some of these awards,  and created some brand new ones.

First, we start with the Trigger Happy Award, which goes to the GM who has pulled off the most trades in the last year (for the purpose of a starting point, I used 2010’s regular season end to this regular season’s end).  With 18 counted trades, including acquiring (and trading) Dennis Wideman, Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers is our 2011 winner.  The other GM award, the aptly named You Suck Award goes to Ottawa’s Bryan Murray.  Last summer, Murray signed Sergei Gonchar for 3 years and $16 million, and the 37 year old played like he was 57.  The team plummeted to last place and Murray started the firesale, trying to get what he could for many players.  Some of his deals were to rectify mistakes he had made in the summer, and in previous seasons.  All this, while Daniel Alfredsson remained on the team and his value continued to drop.

Moving on to some statistical awards, the winner of the Broad Street Bully Award goes to Islander Zenon Kenopka, who blew away the field in the penalty minute department, finishing with 307.  Kenopka is the first player to break the 300 PIM barrier since Dan Carcillo in 2007-08.   The Greg Millen Trophy for allowing the most goals in the regular season goes to the Colorado Avalanche.  The team allowed a whopping 287 goals, the most since the 06-07 Flyers.  On the topic of goalies, our Red Light Award for worst goalie of the year (minimum of 20 games) is Rick DiPietro.  DiPietro “lead” the league with a 3.44 GAA, had the second worst save percentage at 88.6% and finished with a record of 8-14-4.

The Bettman Trophy for Villain of the Year was no surprise.  Suspended for 21 games this season within two separate incidents, including missing the entire first round of the playoffs, Matt Cooke easily wins the award.

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