Friday, January 05, 2007

Desert dogs to rule them all

A Future So Bright, You Gotta Wear Shades
You have to hit rock bottom before you can fully recover from things like addiction or stupid. As the Carolina Hurricanes continue their descent to what's looking like a transition year, they can look longingly at the Phoenix Coyotes for inspiration.

Clearly there is a renaissance afoot in Glendale, Arizona. It's getting hard to remember when Petr Nedved, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Ricci and Mike Comrie were hailed as the elite players who were destined to push the dogs to the next strata. It's getting hard to remember the Rick Tocchet/Janet Gretzky gambling dirt. That all seems so long ago. Hope has returned at the close of the Coyotes "Decade in the Desert."

Things started to turn in late October when GM Barnett and Gretzky-Co snagged free agent centerman Yanic Perreault from a host of suitors. Suddenly, the Yotes had the league's dominant face off specialist and a selfless playmaker. In late November, the Coyotes brain trust made a second smart, but under the radar move. Tyson Nash, a grinder with vastly diminished skills was plucked from the obscurity of playing in San Antonio and traded to the God of Hockey's waiting room in Toronto for the Leafs #3 system goalie, Mikkel Tellqvist. Tellqvist has gone on to become the yang to #1 goalie Curtis Joseph's ying. In the past few games both have posted shutouts over the league's best...Cujo with the latest over the dyspeptic Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes (tears now dripping into beer).

The most exciting thing about being a Phoenix Coyotes fan is what's happening with the younger guys. Former first rounder, Freddie Sjostrom, is turning into a fantastic two-way player. The best thing for his development is to chance to play every night with Shane Doan.

The Coyotes are also blessed with a wealth of young blueline talent. Led by 24 year-olds, Zybnek Michalek and Keith Ballard, Coach Gretzky can also look forward to the pleasant dilemma of finding ice time for 23 year-old Matt Jones and 20 year-old Keith Yandle.

But that's the nearly here and now. The slightly more distant future bodes even better for the Dogs. Led by prospects Peter Mueller (USA) and Martin Hanzal (Cze), future Yotes are tearing up the IIHF World Junior championships and minor league hockey in Canada right now.

Yes, this is a transition year for our Phoenix Coyotes, but it's a good kind of transition. They should be in the driver's seat as we approach the trade deadline. Nick Boynton, Ladislav Nagy and possibly Shane Doan should attract a lot of interest and offers including solid prospects. And next year, a Coyotes roster without dinosaurs and under-achievers like JR, Mike Ricci, and Dave Scatchard will be more moldable into the kind of team Coach Gretzky wants, and much quicker and more deadly.

All hail the Phoenix Coyotes - the team nobody wants to play right now, and the team to fear in the fall of 2007.

Dear PB,
Wager part one complete. How about inner ring, upper bowl? I know we need three seats.


PB said...

Scott -

Nicely done!

Inner ring upper bowl is perfect.


Michael said...


"You can't fix stupid" - Ron White