Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Wounded Dog: What is Wrong with the Phoenix Coyotes?
Well last night the New York Rangers beat up on the Phoenix Coyotes winning by a final score of 4-1, bringing their losing streak to 6 games. Enver Lisin had the only Coyote goal which was the first goal of the game. However, the New York Rangers woke up and put 4 past Ilya Bryzgalov.
Yes I was rooting for the Coyotes. But the Rangers won which is always a positive. Despite playing a game I wouldn't call fantastic *cough* Rozsival *cough* the Rangers were playing a team that is in complete disarray at the moment, that being their 6th straight loss.
Last night confirmed to me one thing that I had been thinking about but was hoping was wrong. The Coyotes are not a playoff team. General Manager Don Maloney said that this team is a team that will be fighting for a playoff spot at the beginning of the year. Things certainly looked that way as Shane Doan, Olli Jokinen and other had some good starts to the year. But the youth factor is very high on this team and that is ultimately what will bring this team down. It would be wonderful to see the Coyotes youngsters start lighting the lamp and being a factor in the offense but they haven't picked up the load that I am sure Don Maloney was looking for.
Should they be shouldered with all that responsibility? Probably not. These kids are barely older than me and are expected to be immediate offensive talents in the NHL when in reality they aren't. I am not saying that some of these guys won't turn into great players but immediate greatness is not in the cards here.
There is one other problem that I know will not be addressed simply because of politics and that is the coaching. Yes Wayne Gretzky has a stake in the Phoenix Coyotes organization as a managing partner and alternate governor. However, that should not give him untouchable status in terms of his job as a coach.
The Coyotes have a very young team which needs a coach who can teach players how to play at the NHL level. You would think that Wayne would be the best person for that but being a coach is more than that. The Coyotes need a system that works and a coach who has been a coach. Someone who can keep the development of the young players going while inputting a system that will be hard to beat every night.
I understand that Gretzky just signed a 5 year extension as a coach but this is what I think. Put Gretzky as an assistant coach for awhile...maybe he can figure out this abysmal powerplay of the Coyotes. When Ulf Samuelsson is your powerplay coach, it isn't going to work. Get a real coach in there for a couple of years. If Wayne is itching to be head coach again then that is fine but for a team that is rebuilding a coach is important in getting a system of play down that will inspire younger players and help them learn the nuances of the NHL game. Afterwards Gretzky can take things back.
It is rough to be a Coyotes fan with the NHL team on a 6 game losing streak. Things aren't much better down on the AHL affiliate in San Antonio where the Rampage have dropped 13 straight games. They are 2-17 on the season.