Coyote Wild In Phoenix: A Phoenix Coyote Preview

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Coyote Wild In Phoenix: A Phoenix Coyote Preview
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Jim Balsillie—take a look at what you will never have.

The Phoenix Coyotes are back on the ice where they belong after Balsillie almost melted the hearts of Phoenix Coyotes fan and the organization after trying to purchase the team and move them to Southern Ontario, Canada. On May 5, 2009, Balsillie opened his checkbook and offered $212.5 million to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes and relocate them to Southern Ontario.

Despite being full of money, this writer thinks Balsille is full of something else if he ever thinks he’ll become an NHL owner. This wasn’t the first time Balsillie tried purchasing an NHL franchise. Back in 2006, Balsillie made a great first impression on live television by making an expletive comment saying, “holy sh*t.”

Once again I stress, the importance of Balsillie is truly full of something else if he thinks he will ever become an NHL owner. Balsillie would eventually pull out of the bid of purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A year later, Balsillie would end up on NHL’s doorsteps: This time in Nashville, Tenn. This time, it looked like Balsillie was actually really serious about becoming the Predators owner as it was announced back in May 2007 that he had reached a deal to purchase the team. It was believed that he would send the Predators to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to the point where he was accepting season ticket deposits through Ticketmaster.

However, in the end the Predators stayed put in Nashville and Balsillie was left once again without an NHL franchise.

Balsillie would fail again for the third time when he tried to the purchase the franchise and the Coyotes have skated on. They no longer have to worry about where they will be playing. They would return to the Jobing Arena and fans of the Coyotes would no longer have to worry about losing their beloved Coyotes.

Despite the hectic summer amongst the Coyotes organization, they did change up the organization. They no longer have Wayne Gretzky, who stepped down as head coach nine days before the Coyotes would open their 2009-2010 season against the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes named Dave Tippett head coach almost a week before the season would begin. Throughout the summer months, the Coyote organization would make six trades in hopes of establishing a winning franchise. Perhaps the biggest trade happened on July 21st when the Coyotes sent Todd Fedoruk and David Hale to the Tampa Bay Lighting in exchange for Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata made a sudden impact as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes after scoring two goals this past Saturday against the Kings. Vrabata is joined by several new faces including Lauri Korpikoski, Vernon Fiddler, Robert Lang, Ryan Hollwig, and Adrian Aucoin.

With these key acquisitions, the Coyotes hope to improve their performance on the power play. Last season the Coyotes were ranked 28th on the power play.

The Phoenix Coyotes are once again a very young team. There are six Coyotes who are younger then the age of 23. However, with the youth there are some key veterans on the team. Shane Doan has been the Coyotes back when they were the Winnipeg Jets back in 1995. Doan is the captain of the Coyotes and will serve as captain of Team Canada for 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.

Doan is the last remaining members of the Winnipeg Jets still playing with the Coyotes. He is without a doubt the best player on the team. He was selected as an All-Star last year and looks to help elevate the Coyotes into playoff contention this year.

Along with Doan, there are his assistant captains Ed Jovanovski and Zbyněk Michálek. Both Jovanovski and Michálek appeared in all 82 games last year and hope to have career years this season. Jovanovski is a feared defense-man who served 106 penalty minutes last year as Michálek is a young defense-man whom won a silver medal in the 2006 World Championships for the Czech Republic.

It is difficult to not include every member on the team. You can talk to any NHL Scout and ask him about the Coyotes and they rave about the young talent that is on the roster. However, with youth there includes a learning phase.

Can the Coyotes compete in the Western Conference? The Western Conference is a deep conference once again this year with teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and the Vancouver Canucks who look to dethrone the Detroit Red Wings whom have ruled the Western Conference for well over a decade.

However, you can not count out the Phoenix Coyotes. They might not have an owner right now, but this team has the potential to prowl on the Western Conference and make some howls this year.

 

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