Coyotes Seek To Rebound From Difficult Start, Hope To Gain More Fans

Mark BrownContributor IOctober 28, 2010

The Coyotes hope to get more scoring from Radim Vrbata (17).
The Coyotes hope to get more scoring from Radim Vrbata (17).Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Saddled with just two wins in their first seven games, the Phoenix Coyotes seek to get well soon.

After all, here's a team which struggled through most of the previous decade, and suddenly last season, became the surprise club in the National Hockey League. Rising from the ashes, the Coyotes propelled themselves into the NHL playoffs last spring, and now regard themselves as achievers.

At this point in the young season, that may be difficult to ascertain simply because of their record to date. With a win over Boston, in Prague on Opening night, and 4-2 victory over the Kings at home Oct. 21, there's not much else to show.

The environment was encouraging after last Saturday's overtime defeat at home to Carolina. In that one, the Coyotes were down 3-0 before a three point effort (two goals, assist) from Kyle Turris helped send that one into overtime. That preceeded the current three game road trip, and, so far, Phoenix has lost another overtime game at Montreal and dropped a 5-2 decision in Ottawa.

That was not the expectation.

"We're looking to earn six points on the trip," said Scotty Upshall just before the Coyotes departed on its current trip. "The arenas will be filled, and it will be fun to play in from of 20,000 in Montreal."

Which brings up another delicate subject.

Mainly, the future of this franchise in Arizona.

Much has been written and speculated on the Coyotes remaining or departing from the desert. Before the final decison is made, and whatever agreement is drawn, perhaps the prospective new owner, whoever that may be, should consider some hard numbers.

It's no secret this franchise lost an average of $30 million a year for the past several years. Right now, the NHL owns the team and is paying its bills. The city of Glendale, Ariz, where Jobing.Com Arena is located, agreed to pay the NHL $25 million this current hockey season for operational upkeep.

The new owner, if indeed an agrement can be reached, is obviously aware of this financial dilemma, but the fans do not appear to be coming to the relief of its hockey team.

After selling out Opening Night Oct. 16 against the Red Wings with a crowd of 17,125, the subsequent two home games hardly drew fans. Against the Kings Oct. 21, only 6,706 filed into Jobing.Com Arena and two nights later, the Carolina Hurricanes attracted but 8,189.

Following the current road trip, the Coyotes return home for three of their next four games. Beginning this Saturday, they will entertain Tampa Bay followed by Nashville on Nov. 3. After a trip to Dallas to play the Stars, the Coyotes return home for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Nov. 6.

Crosby and friends are sure to sell out, but the Tampa and Nashville games should give a good indication of continued fan support for this team, and what the future, economically, holds for this franchise.