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Ritter's Rant: Coyotes are Full, Ron Wilson's Fuming, Numbers Are Foretelling

Mark RitterSenior Writer IOctober 9, 2009

TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head Coach Ron Wilson of the Toronto Maple Leafs talks during a press conference after the NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre on September 26, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter

Coyote’s Have a Full Belly

The Phoenix Coyote’s are expecting a “white out” on Saturday night. Coyotes Team President and Chief Operating Officer Douglas Moss announced Thursday that the team's home opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night is sold out.

What, no mention of the fact that tickets were all but being given away? Reports suggest that lower bowl tickets were being sold for $25.00 a ticket and upper bowl were going for $15.00.

Apparently the Coyotes were not worried about season ticket holders backlash, all 57 of them must be peeved!

To be fair, after the fiasco that Coyote fans were put through over the summer, I am shocked that anyone, let alone a full building, will be in attendance to watch the Coyotes on Saturday.

Good on ya Mr. Moss for understanding that the fans needed a “Carrot” to come back, clearly a cheap ticket and a little hype goes a long way. My only fear is, after the love affair ends on Saturday, how many fans will be making the drive to Glendale in a week or two?

No Love for the Media

Is it just me or does Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson look like he’s about to whoop some butt every time a microphone is in front of him? Word has it every time Wilson cracks a smile in a media scrum, Leafs ownership will donate $50,000 to charity. To date, the Owners are not out a single penny.

I guess Wilson has the right to be a little grumpy. Heading into Saturday night’s tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with a record of 0-2-1, the Leafs are ranked 30th overall in the League. Throw in the goaltender controversy and the fact that the Leafs' penalty kill is ranked 26th overall and you understand why Wilson is looking a lot like “Grumpy Smurf” these days...

By the Numbers

Don’t look now, but the Calgary Flames are 4-0. One of the reasons for their great start has been their stellar Power Play, which currently ranks second overall with a 45.4 percent success rate. Ranked first overall? The Minnesota Wild at 46.2 percent...

Speaking of the Power Play, there are two teams that have yet to score on the PP, the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers. With the amount of offensive talent on those squads, there is no excuse for the poor results.

The worst Penalty Kills in the League? The Los Angels Kings bring up the rear with a 36.4 percent success rate, the Montreal Canadiens are ranked second in this category with a paltry 56.2 percent success rate.

Last season (2008/09), the Pittsburgh Penguins had the 20th ranked Power Play with a 17.2 percent success rate. Now, I know it’s early, but to date, with a success rate of 13.3 percent, the Penguins own the NHL’s 27th ranked Power Play. With the Likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and Bill Guerin on this team, how is this possible?

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Coming Up

There are a couple of “Can’t miss” games scheduled in the coming days. The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins will be in Toronto on Saturday night to take on the Leafs. The over/under for goals scored by the Penguins sits at 47.

In other Saturday matchups, the Detroit Red Wings take on Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, the Anaheim Ducks take on the Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal takes on the Edmonton Oilers and then, on Monday, in a battle for Western Conference supremacy, the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Calgary Flames.

Until next time,

Peace!

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