Hockey. Basic. Fundamental. Sound. Hockey. That’s what we got out of the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing Arena. It seemed that finally the team put the Sochi Olympics roster drama in their rear view and sought out to do exactly what Coach Tippy has been drilling into their thick skulls. Play good hockey. And that’s what a team so loaded to the gills with talent did tonight. They just played good hockey.
From the start it seemed that they were determined to get this win. There wasn’t desperation on the ice tonight like last game agains the St. Louis Blues. There wasn’t “trap game confidence” either, like against the Winnipeg Jets, a team they and everyone expected them to beat. No, there was a calm about the team tonight. A focus that has not been there since the end of 2013. They hit the ice and handled their business like only the Phoenix Coyotes can. And they skate away with a win.
1st Period: It’s rare that you can see the effect of a coach on his team’s playing style. But what we’ve heard over and over again is “make the Power Play’s count.” And tonight every single Power Play held greater meaning for the Yotes. From the way they played to the way the guys communicated on ice to the urgency and speed with which they moved the puck, it was clear the guys were doing their best to make their coach happy.
- Vermette pots one in past Vancouver goalie Lack. This is Vermette’s first goal since December 21st. It’s nice to see him getting involved again.
2nd Period: There was a number of penalties tonight. It seems like everyone spent some time in the box and left the refs screaming, “What we have here is a failure… to communicate!” It was a night that saw very little 5 on 5 hockey.
3rd Period: Smitty blanked ‘em. Smith, who has had a hard time of it of late played his best game in weeks. And though it was against another slumping team like Vancouver there’s something to be said for his effort tonight. He’s getting up in years and some have been calling for Greiss. Especially in the 3rd Period. But no, this time Smith took it the distance and made sure his boys got the win.
I’m not going to lie, it was nice to see a 1-0 Coyotes game. Lately it’s seems like they’ve all been high scoring affairs which, in my opinion, usually means sloppy hockey. The Yotes handling an opponent like this should give us all hope for the rest of the season. That’s all for now. I’ll have more about Zbynek Michalek’s return to the team later. Until then, stay ornery Arizona.