After a poor start and a plethora of recurring issues from previous seasons, will more losing promote change within the Arizona Coyotes?
Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett is regarded as one of the elite coaches in the National Hockey League.
This is for good reason.
Coach Tippett is schematically sound and is known for always piloting a defensively solid team. This is the main reason he was with the North American team at the World Cup.
However, why isn’t this approach translating over to the Arizona Coyotes?
This isn’t an overreaction to the Coyotes having their worst start in franchise history. It has been accumulating over the past several seasons with the organization.
The last two seasons have been tough to watch for fans.
Defensively this team has been atrocious, which is the one thing this team should be able to hang it’s hat on due to Tipp’s style. As we’ve seen with Mike Babcock in Toronto last season and previously Peter Laviolette in Nashville, to name two examples, the system should shine through regardless of personnel.
For whatever reason, it hasn’t here in the desert.
Although ex-General Manager Don Maloney was “potentially” tanking, the players in that locker room were never quitting.
A professional athlete would never tank for a draft pick.
Since the Coyotes’ miraculous run in the 2012 playoffs, things have been trending down.
The Coyotes record the past four seasons is 117-137-40. The rebuttal to that stat is that ownership uncertainty and arena issues have possibly played a factor.
The Arizona Coyotes were purchased on August 5, 2013 by IceArizona. They have been extremely active with the team and have made the resources available for the team succeed.
Those resources being available – and sometimes remaining unused – was part of the reason Don Maloney was sent packing this summer.
Since the purchase of the team in 2013, the Coyotes are 96-119-31. The issues of ownership uncertainty are not really the problem here.
There was even a rumor that the old Coliseum could be renovated so that the Coyotes could have a home. If that isn’t dedication to hockey in the desert, then what is?
Injuries to key players have definitely cost the team some wins.
Mike Smith has been battling various injuries for a couple years now. He has shown the potential to steal a game here and there and that is something the Coyotes have missed.
That is no excuse. Every team in the NHL has injury issues.
It is the coach and general manager’s job to continue to find ways to win hockey games.
The 2016-2017 season is still very young, yet this team looks like the same one that took the ice in previous years.
The same defensive lapses and struggles in the neutral zone. The same inability to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and the same reliance on aging vets for minutes they can’t live up to when young players are available who need those minutes to grow and potentially excel.
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It’s time for Dave Tippett to try something new.
Tippett has always been very adamant that young players need to earn his trust and that’s not an irrational philosophy to have. With that said, the NHL is evolving and younger players are contributing and are having prominent roles.
Young players are having an impact in this league. Speed and skill is the name of the game now.
Arizona has two of the top prospects in the NHL and they are struggling to find playing time.
Christian Dvorak played exactly 8:01 in the team’s 5-4 win on Thursday. The game before that he played 10:43 against the New Jersey Devils.
Dylan Strome has played in 3 games this season, yet the Coyotes are 2-5.
Why aren’t the coaches giving them a chance to prove themselves?
Some of the team’s woes need to fall on the head coach and his staff, not just the players.
The Coyotes haven’t been a winning team for a few years now. With Tipp and his entire staff signing brand new contracts, fans have the right to question their performance.
With the personnel upgrades this offseason, why aren’t the Coyotes showing improvement?
Toronto, Chicago, Boston, and any other major hockey market would have had Dave Tippett on the hot seat a year or two ago after the kind of seasons this team has suffered through since their Western Conference Finals run.
Arizona needs to hold the coaches accountable like it held Don Maloney accountable.
Dave Tippett shouldn’t be fired today, tomorrow, or even the next day.
However, he needs to make some changes in this team’s approach.
If not, it might be time for management to force some changes on him to get this team trending in the right direction.