The Arizona Coyotes have drawn national attention to themselves with a basic formula that’s not easy to achieve: Winning hockey games on the road!
The Coyotes had a tough November schedule that raised some eyebrows at the beginning of the month. Many local hockey enthusiasts thought that the November results could possibly doom the ‘Yotes’ chances of reaching the playoffs altogether. Some folks anticipated certain losses and thus an early-season dive into the far depths of the Western Conference standings. Coyotes fans, of course, kept their fingers crossed and perhaps said a few November prayers.
I imagine that national hockey fans, however, didn’t give much thought to the Coyotes’ schedule at all, nor did they necessarily care. After all, winning hockey in the Arizona desert has never really been a “thing” except for an aberrational season way, way back in 2011-2012 when the Coyotes lost to the L.A. Kings in the Western Conference finals.
But lo and behold, and perhaps against the greatest of all odds according to some hockey pundits, the Arizona Coyotes not only successfully maneuvered through November’s challenges (beating some powerhouse teams in the process), they continued their impressive journey through the first week of December. In just their past four games on the road alone, the desert dogs managed to snag 6 out of the 8 possible points, beating the Blue Jackets, Flyers, and Blackhawks in their own buildings.
So what do we make of the Coyotes’ somewhat unexpected success? Local fans are giddy as heck and may be pinching themselves to see if it’s all been a nice dream. I imagine all ‘Yotes fans everywhere are smiling about now too. But what about those hockey nuts that live and breathe hockey outside of this desert oasis, regardless of their locales?
Those that know NHL hockey best and those that follow it religiously have slowly, and perhaps reluctantly, recognized the Arizona Coyotes as a legitimate NHL playoff contender. By virtue of their aggressive yet disciplined “ice bag” style of hockey, the team has most often come out as the victors in their hockey games, especially on the road.
Such success enables fans that have never before witnessed the Coyotes grinding, cycling, yet entertaining brand of hockey to see what a talented, speedy, and skillful group of competitors the ‘Yotes have on their roster. The more exposure the Arizona team gets nationally (in this case throughout the US and Canada), the more people realize that the team is competitive and worth watching.
Locally, we know that we can watch and appreciate our talented team on Fox Sports Arizona throughout the regular season. The Coyotes, however, are not normally featured on the national networks and won’t be seen by vast hockey audiences until the playoffs begin. Thus, the fans need to see the Arizona Coyotes in person.
The Coyotes are about to embark on their December schedule at home beginning with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night at Gila River Arena. Come on down to witness some competitive and entertaining hockey. Let’s go Coyotes!