The Arizona Coyotes are about to kick off the second half of their season in Anaheim tonight. Let’s hope they are prepared to show the rest of the Pacific Division that they’re still relevant.
Much of the NHL has already played a game or two following the all star break, and it appears that the top Pacific Division teams are continuing where they left off. The Vancouver Canucks have won 3 games in a row and have 60 points. The Calgary Flames, even though they’ve lost 2 straight, have 58 points and are in second place as of today. The Edmonton Oilers have won their past two games and are tied with the ‘Yotes and the Golden Knights with 57 points apiece.
That’s all nice to know, of course, but now it’s time to see how the Coyotes respond after their layoff. I wonder what went through Rick Tocchet’s mind when he saw the best of the Pacific Division’s talent compete right in front of him this past weekend. Might it have been “wow, I wish we had that guy!” or perhaps “yikes, we’re in trouble!”?
Regardless, the reality facing the Coyotes is that they have to create and maintain some momentum beginning tonight against the Ducks. They play the Los Angeles Kings at home tomorrow night, and to win in Anaheim and have that momentum carry through to Thursday night and beyond would be the perfect scenario in preparation for the Chicago Blackhawks at home on Saturday.
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The Coyotes were trending downward prior to the break, but that’s history now. Beginning tonight, let’s hope we are witness to a refreshed, rejuvenated, reinvigorated pack of Coyotes determined to put the league on notice that they are legitimate contenders for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Desert Dogs need to win their critical intradivision contests, and with only 31 games remaining, the time is now. Eleven of the remaining 31 are within the Division. The ‘Yotes are also facing some very strong Eastern Conference teams soon, many of them at home.
The bottom line is that we’ll all have to wait and see if there are any positive changes in effort or tweaks to the system in what the Coyotes do. Their relevance in the quest for a playoff spot, much less first place, is on the line, and the fingernail-biting of Coyotes’ fans may begin much sooner than we anticipated.
The remainder of the season is going to be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, and we’ll all be resorting to scoreboard and standings-watching every darn day. Let’s stay relevant boys!
Let’s go Coyotes!