Arizona Coyotes Uninterested in Competing Early, Sharks Make Them Pay

Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arizona Coyotes again seemed uninterested in playing any serious hockey from the start against the San Jose Sharks and lose, 4 to 2.

On a night when the 4th place St. Louis Blues played one heck of an impressive game in a playoff-like atmosphere against the Wild in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Arizona Coyotes dilly-dallied around the ice in the first period of their game against the Sharks, and doomed themselves as a result.

For the second time in three nights, the Arizona Coyotes showed little fire early against the San Jose Sharks, and it seemed as though at least some of the players’ hearts and minds were elsewhere. It only took one minute and twelve seconds for Evander Kane to score the Sharks’ first goal of the period, and at 10:06 into the period Sharks’ forward Rudolfs Balcers (common spelling) scored their second. About 4 minutes later, Kevin Labanc scored the Sharks third of the period, and that, my friends, was basically that.

Does anyone see a problem here, perhaps the hint of a disturbing pattern of play that has reared its ugly head at precisely the wrong time? Should the Coyotes ask the NHL for permission to start their games at the beginning of the second period? Holy smokes!

Are you perplexed at how an NHL team fighting for its potential playoff life can be so discombobulated and downright embarrassing to watch? Following the game, Coach Rick Tocchet said that a couple of his players didn’t make the right reads, and the team went down by three goals early in the game because of it. Were you convinced that the Coyotes hearts were ever in this game and, if not, wondered where they were?

Thank goodness this disappointing season is nearly over, and General Manager Bill Armstrong can begin tooling his 2021-22 team toward being consistently competitive, with or without Rick Tocchet.

Thankfully, the Coyotes’ Phil Kessel was able to cut the lead to two with a goal on a delayed power play opportunity at 15:47 of the first period, and just 4:40 into the second period, Yotes forward Johan Larsson scored the Desert Dogs’ second goal on a great play by Niklas Hjalmarsson. Their efforts made the game look a bit less than an unmitigated disaster. But that was it. Two goals. Thanks for coming everyone, and drive home safely!

Do you have any glimmer of hope that, as the Coyotes jump from the frying pan into the fire against the red-hot Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and Saturday nights, there will be any sort of victory celebration at Gila River Arena? Of course there will be! It will almost certainly involve the VGK and their raucous supporters, however, not the Coyotes faithful. That’s a shame because Coyotes fans have already suffered for 25 years and deserve better. They certainly don’t deserve that indignity or humiliation – ever.

Can you imagine the day when all facets of the Coyotes system of play are clicking and the team is a resounding success? Nah, me neither, but we can dream!