It goes without saying that the Arizona Coyotes organization envies the attention paid to the high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs despite their season not quite going according to plan. I’m referring to the Leafs plan, as we know that the Coyotes haven’t yet revealed a plan.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Arizona Coyotes are on polar opposites of the NHL’s spectrum. By that I mean while the heretofore “we walk on water” Leafs are getting roasted as disappointing, underachieving losers in Ontario and throughout hockey-obsessed Canada by getting beaten by the Montreal Canadiens in a 7-game series, the Coyotes landscape is currently as barren as the desert between Phoenix and Yuma. Everyone and their brothers (and sisters) knew that it was inevitable that the Leafs were destined for great things in the NHL playoffs this season, until they weren’t.
In contrast, the Arizona Coyotes, an Arizona-based, desert-dwelling professional hockey team scheduled to play in the NHL’s Central Division come October, have been pretty much forgotten since their elimination from the postseason in early May. Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe has been doing damage control since the team’s collapse and elimination, trying to explain to fire-breathing Leafs fans and the media how a stacked team with so many talented players got erased from the playoff schedule.
The Arizona Coyotes’ head coach had nothing to say about Toronto’s misfortunes, however, because he doesn’t yet exist. That’s alright though, because General Manager Bill Armstrong and his associates (if there are any left) are very busy behind the curtains selecting exactly the right coach for the Desert Dogs and their as-yet-to-be-determined style of play. Once the coach is on board, the Coyotes system will be revealed to the masses, which will hopefully include the actual players responsible for implementing the system on the ice beginning in October.
Some may say that it’s unfair to compare the renowned Toronto Maple Leafs and their “hockey is my life” faithful to the 25-year-old Arizona Coyotes and their lack of success on the ice. Yotes fans are as dedicated and faithful as any other teams’ supporters but haven’t always had a competitive team to get crazy about. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to be able to complain that our stars let us down in a playoff series but be able to say that we’ll get ’em next year!?
As we all watch the incredibly exciting Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s fun to wonder if any of the players we’ve seen and grown to admire due to their hustle, their fire, and their skill could end up on the Coyotes roster. At the very least, the remaining playoff teams all have players with the attributes that we as Yotes fans would like to see wearing the Coyotes’ crests. Only time will tell, but let’s hope there’s something positive on the horizon. Let’s go Coyotes!