After qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs in three straight seasons the Phoenix Coyotes hit a bump in the road last year, failing to finish top 8 in the West. With an 8-3-2 record through the month of October this season, the Yotes appear to be back on track as a playoff team.
The addition of playmaking centre Mike Ribeiro has helped the team offensively, something they struggled at throughout the 2012-13 shortened lockout season. Head coach Dave Tippett and Ribeiro know each other well. They worked together in Dallas from 2006 to 2009. Ribeiro enjoyed his best individual success with Tippett calling the shots for the Dallas Stars. Therefore, it’s no surprise the flashy centre is coming through for his new club. His 9 points aren’t exactly Art Ross material, but the shifty centre is an upgrade down the middle, nonetheless.
New ownership makes playing hockey easier.
The Coyotes ownership concerns were somewhat rectified this past off-season, ensuring more clarity for the team’s players moving forward. For full details on the purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes, read this article by The Canadian Press via CBC Sports.
Stable ownership allows current Coyote players to feel more comfortable about their immediate future. Regarding the peace of mind associated with resolved ownership issues, Captain Shane Doan told Yahoo Sports he stayed in touch regularly with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Bettman said of Doan, “He would call me just so that he could go back either to his wife or the guys in the room and say, ‘No, no, no. We’re not selling the house.'” Quote courtesy of an article by Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports. Read full article here.
Goaltender Mike Smith is earning his contract.
Goaltender Mike Smith, also a former member of Tippett’s Stars, signed a lengthy 6-year deal this past off-season with an annual cap hit of $5.666.667 mil per year. View Coyotes full salary cap at capgeek.com.
So far, the Smith signing looks like a smart move by Coyotes general manager Don Maloney. The newly inked netminder has performed excellently between the pipes for the Desert Dogs through the month of October. Smith’s 0.912 SV% and 2.97 GAA have been strong enough to earn points in 9 of 12 games played this season.
November will be challenging for the Phoenix Coyotes.
The month of November promises new challenges for the Yotes as they try and distance themselves from the pack in what is a very competitive Pacific Division. The Coyotes will do battle with the best from the West throughout the next 30 days of hockey, including 1 game against each of the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks, as well as, the Anaheim Ducks.