Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Penalties Kill Champions

You're not going to hear me say that Jim Balsillie had the right idea when he was attempting to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. However, with the NHL footing the bills for the bankrupt franchise, the youthful Coyotes are showing the world why they might be a surprise this season. Yes, it's still very early, but to go into the Stanley Cup Champions' house, kick their dog, drink their beer fridge dry, and eat all their snacks, that shows some moxie from the upstart Coyotes. And the Penguins? They had better learn to stay on the ice and out of the penalty box. If you can't kill penalties, you aren't going to be successful. After watching the Penguins get man-handled by the faster, hungrier Coyotes, it's time to look at a few headlines from the hockey world.

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have another bill to pay after the NHL ruled that head coach Ron Wilson's comments regarding the Leafs' interest in the Sedin twins was tampering. Leafs GM Brian Burke was excused from the ruling, meaning that Ron Wilson was the only person to have his hands slapped. The NHL has ruled the matter closed, and neither team is to make additional comments regarding the findings, but I'm sure that there won't be many Christmas cards exchanged between Burke, Wilson, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis.
  • Speaking of the Canucks, Darcy Hordichuk was fined $2500 by the NHL for his hit on Columbus' Jared Boll. Boll had been checked cleanly by Vancouver's Rick Rypien before Hordichuk hit Boll from behind, driving his head into the dasher. Boll had to be helped off the ice. Personally, there should be higher fines for collisions involving a player's head. But that's just me, and I don't have any jurisdiction over that.
  • If you've made it this far, you have approximately 2.5 hours left to enter the HBIC "Firsts" Contest. I can assure you that no one, at this time, has gotten all of the answers right, but some of the entries have been impressive. And I want to be clear: these are hockey firsts, not just NHL firsts. Please read the questions carefully. Prizes will be awarded tomorrow!
  • I have to say that the AHL's Rochester Americans do things right. First, they announced they were returning to their traditional jersey colours this season, and then they roll out these amazing throwback uniforms. The Amerks are a flagship franchise in the AHL for a reason. This helps to cement that view.
  • I spoke a little about the new mascot for the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday as the team used its splash page on their website to announce a new mascot. Howler, a Yeti, was the Avs' previous furry friend who would entertain the crowd. The problem is that the mascot at the top of the page in the Coyotes uniform is also named Howler. Instead, the Avalanche went with a familiar image on mountains. They introduced Bernie the St. Bernard on Saturday, much to the delight of the crowd. I like this idea, and we'll see how Bernie fares this season.
I have to say that the win by the Coyotes tonight was huge. If the Coyotes can build on their 2-0 start, they might be able to get some fans through the turnstiles. If they can attract fans with their uptempo, high-energy play, there may be a chance of saving the franchise in the desert. But, and I say this honestly, they have to continue to play hard and earn their wins. Nothing comes easy, and this uphill climb is just starting. However, the Coyotes have played two complete games thus far, and that looks good on them early in the season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


mtjaws said...

As a Coyote fan and Penguins hater, I loved seeing this result. I hope PHX can keep winning, get those fans, and show they can survive there. I think they did smart by going outside for a new coach, not just promoting one of Wayne's assistants.

Jim BC said...

OK so I'm old school... I don't want the Coyotes to win. I don't want them to survive in the desert. I want them gone. I want the Thrashers gone, the Lightning, the Predators etc. Teebz, you pointed out the fact that without a team in Phoenix, one of the top 10 cities in the US population wise, a large NHL TV contract is out of the question. I've had some time to think about this and my response is - "so what?".

I'm not suggesting that all these teams move to Hamilton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Halifax, I'm thinking contraction. Let's get back to 21 teams. I know, it sounds crazy, but I'm old school.

The NHL in the southern states is a complete failure and a 2-0 start for the Desert Dogs is not even going to begin to change things. I realize it's all about the $$ but seriously, why can't it be about simply playing in the best league on the planet? I grew up a huge Habs fan and remember just wanting to play in the NHL, even for the despised Leafs as long as they wanted me! Can't we get back to that?