2009 NHL Preview: Phoenix Coyotes

We’ve partnered with On Goal Analysis to bring you a team-by-team preview of the upcoming NHL season. (Just scroll down on the OGA website and hit the calendar.) Here is the preview for the Phoenix Coyotes…


* Wow. What a summer it’s been for hockey in the desert. Or the potential vanishing of the same. If you have yet to hear/read about the current bankruptcy hearings in court for the Phoenix Coyotes, all you really need to know at this point is the Phoenix (Glendale) Coyotes are staying put. For now. For a brief history, there’s this: New arena built far from fan-base and team does not win enough games to convince locals to drive to Glendale. Guy from Canada wants to buy the team and park it near Toronto. NHL doesn’t want to move/close/admit defeat/whatever with the club in Phoenix and now, temporarily, owns the franchise. It’s a nasty affair and is still unsettled, but an emergency meeting for the parties involved has been called for by the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the case. For more on this recent development, see the Coyotes site here.

* Everything typed above could change with the stroke of a pen from a judge. Everything typed above could change if this team comes out of the gates strong this season, wins and the fans remember where they put their car keys. The area is a tough market for a ‘fourth’ sport and this may be a case of sports-saturation. But considering this part of the southwestern US houses what are lovingly referred to as ‘Snow Birds’, you would think some of these Canadian and Michigan ex-pats would get their butts in the seats and enjoy some hockey. I’m just saying…

* Bridging the gap between management maneuvers and player moves, is the coach. In short, Wayne Gretzky may or may not still be the coach of the Coyotes. With his ties in ownership of the team and part of the bankruptcy filing, Gretzky is low-profile these days (read:AWOL) and the Coyotes are working through camp and the pre-season without him. Assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson is acting as head coach while the true status of Gretzky is unknown. He is still listed as the coach but is not coaching and the local media and fans are thinking a fresh start (no Great Big Salary behind the bench) might be the right skate forward.

Click here to read the rest of the preview (which includes the site’s unique Playoff Qualifying Curve and fantasy information) at the On Goal Analysis site.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Couch Potato Alert: 3/20

Welcome to the longest-running game show on television today, How’s Your Bracket. I heard that there’s going to be college basketball and more college basketball on television this weekend. March Madness is upon us, and the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament really brings out school pride in alumnus all across the country. Today, you can wear your Stephen F. Austin or North Dakota State t-shirt proudly.

All times ET…

Friday, 8:30 PM: Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs (NBA TV)
Saturday, 8 PM: Boston Celtics @ Memphis Grizzlies (NBA TV)
Sunday, 1 PM: Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons (ABC)
Sunday, 6 PM: Cleveland Cavaliers @ New Jersey Nets (NBA TV)

Saturday, 9 PM: Vancouver Canucks @ Phoenix Coyotes (CBC)
Sunday, 12:30 PM: Philadelphia Flyers@ Pittsburgh Penguins (NBC)

NCAA Tournament
Friday, 12 PM-12:30 AM: First round action from various sites (CBS)
Saturday, 1 PM-10:30 PM: Second round action from various sites (CBS)
Sunday, 12 PM-7 PM: Second round action from various sites (CBS)

World Baseball Classic
Saturday, 9 PM: Semifinal: Korea vs. Venezuela from Dodger Stadium (ESPN)
Sunday, 8 PM: Semifinal: Japan vs. United States from Dodger Stadium (ESPN)

Calgary Flames burn out phone lines at NHL trade deadline

This was a strange NHL trading deadline. I was a little disappointed in the lack of big name players changing uniforms. In total, 22 trades (involving 47 players) were completed. And the biggest name that was traded (Olli Jokinen) has never played in a playoff game in his 10-year career.

The Calgary Flames became a legitimate contender in the Western Conference after acquiring D Jordan Leopold from the Colorado Avalanche and Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes in separate deadline deals. Leopold is a great fit that could make their backline the most imposing in the league. Jokinen played his best hockey under current Flames coach Mike Keenan during their time together in Florida. He is a great scorer but not a great on-ice leader, though Calgary offers him a fresh start. It’s a veteran squad that will not ask Jokinen to provide leadership in the locker room, just puckss in the net.

A nice day’s work for Coyote GM Don Maloney, as his agenda yesterday was to cut payroll…

Read the rest after the jump...

NHL Trade Deadline: Deal or no deal?

With hours remaining before the NHL’s trading deadline at 3 PM (ET) today, hockey fans want to know…

Who’s buying?

Who’s selling?

Who’s going to be traded?

Rumors are running rampant, and it’s very hard to distinguish fact from fiction. 25 of 30 teams in the league have a realistic shot of making the playoffs, and nine of them are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. You can expect a number of trades today, as a combined 50 deals were executed at the trade deadline in the past two years.

Here are six likely candidates:

Chris Pronger – D, Anaheim Ducks
His immediate impact as an offensive defenseman could be very beneficial to any team that would acquire him. The Ducks are looking to make a major roster overhaul this off-season, and cannot afford to keep Pronger’s large contract ($6.25 million) on the cap next season. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after the 2009-10 season.

Read the rest after the jump...

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