By: Ed Hubbard
Thank the lord that hockey is back. When the puck dropped on Thursday for the start of the 2010-2011 NHL season I could not be happier. But the news gets better for the Hub. I get to write about it.
If the Hub is writing about hockey I have to start with my favorite team, the Phoenix Coyotes. I have to admit that I jumped on to the bandwagon last year. But after last season the desert dogs in Glendale became my favorite Arizona team.
After a one hundred point season and making a playoff appearance fans in Arizona have high expectations for the Yotes.
Offensively the Coyotes look better than last year. With the resigning of Wojtek Wolski, Lee Stemniak and Ray Whitney the Coyotes offense has some new fire power. With the new front line of Wolski Whitney and Doan, watch for the Coyotes to surprise fans and put a lot more points on the board.
Iyla Bryzgalov is good in the net. You do not have to worry about him after he had a great year last year.
What I am concerned about is the new look defense the desert dogs have. The Yotes suffered a huge loss in the off-season after Pittsburgh signed first line defender Zbynek Michalek. But look for the defense’s big leader Ed Jovanovski to help the defense bounce back. New defensemen will have to step up like Derek Morris and Keith Yandle. The Coyotes’ D is hurting right now but I believe they will bounce back and with the help of an improved offense the Coyotes will be even better than their breakout year.
After two games in the Czech Republic against the Boston Bruins the Hub is optimistic. One reason is because of Radim Vrbata. Vrbata showed me a lot last year. I started going to games when he was on a hot streak. It looks like he wants to start the season off smoking. In the season-opener Vrbata clapped in two pucks and had one assist. The Coyotes finished the game with a win 5-2. After a five point game I am impressed with the Coyotes new offense.
But in the second game in Prague the Coyotes were once again humbled with a 3-0 loss. The game showed the weak spot of the Coyotes team, the defense. The d gave up two quick goals in the second period and Iyla Bryzgalov also weathered a storm taking on 37 shots. The Bruins destroyed the Coyotes in shot attempts all night.
For the Coyotes they have to be more aggressive on defense. They have a new high powered offense. To get that the boys upstairs had to sacrifice some defensive talent. But all the talent in the world can’t compare to intense defense. The Yotes d needs to pick up the intensity. With defense like that the Coyotes will have a tough time with Saturday’s opponent, the Detroit Red Wings.
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