Coyotes Roundtable Part 1

In order to pass the summer time and keep hockey in the forefront, I asked some fellow Coyotes bloggers and friends to do a roundtable discusssion about the past season.  It should be interesting because it is a very diverse group!

AJ: ME! 😀  Twitter: @Yotesgurl

Michael is a Coyotes fan who also plays hockey………. in Perth, Australia.  He may be the Coyotes most long-distance fan, but he is very knowledgeable, especially about the prospects we have coming up the pipe!

Ashley is a season ticket holder who is originally from the Toronto area and her other team is the Leafs.  She is apparently ok with losing teams 😀 Twitter: @canadayotesfans

CK is a Coyotes fan that likes to play goalie in his spare time.   We are working on getting him a fake Finnish birth certificate so he gets drafted.  He also runs Free Tacos For All.  Check it out for all your AZ sports needs.  Twitter: @ckinaz

Jordan is a hockey fanatic who also loves the Flyers (I look the other way).  He is a main contributer over at Five For Howling.  They have a great daily Coyote links post that he does. Twitter @jordanellel

Mo runs THE blog you go to when you want serious Coyotes information.  She has been super busy this year fighting for the team to stay and has become a fixture at the Glendale City Council meetings.  Check out her blog! Coyotes Hip Shot Blog. Twitter: @coyoteshipcheck

They were kind enough to answer my questions and they will be broken up 5 posts.  I hope you enjoy!

1.  If you could take two players and build your own around them, who would they be?  (Keep in mind contract and age)

AJ: I would take Hanzal and Yandle.  If you told me a year ago that I would be choosing to build a team around Yandle, I would punch you in the face and call you a liar.  But alas, Yandle is the type of offensive-minded Dman that would be needed to compliment the defensively responsible, forechecking, brutal offense that would be built around Hanzal.

Michael: probably the hard working spirit of Fiddler + the crazy desert ninja scoring skills of Stempniak.

Ashley: Lombardi – Young, power forward who is going to grow into a great leader! And cause its a given, Doan – cause he is just Doan.

CK: If I’m building a team it’s going to be around two things: defense and leadership.  Since I promised I wouldn’t answer Doaner for every question, I’ll pick Jarome Iginla for the leader and captain of my team.  He hustles, fights, scores, sets a great example, and looks to always have fun doing it.  You can tell he’s hung out with Shane Doan before!  On defense: Zdeno Chara.  He’s a force, well rounded, contributes on the power play, has a history of ending the season with a good +/-, can goon it up if needed, and he’s tall.  Yea yea yea, I know I didn’t pick Ovi/Crosby, any younger stars, or a superstar goalie, but this is my team, and I want Chara and Iginla.  They both don’t get hurt either… I think they could both play for another 10 years.

Jordan: My first guy is probably my favorite player in all of hockey, Mike Richards of the Flyers.  He does everything…plays center, kills penalties, controls a powerplay, hits guys, fights when necessary, has matured into a bona fide leader.  Plus, he’s 25 and signed through 2019/20 for just $5.75M/season.  To me, he is one of those complete players like Iginla and Lecavalier, but a bit younger and cheaper.  Then I’d want to grab a d-man, and I’d take Drew Doughty from the Kings.  He’s got tremendous skills on both sides of the puck as he has shown not only with the Kings, but in Vancouver as well playing for Team Canada.  He’s 19 and only signed for another year on his entry-level deal, but he’ll be well worth whatever money LA throws at him.

Mo: I don’t think we have two players like that.  I could take a line, but not just two players. (Especially since I would have to take Bryz and I can’t build a team around just him and Z).

There will be lots of this. Yandle's a hugger.

2.  What on-ice moment/play/shift stands out in your mind from the last season that represented the season as a whole?

AJ:  When James Neal sealed his fate as my mortal enemy by hurting Prucha in the last game before the Olympic break, it was bad.  Very bad.  But Hanzal, who is NOT a good fighter, was simmering.  He was pissed.  And after Prucha was stretchered off and play resumed, Hanzal stood up for his linemate against a more experienced fighter.  It was representative of how bonded our whole team was.  When someone was in trouble, we had their back.

Michael: Probably our comeback win in Detroit when Jovo scored in the few seconds to tie the game and then Doan scored in OT to win it. In the 2008-09 season the Yotes would have just faded off, so this shows how far we’ve come under Tippet.

Ashley: The Winnik single handed domination on the penalty kill.

CK: The end of the shutout win at home in December vs Minnesota.  Gave the Yotes a 5 game winning streak and ended the Wild’s 5 game win streak.  Fiddler dropped bombs on James Sheppard after the end of the game. Yandle high fived Bryz. Aucoin dragged Owen Nolan out of the scrum.  Sent a “We’re for real, and don’t F with us either” message to the league.

Jordan: I think it was the entire final 2 minutes and OT of the nationally televised game in Detroit. The Coyotes found themselves in a 2 goal hole late in the game and scored 2 with the empty net to force OT and then Shane Doan worked some magic down low to net the game winner.  Tremendous game, particularly when combined with our first Coyotes Tweet-up that almost failed miserably to find a bar in Phoenix that had Versus where a few underage folks could join us…

Mo:  The shift that Wisniewski hit Doaner. The boys all went to war, standing up for their Captain, whether they could fight or not.  And Doaner himself coming back from what seemed like a sure concussion, to not only battle, but to whip Wizzer’s butt.  That’s who we are, we don’t take any crap from anybody, and we always come back from adversity, stronger, meaner, and more determined.

3.  What player surpassed your expectations this past season?

AJ: The obvious answer is Yandle and Yandle ABSOLUTELY did surpass my expectations.  I somehow went from yelling YANDLE! in an angry mother tone to yelling YANDLE! in an excited way!  I will go with the less-obvious answer of Korpikoski. Korps was a healthy scratch for a lot of the start of the season and didn’t look like he was going to move into the lineup any time soon.  But by the end of the year, Korps showed his mettle and was invaluable on the PK and great at battling in the corners.

Michael: Yandle, who lead our defensemen in points. Great season for him that I probably didn’t expect. Also Aucoin, when we signed him I bet everyone thought we were crazy, Aucoin and the Yotes showed them wrong.

Ashley:  If you know me, you can anticipate my answer.  As much as it PAINS me to say this, my answer is Keith Yandle.  I went into this season HATING him with a lot of passion, but over the year he forced me to start liking him by playing better AND forcing signed memorabilia on me.  And, he makes me laugh. STUPID YANDLE!

CK: Yandle stepped up the most from what I though we would see from him.  I can’t wait for his offensive side to further develop in the future!

Jordan: I think the quickened evolution of Keith Yandle was probably the most surprising thing this year as he simply continues to excel and gain confidence in all facets of the game.  I fully expect him to be the Coyotes stud defenseman for years to come.  Along the same lines, Ed Jovanovski came closer to being the $6.5 Million man that the Coyotes signed as a free agent.  Although it still wasn’t exceptional play, it was a welcome improvement from last year.  Finally, I’d say Wolski and Stempniak certainly were much better than I thought they would be and jumped right in to really propel the Coyotes forward after the deadline.

Mo: Yandle — I didn’t think he could overcome his defensive problems enough to make his offensive talents worth keeping him… he’s done all that this season and more.

Keith Yandle's defensively responsible twin Heath Yandle!

Look for Parts 2 to 5 coming soon!

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