Category Archives: Commentary

What Happened to the Arizona Coyotes?

The Arizona Coyotes looked like a playoff team in January but were far out of the race two months later and eliminated this week. Rob Bartnichak of the Sports Quotient asks why:

Just two months ago, the Arizona Coyotes were everybody’s favorite underdog. They sat in second place in the Pacific Division with 48 points, and while they were certainly not the cream of the NHL crop, a certain SQ writer said “their division rivals might just be bad enough, or far away enough, to keep them” in a playoff spot.

Oh, how things have changed. … What happened?

As simple as it sounds, they just haven’t been playing very good hockey all season long, and now it’s finally catching up to them.

His analysis makes use of a relatively new hockey statistic called PDO, which is the sum of a team’s even strength shooting percentage and even strength save percentage. The Coyotes had the fifth-highest PDO in January at 1.015. It fell to 1.003 by March and is currently 0.997. That puts them at 19th out of 30 teams, a big drop in three months.

League Should Look at Hanzal, Gudas Hits

Martin Hanzal of the Arizona Coyotes and Radko Gudas of the Philadelphia Flyers should be punished by the NHL for dirty hits during Saturday’s game, argues the HockeyBuzz blog:

Gudas’ name has come up too many times this season and during his career when it comes to borderline or over-the-line hits. It’s time the NHL does something about it. He’s been one of the Flyers’ best players down the stretch, too, but what’s right is right.

However, the response that Martin Hanzal chose –targeting Claude Giroux for a similarly dirty hit and then intimating afterwards that it was deliberate — is worthy of an in-person hearing and a long suspension.

What we’ve seen a lot in the NHL, though, is that they suspend mostly based on outcome.

Tanguay’s Arrival in Arizona Has Boosted Vermette

The arrival of Alex Tanguay in a trade has been great for the offensive production of Antoine Vermette, observes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic:

Vermette’s surge coincides with Tanguay’s addition to the lineup after the veteran was acquired in a trade from the Avalanche on Feb. 29. The two have combined for 17 points in their first six games together.

“We see the game in a similar way,” Tanguay said. “We like to have the puck. We like to make quick passes and from there, I think we’ve been able to find each other at a consistent level. I still think they’ll be improvement in our games as we go along here. It’s only been six games, and I think that we’ll be able to accomplish some nice things. He’s a very good player. He’s a very smart player. He plays very well both sides with and without the puck, and we kind of know where we’re at so it’s been going well.”

Vermette has seven goals since February. Tanguay will be a free agent after this season. He was traded at the deadline from the Colorado Avalanche with Kyle Wood and Connor Bleackley for Mikkel Boedker.