To say that Phoenix has caught the hockey world by surprise is a bit of an understatement. I mean, who knew that Wayne Gretzky was that bad of a coach? Anyway, the ‘Yotes are riding high with their unexpected success and it’s about time for someone to step in and put them in their place. A lot of teams are coming up on the 10-game mark, and the standings should start to make a little more sense now that things have had a chance to shake out.
The Coyotes are young and excited to prove that they’re not total failures. That’s a great feel-good story and it’s cute and all, but they can play Cinderella against other teams. I expect them to come out with a lot of jump and press early as they seek to add the Wings to their list of big name teams they’ve beaten. The Wings need to come out and match them from the start. They’ve had four days off to get their act together, so with any luck, they’ve figured out how to properly execute a line change.
A lot of comments have been made saying that the Wings need this roadtrip to “find themselves” (which begs the question of what they were doing during training camp and for a week in Sweden) and if that’s what it takes, I’m all for it. On some level I get it. During my 7-month exile to the hockey wasteland that is Florida a few years back, that same thing became our group’s unofficial motto. (We even found a job-related theme song.) So I can sort of agree with the notion that hitting the road and leaving behind the distractions of home might be good for the team. On the other hand, I have a hard time believing that 10 days of pillow fights and Apples to Apples tournaments are really going to solve the team’s problems. I guess we’ll find out for better or worse over the course of the next few days.
As of now, I'm reasonably sure that Pavel Datsyuk will be making his triumphant return to the lineup after a two-game hiatus for a mysterious injury. Obviously, this can only mean good things for the team. On top of that, Henrik Zetterberg's finally looking like himself after an uncharacteristically rocky start to the season. Those two need to start getting on the board regularly, because if we learned one thing from the Finals last season, it's that secondary scoring can only carry the team so far if the big guns aren't contributing. At any rate, I’m just ready for some more hockey. I am not a fan of these seemingly interminable four-day breaks in the middle of the season. Let’s play some hockey.