Coyotes GM John Chayka is striving for a higher standard
Coyotes GM John Chayka is enjoying the team’s recent success with four wins in its last five games and not falling into any sort of superstitious trap.
“I don’t believe in superstition,” said Chayka, who joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf Wednesday.
Two successful months at the end of the season have not made the early season struggles that have kept the Coyotes on the bottom of the Western Conference standings less painful.
“We have a different standard that we are trying to get to here,” Chayka said. “Playing good hockey down the stretch is part of the process, but it’s not the definition of success.”
Transitioning with a first-year head coach in Rick Tocchet coupled with the departure of 14-year captain Shane Doan, improvement was the most positive takeaway for a young squad that began the season with just one win in 13 games in the month of October.
Chyaka’s young roster was composed of three players under the age of 21 in Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer and Jakob Chychrun.
The return of goalie Antti Raanta who is in the top 3 in goals against average and save percentage, a second half resurgence of veteran Oliver Ekman-Larsson and continuity with 27-year-old newcomer Derek Stepan helped the team gel in the latter portion of the season, leading to more wins.
“I think our group has been the most improved in the league,” Chayka said. “We made some tweaks, we made some adjustments, but by and large I think we pretty much stuck to the plan here.”
The Coyotes wrap up the season with a road game against the Canucks on Thursday at 7 p.m. and the home finale against the Ducks on Saturday at 6 p.m. Both games can be heard on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.