2011-12 Phoenix Coyotes’ Season Just Around Corner

Aug 25, 2011, 7:15 PM | Updated: 8:17 pm

GLENDALE – I realize it doesn’t feel like it outside in the triple-digit heat, but the Coyotes’ off-season quickly is coming to an end.

In 11 days, the crew at Jobing.com Arena will begin installing the ice for the 2011-12 season, and soon after they’re finished training camp will begin for the rookies and the veterans a week later.

I’m excited for another season of Coyotes hockey to begin. I believe the team is poised for a third consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are just a few of the things I am looking forward to watching on the ice in 2011-12:

• The Home Opener: After starting the season with three games on the road, the Coyotes will play their home opener on Oct. 15 against the newly reborn Winnipeg Jets. The Coyotes, of course, were the Winnipeg Jets before the franchise moved to Phoenix in 1996. The “new” Jets are the old Atlanta Thrashers. I am most eager to witness the vibe in the arena on that night as Coyotes fans defend home turf in round one of what promises to be a fun new rivalry.

• Shane Doan’s 300th Goal/Return to Winnipeg: The Coyotes captain will enter his 16th NHL season just four goals shy of 300 for his career. It will be fun to watch Doan add that goal to his highleet reel. It will also be interesting to see how Doan is received in Winnipeg when the Coyotes play there on Dec. 1. Doan played 74 games for the Jets in 1995-96 before the team moved to Phoenix after that season. He is the only player from the ’95-96 Jets still playing in the NHL.

• Mike Smith As Starter: I can’t wait to see how Mike Smith responds to being a No. 1 goalie in the NHL. I remember witnessing him shut out the Coyotes in his NHL debut in Glendale on Oct. 22, 2006 – against Curtis Joseph no less – and thinking big things were in Smith’s future. I still think that. From what I’ve heard from him and others, he is definitely up for tackling the starting job and, unlike some other goalies, he’s the type of goalie who is endeared by teammates. I am also eager to see his new goalie mask and get the scoop on its design.

• The New Glass: We posted a video this week here at phoenixcoyotes.com about the new NHL-mandated glass surrounding the playing surface inside Jobing.com Arena. It’s much lighter than the glass around the ice in previous seasons and much more flexible. It should make for fewer injuries and some memorable, eye-popping hits. I’m also guessing it will create lots of spilled drinks for fans seated in the first row of seats.

• Raffi Torres Hit/Score: The Coyotes lacked nastiness in the 2011 playoffs but addressed that need just hours after the free-agent signing period began on July 1 when they signed Raffi Torres to a multi-year contract. Torres is one of those players you love to watch when he’s on the ice because not only can he deliver a highlight-reel check he can also score a nifty goal when needed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact Dave Vest at thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.
For information on upcoming Phoenix Coyotes games, please visit http://coyotes.nhl.com

Arizona Coyotes

Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck with Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona...
Associated Press

Clayton Keller’s 14-game point streak snapped as Coyotes get blown out by Sharks

Clayton Keller's 14-game point streak came to an end. It's the longest for a player since the franchise moved from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1995-96.
23 hours ago
Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche with tea...
Arizona Sports

NHL names Coyotes’ Clayton Keller its Third Star of the Month for March

Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller is the NHL's Third Star of the Month for March, the league announced Saturday.
23 hours ago
Roope Hintz #24 of the Dallas Stars skates with the puck while being defended by Victor Soderstrom ...
Associated Press

Stars outshine Coyotes as Keller extends point streak

Clayton Keller assisted on Valimaki’s goal to extend his points streak to 14 games, the longest since the franchise relocated in 1996.
2 days ago
Clayton Keller #9 of the Arizona Coyotes follows play during a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings a...
Arizona Sports

Clayton Keller tracker: The chase for the Coyotes’ single-season points record

Clayton Keller is firing on all cylinders as his Arizona Coyotes hit the final stretch of the 2022-23 season.
23 hours ago
Germany's Philipp Bidoul (22) tries to catch United States' Logan Cooley, right, during second-peri...
Tom Kuebel

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley named finalist for Hobey Baker Award

Arizona Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley was named as a finalist for the most prestigious award in college hockey, the Hobey Baker Award.
2 days ago
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)...
Arizona Sports

How to watch the Suns, D-backs and Coyotes on Friday

It's going to be a busy night of athletics to end March with three of the Valley's four major sports teams in action on Friday.
2 days ago
2011-12 Phoenix Coyotes’ Season Just Around Corner