It was only one game, but what a game it was.
The Phoenix Coyotes’ 4-1 win over the New York Rangers Thursday was a complete effort in the team’s first game under new ownership, and though it would be unwise to read too much into it, goalie Mike Smith told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo it is all part of the organization’s transformation.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Smith said. “I talked about it before the start of the season, it felt different coming to the rink, it felt different around the city.
“And [Thursday] night was a great example of how we expect it to be now with ownership stability.”
Smith said much of the credit goes to fans who have stuck with the team throughout the last few years when the team lacked ownership.
“And now we’ve got an owner who were really grateful for, and I think the fans really deserve it.”
Smith’s excitement about IceArizona Acquisition Co., which purchased the team, was evident. He says it’s obvious the group wants to win, but is sure to leave the hockey decisions to the hockey people.
“I think that’s all you can ask for from the owner,” he said. “Is just to give you the best product on the ice to be able to compete to win every night, and I think they’ve done a great job of that so far.”
Smith believes the impact of having stability at the top can be seen in the amount of talent that now permeates the roster.
“We have better depth now,” he said, noting how key guys like Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker and Mike Ribeiro did not contribute much offensively, yet the team still scored four goals. “And that’s exciting to know that we can score four goals without depending on one or two players like we have in the past.”