It’s Thanksgiving, which means people all over the country will be gathering around a table in order to give thanks for what they have.
Here’s what you can be thankful for if you’re an Arizona Coyotes fan.
5. That the team is competitive – Nobody wanted to endure a repeat of last season’s hopeless, 56-point debacle: not fans, not owners, not management, not coaches, nor players. We are only a quarter of the way through the season but the Coyotes are at least on the edge of the playoff race. Lottery talk and Auston Matthews’ name have been replaced by hockey talk and Max Domi.
4. That Dave Tippett is still the coach – When a team misses the playoffs three straight seasons, somebody’s head usually rolls, but the Coyotes coach remains and is smashing those ill-conceived notions that he doesn’t know how to coach skill or youth. Tippett has an out-clause in his contract that allows him to leave after this season in the event of an ownership change (which happened with Andrew Barroway). Will he see this franchise’s transition through to the end and reap the rewards?
3. That the future looks bright – Max Domi and Anthony Duclair have already proven they can produce at the NHL level. Dylan Strome, Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak and other prospects are champing at the bit to do the same. Potential must still be realized, but with the talent the Coyotes have stockpiled in juniors, Arizona’s odds of a dynamic hockey future are greatly improved.
2. That Shane Doan is still a Coyote – He turned 39 in October and his contract expires after this season. Doan wants to keep playing and the Coyotes say they want him to remain a part of the organization. Nothing is certain, however, so take the season to appreciate a guy who has literally donated blood, sweat and tears to just one franchise his entire 20-year career, while representing it with grace, openness and that rarest of human virtues: genuine humility.
1. That they’re still here – Think about all the relocation rumors that proved to be false over the past five years. Winnipeg, Quebec, Seattle, Las Vegas…The Coyotes need a new home closer to their fan base downtown or in the East Valley. That will take a major financial commitment from investors yet unseen, but the first choice for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the IceArizona ownership group has always been and continues to be staying put.