It is hard to imagine how many Coyote fans can remember having a season like this. What has been even more difficult is to watch a team lose leads in the third period, fall apart defensively, and sulk in sorrow trying to regroup on what happened. Many of the personnel threatened that near the trade deadline, nobody was safe (except for Shane Doan of course).
And by golly, they were true to their word. Here are five things we have learned from their eight game losing streak.
- The team has waved the white flag.
If you consider at this point a team that has fallen off any chance at a playoff run, general manager Don Maloney and company had to part ways with one of the most recognizable veterans. Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle, who were long time Coyotes and fan favorites, were sent off within a matter of hours before the trade deadline. Devan Dubnyk, the backup goalie for Mike Smith, had shown at times he had to be the man to work in front of the net. Instead, the Coyotes knew that they had to work around Smith, and letting Dubnyk go for some value had to be done. Regardless, the Coyotes have mailed in this season, which will make things tough to watch as a fan.
- Arizona has begun to rebuild for next season and beyond.
Even with sending this season off, you have to wonder how serious this team has become. There were reasons why Dave Tippett took over for Wayne Gretzky and rebuilt their farm franchise. There were reasons why after such a horrible 2008-2009 season, the team turned things around quickly, winning a franchise record 50 games. A team who at the time was owned by the NHL had to act quickly and turned things around. It is hard to tell right now if any of the acquisitions will make a difference, but having Max Domi is a great athlete to build around. Obtaining first and second round draft picks in 2015 will mean having a chance to grab centers Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel is a great possibility.
- Shane Doan needs to retire this year (or part ways).
As sad as this may sound, even the most loyal athletes need to hang up their skates at some point. It is so hard to see such a dedicated athlete suffer through a season the Coyotes have had. If Shane Doan were to part ways and either retire or play for another team, many Coyote fans would appreciate it. Doan had become one of the few athletes who stayed with one team in his career, and is the last player who is still around dressed as an original Winnipeg Jet. The man needs to hoist the Stanley Cup at some point, but he most likely won’t do it in Arizona.
- Fans are still not showing up to games.
It is hard to say at this point a team that has struggled to put bodies in seats. Currently in their second year in their five-year lease, the Coyotes are still third to last in attendance. That does not bode well as they have lost even more money this season. Losing $24 million last season does not bode well for a team that is still on the cusp of relocation. Which means…
- Its fan base needs to do a better job with dedication.
There are only a handful of cities who have all four professional franchises. Even Los Angeles is deprived of an NFL team, and yet they are working to get three (which may be highly unlikely). The sport of hockey has risen in Phoenix, but the interest in the Coyotes has stayed neutral. Seattle is still a viable option, but hoping for a strong next season if they are to clean house this year is very important. Making the playoffs may just not be enough.