Ah yes, it's that time of year again. Hockey season is back! To get you up to speed:
Avs are 2-0
Coyotes are 2-0 (including beating the defending Stanley Cup champs)
Wings are...well, the opposite ;)
Tonight we have a lot of games around the league, including the Avs and then on Saturday, we're heading off to Jobing.com Arena with Philip to see the Coyotes Opening Night WhiteOut. I've never been to one of their white-outs so I'm pretty stoked. Despite having the court case and the prospect of being relocated to Canada, the Coyotes have a lot going for them this year. They definitely seem to have had a fire lit under them, Gretzsky's gone, they actually have a great coach this year, Gretzsky's gone...and as I previously mentioned, they beat Crosby and the Penguins last night. Let me rephrase: They smoked them. They kicked some Penguin booty. They SHUT THEM OUT 3-0. For some reason, I'm hearing Aretha Franklin singing in my head. "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me..."
Brady and I were talking on the drive to work about how the Cardinals had zero respect from most Arizonians prior to shocking everyone and making it to the Super Bowl last year. Over the weekend, there were swarms of people wearing Cardinals shirts and jerseys. People have big Cardinals flags waving on their cars. 3 years ago, they would have been embarrassed. Now games are sold out and not just sold out, they're expensive!
Now, the Coyotes have a pretty good following, but people don't give them a whole lot of respect. Can you imagine if they do really well this year? If they make the playoffs? If the Phoenix Coyotes brought home the Stanley Cup??? Well, for one thing, they would probably prove themselves worthy of staying put. They'd probably get a whole lot more respect from the rest of the league and from local residents. I'm sure a lot of people would turn into fans overnight. Glendale residents who were seeing money signs with Bassilli's offer would probably say they supported the team all along. Basically, this city would go NUTS. It would be awesome.
For all of these reasons, the Coyotes are the only NHL team I wouldn't mind winning the Stanley Cup instead of the Avalanche. Bottom line: I want them to stay. I love going to games. I want to take Kaelyn to games and get her really into the sport. The Coyotes have it in them. They have some great players, including Doan, who I think is probably underrated as far as team captains go. They have a great coach finally. Plus I seriously doubt they want to trade Arizona weather (yes, our summer's are scorching, but the rest of the year is absolutely beautiful) for Canadian winters.
"ICE? You mean igloos and eskimos and ICE?"
Can you say "motivation"?
Now, watching the Avs so far has been interesting. It's like a different team. They have an offense. They have a defense. They already beat the team I despise the most, the Canucks. Again, I rephrase: They shut them out. Heck yes.
My concern is that we have yet to see Peter Budaj. Anderson has been awesome, so I understand keeping him in and continuing the pattern, but I worry about our pup's namesake. I hope he has a good year and gets a chance to play. I hope he stays put in Colorado.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised when they named Foote the new captain. The thought hadn't occurred to me, mainly because he's a defenseman, but I like the idea of him influencing the younger players. He's a tough guy. He's the oldest on the team by 4 years, but don't underestimate him. He "don't take crap from nobody!" Last season, I laughed so much at what he was able to get away with. I wasn't sure if he was staying in Colorado this season so to find out he's not only staying, but he's now the captain, was definitely great news.
Stastny moved up to Assistant, alongside sharp-shooter Hejduk. I see great things continuing in Stastny's future. I think he's laying roots in Denver, considering that's where he went to college as well. I see him as a future Sakic where once he takes over as Captain, he'll be the Captain for the long haul.
The newbies seem to be pretty impressive, even the 18-year-old, and it's so great to see the players who were injured so much last season, like Clark and Svatos, back out on the ice. We lost some great players during the summer--Lappy, most notably (::cries::) and Smyth, though with Sakic retiring, it wasn't much of a surprise, but the current team seems to be working well together.
Now, I have a bone to pick with whoever made up the league schedule. It's been a tradition that the Avs come to Phoenix on New Year's Eve. We at least get to see them play the 'yotes sometime in the first half of the season. This year the first game here in Phoenix is MARCH 4th. Little one's due to arrive somewhere around March 3rd, mind you. Should I not have given birth already or if I'm not in active labor at game start time on the 4th, I shall be there, probably making my Budaj jersey work extremely hard, probably wobbling around on swollen legs and scaring people with my cankles, but I shall be there rooting on our guys.
So yes, hockey season is definitely here. "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."