Wayne Gretzky’s touring old timer squad is having a wee bit of trouble getting untracked early on in this NHL season. Currently holding down the last spot in the Pacific and finding that goals against might be a slight problem in the early going, the Coyotes are to say the least finding things a bit challenging.
Wednesday night proved to be a rather tiring night for the gang, as the Detroit Red Wings put the pedal to the metal and stomped on the Dogs by a score of 9-2. Curtis Joseph found that his return to Detroit would not be assisted by any form of defence or back checking and since offence has already been proven to be a bit of a problem, Wednesday night was abandon Curtis night.
By the time that Wayne Gretzky had done the humane thing and replaced Joseph in the nets at the start of the third, the Wings were already far ahead and thinking of double digits.
The experiment of age and youth so far is showing some strains as veterans like Owen Nolan and Jeremy Roenick find it a challenge to get back into the groove of a faster paced and less hitting NHL. Greztky to be fair realizes that Nolan is two years off the shelf is gently easing his former Team Canada team mate into the Coyote lineup, likewise Jeremy Roenick is slowly picking up his game but is nowhere near the level that will bring a Stanley Cup bid to Phoenix anytime soon.
The Phoenix line up is definitely something from that Seventies show, besides Roenick and Nolan who were born in 1970 and 1972 respectively, the Graying Dogs feature Mike Ricci (est.) 1971, as well as ten other Coyotes who were born between 1975 and 1980, while another ten celebrated the years of their birth after 1981 and there’s even one relic of the sixties in Cujo who was a Centennial year baby! As Austin Powers would say, behave baby!
The way that the more seasoned of Coyotes are struggling so far, it’s a good thing that Brett Hull hung up his blades before the season began, if only to give a younger player, say in the late twenties a chance to break into the line up.
The rough start is going to be a test not only for the Coyotes but for their coach as well, a known competitor who must find it frustrating to see his team struggle so much in the early going. The question is will they recover and regroup in time to make things matter at the end of the season or will Wayne just pick up his skates and grab a stick and join the tour himself?
There’s a lot of wisdom and experience on that Coyote line up, sometimes though it’s a case that the mind willing but the body struggles. They aren’t the only team that is having its problems in the early going, Carolina, Calgary and Ottawa are likewise having their troubles, though few if any suspect that those problems will linger over the long haul.
The Coyotes are like the family car, it’s got some good memories and you're rather used to it, but it seems it is having a hard time getting started in the morning.
And maybe, as they learned in Detroit on Wednesday, you don’t want to take it out on the road too far or too often!