Coyotes vs Predators: That Old Wacky Coach
It's been almost five months , but hockey is back.
The Coyotes finished their season in a depressing downward spiral that all but guaranteed that their hot start was for naught and that they would miss the playoffs, yet again.
Meanwhile, since most of the NHL doesn't pay attention to the Coyotes they got a massively undeserved reputation as a 'good defensive team' because they got such good goaltending.
In reality, the Coyotes are just a bad team. They aren't good offensively, and they sure as hell are not good defensively.
They were the 8th worst Corsi team, despite having a Hart Trophy worthy goalie, they were ranked 21st in expected goals against. They were ranked 25th in scoring-chances against per minute. They ranked 19th in dangerous scoring chances against per minute.
But they do have an amazing goalie in Darcy Kuemper, and if he is healthy and on his game, the Coyotes could very well permanently solidify that unearned defensive reputation by winning the Stanley Cup.
The Predators are not a great opponent, and are very beatable. By points percentage, they were ranked 17th in the NHL and the Coyotes were ranked 22nd.
Clash of the Titans this is not
More like off-brand Mothra vs a lame Pacific Rim monster.
The Coyotes may not be favored in this series, but they have the best goalie and the best player (Hall) so they should be.
Once again though, I find myself incredibly frustrated with the coach of this team Pickle Rick Tocchet.
The best news about getting a new GM is the almost guaranteed replacement of Tocchet behind the bench. An injury from that Thursday night abomination vs Las Vegas to Nick Schmaltz means that Barrett Hayton might play.
Jesus! This guy.
Not like he's one of the most talented players on a team. Not like the team dresses Lawson Crouse or anything for goddsake.
But of course, since this is Tocchet we are talking about, there is a question of if he might insert Grabner, who is a shadow of his former self.
I am not going to bore anyone with Keys to the Game or whatever, but I think it's pretty obvious that the Coyotes - who are one of the fastest teams in the NHL - need to use their speed to create rushes, and take as many shots as possible because Nashville does not have good goaltending.
The other thing to do is to play aggressive and take advantage of the team's main strength: it's penalty killing. Now, I don't say take penalties on purpose, but given that Nashville is one of the NHL's worst special teams teams, the Coyotes should try to exploit this.
But then again, the Coyotes should also dress their best players and we know Tocchet never does that.
Then again, credit where it's due, because on Thursday he did something I have long wanted and that is to put Connor Gardland up with Big T and Dvorak.
Of course, his second line of Crouse-Stepan-Keller torpedoes the love we were just starting to feel almost instantly. You had four months off and this is your big idea?