Before this season began, if you were to tell a Phoenix Coyotes fan that they would be tied for first place in the Western Conference with nine games left in the season, they probably would've laughed you out of town.
Guess what? The Coyotes are tied for first place with nine games left in the season. Thanks to the good fortunes 'Yotes fans have been experiencing all season, though, they're starting to nitpick a bit.
9 in a row! Franchise record! WTF?!?! What more can you ask for? Seriously, Coyotes fans...what more can you possibly ask for?
Actually, there is one thing I could ask for. Win some games in regulation, or at the least in the OT period. Don't get me wrong - I want the Coyotes winning lots of games however they manage it. And the shootout is there to be taken advantage of and I am happy they are finally good at the shootout. However, the Coyotes need to remember that in the postseason (where we are headed in 24 short days!!!), there is no shootout, no matter how long the Coyotes keep the game tied. I have no doubt that the Coyotes will be able to win these close games during the postseason, but I'd like to see them take that mindset right now. Push it as hard as you can during the OT boys...I'm happy however we win these games, especially if we can takeover first in the Pacific, but let's get adjusted to winning during sudden death.
Meanwhile, in San Jose, where they're faced with the very real possibility of dropping out of the top three in the conference now, they're getting a little panicky.
To be quite honest, this is a useless endeavor. You cannot get worse than losing to Edmonton following porous after porous performances after the Olympic Break. The Sharks as a whole have hit rock bottom at this point, and anything from here on out is just a situation where you have begun to coast along a plateau of pain.
It has crossed the threshold from concerning to the absurd.
It has leaped off that precipice. And like lemmings to the sea, the city of San Jose has followed suit.
The way this team is constructed puts a heavy emphasis on the system. Cutting backdoor in the offensive zone, far-side wingers generating speed in the neutral zone, making sure the forwards are working hard to open a passing lane between the circles to receive a breakout pass in the defensive zone, winning puck battles along the boards, all of these comprise facets of this system. And the Sharks are going to live and die by that system.
Should be quite the interesting final two weeks of the season in the Pacific...