GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 27: Mike Smith #41 of the Phoenix Coyotes makes his way to the ice for warm-ups prior to facing the Nashville Predators in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on April 27, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Back in early April, Erik Cole picked Phoenix to win the Stanley Cup


The Phoenix Coyotes are just one win away from advancing to the Western Conference finals. Although secured the third seed in the regular season, that’s a pretty big surprise. The online sports book Bovada has probably been caught off guard.

Before the playoffs began, they gave the Coyotes 40/1 odds to win the Stanley Cup, which put them in a tie for last place with the Ottawa Senators. Perhaps they should have consulted with Montreal Canadiens forward Erik Cole, who predicted that the Coyotes would win the Stanley Cup back in early April.

That being said, obviously they haven’t won anything yet. The Los Angeles Kings are also looking pretty good right now and the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators aren’t out. That’s not even getting into the Eastern Conference, which is starting to look murkier, but still features four interesting squads.

Still, the Phoenix Coyotes don’t usually get a lot of respect – or attention for that matter. Guys like Shane Doan have dedicated themselves to a team where their struggle to find an owner is the source of intrigue and the actual on-ice product is often treated as an afterthought outside of Glendale.

Winning is forcing people to pay attention to them and, who knows, maybe Cole’s words will prove to be prophetic.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.

On a new contract, Avs don’t dress Stuart in opener

DENVER, CO - MARCH 14:  Brad Stuart #17 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as he skates against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on March 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.

“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”

Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.

The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.