Radim Vrbata

One thing the Coyotes could use? Goals


We talked earlier today about how defense is a strength of the Phoenix Coyotes. One thing that sticks out as a sore point for the team, however, is offense.

Take a look at their goals per-game averages have looked each of the last five seasons (NHL rank in parenthesis):

2012-2013:  2.52 (21)
2011-2012:  2.56 (18)
2010-2011:  2.76 (14)
2009-2010:  2.57 (24)
2008-2009:  2.50 (26)

That kind of offensive output isn’t very good. It also shows the bell curve of how things have gone recently.

In speaking with Coyotes GM Don Maloney, he recognized the lack of offense as an issue he’d like to still address. Adding Mike Ribeiro as a free agent this summer will help. His past with coach Dave Tippett saw him produce his best offensive seasons in Dallas. That history appealed to both player and GM alike.

Will it be enough to add more goals? That’s debatable.

Maloney has said there’ll be competition for as many as three forward spots in training camp. Youngsters like Max Domi and Henrik Samuelsson will get a shot at making the team along with players from their AHL team in Portland (Chris Brown and Lucas Lessio to name two).

The Coyotes have done well enough in the past to fill needs from within, but if that’s what they have to do this season you can almost expect more of the same from last year. That puts pressure on Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, and Antoine Vermette to step up their games.

If that’s what it boils down to, goalie Mike Smith has to have a strong bounce-back season for the Coyotes to make a run at the postseason.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
1 Comment

Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
1 Comment

It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.