The Arizona Coyotes return home after a three-game road trip in Canada, having lost six straight dating back to a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 19. They are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but there’s still plenty happening in the desert as general manager Bill Armstrong shifts his focus to the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, in which the club owns seven picks over the first two rounds.
As the Coyotes jockey for lottery odds, however, there’s plenty of news. To start, forward Lawson Crouse was injured recently, and his prognosis for the remainder of the season is not good. The club is also negotiating its sports betting license with the state of Arizona, as its future temporary home at Arizona State University currently prevents it from operating its betting app in the state. Finally, the Arizona Coyotes Foundation and Bally Sports are partnering with Phoenix Children’s hospital in a charity broadcast during an upcoming game.
Let’s dive in!
Crouse Injury May End Season Prematurely
Lawson Crouse injured his hand during the team’s 6-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, and NHL/Coyotes insider Craig Morgan indicated the initial evaluation on the 24-year-old winger is not promising.
As Morgan notes in his tweet, Crouse is currently enjoying a career season, as his 34 points are fifth-best on the Coyotes, while his 20 goals put him second. His previous career-best in points was 25, which he did twice, in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
He’s in the final year of a 3-year, $4.6 million contract that he signed in July 2019, and will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
Coyotes Seek Legislation Change to Allow For Gambling
Despite the team’s tumultuous tenure in the desert, there’s plenty of incentive for owner Alex Meruelo to keep the team in Arizona — perhaps none bigger than the team’s sports betting license, which it obtained when the state legalized sports betting last year. Licenses were awarded to a number of sports teams in The Valley, including Meruelo and the Coyotes, but there’s just one problem: With their upcoming move to Arizona State’s new hockey arena this fall, the venue’s 5,000-seat capacity doesn’t meet the requirements to allow for betting.
To mitigate this, the Coyotes have requested a change in the law to allow for professional sports teams to run retail sports books, as the current law requires seating of at least 10,000. Though the club indicated it doesn’t intend to open a physical sports book at its temporary home, it may need the change in order to continue its mobile gambling operations through its Sahara Bets application.
The requested change has been met with opposition from local Native American Tribes, who previously worked with Arizona governor Doug Ducey on deal last season.
The team seems to have support from local government officials, though, given its commitment and investment into both Arizona State University and the city of Tempe.
“To see this, this opposition from the tribe, is really upsetting because this does not negatively affect the tribes one iota. None. Zero,” State Senator Sonny Borrelli told the Associated Press. “It’s moving from one location to the other, and it’s temporary.”
Coyotes, Bally Sports to Raise Money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital
The Arizona Coyotes announced on Tuesday that their foundation, along with Bally Sports Arizona, will hold a charity broadcast during the team’s game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, April 14. All funds that are raised, both during the broadcast and online, will be donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
“We are excited to once again team up with our great partner Bally Sports Arizona for our annual charity broadcast to raise funds for Phoenix Children’s,” Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said in a release. “Giving back to the community is a top priority for the Coyotes and we are honored to support Phoenix Children’s who helps so many Valley kids and families in need. We are grateful to all our incredible fans who continuously step up to support Phoenix Children’s.”
There are plenty of incentives for fans to donate. Those who donate $100 will receive a Crescent Moon logo plush blanket, along with two lower-level tickets to the team’s game against either the Washington Capitals on April 22, or the St. Louis Blues on April 23.
A complete list of incentives can be found on the Coyotes’ Web site.
Jakob Chychrun Bobblehead Night on April 22
In what will likely be the team’s most popular giveaway of the season, the Coyotes will distribute Jakob Chychrun Bobblehead dolls to the first 5,000 fans in attendance for the game against the Capitals on April 22. The night, which is branded as Marvel Super Hero night, will also allow fans to participate in a Marvel costume contest.
In return, the club asks fans to bring new or lightly-used books to the game, which will be donated to Southwest Human Development, which is the largest early childhood development nonprofit organization in Arizona.
The Bobblehead itself is pretty sweet, as it likens the 23-year-old defenseman to Thor, and will likely be a super popular giveaway.
On Deck for the Coyotes
Arizona returns home tonight for the first of two home games, against the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, before hitting the road for Chicago and Vancouver next week. In all, the club has nine home games remaining at Gila River Arena, with the final one set for April 29 against the Nashville Predators.
A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contributor for The Hockey Writers.