Phoenix Coyotes’ Wild Ride Continues

To Roller Coaster (verb): to move, change, or occur in a dramatically changeable manner.

One thing that any real hockey personality, or sports personality, will tell you about performing over the course of a season is that consistency is key. The highs and lows of a game, road trip, home stand and a season all contribute to the roller coaster and creating consistent environments, messages, and goals is the most important thing a team can do. There is no bigger proprietor of consistency than Dave Tippett, which has been evident during Tippetts first two seasons with the Coyotes.

Keith Yandle
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett talks to Assistant captain Keith Yandle during a recent Coyotes practice at Arena (xoque/flickr)

That said, the 2011-12 Phoenix Coyotes are the definition of a roller coaster. The organization, the team, all of it. One night could be a riveting 4-3 win, followed up by a egg laying of massive proportion. In a recent loss to Detroit it was 4-0 before the Coyotes had finished lacing up their skates. That ugly showing came on the heels of incredible back to back road wins at Chicago and Nashville where things seemed to be turning around after forgetting to show up against Philadelphia (at home) and losing at Winnipeg.

At least they’ve done well in the close games, sort of. But there have been some backbreakers in the losses, including last minute tying goals in back to back to games vs. Dallas (both would end up being shootout losses) and a game winner at Philadelphia with just over 18 seconds left in regulation. After some great bounce back wins,it seemed as thought the last minute woes were behind them. That was until the ultimate deflator came on December 17th. In a tie game at Arena, the Rangers were able to fish the puck out fo the corner and sneak one past Mike Smith on the far post with 0.01 seconds remaining in regulation. You can’t make this stuff up. Talk about an emotional roller coaster.

So once again the Phoenix Coyotes are an anomaly in the NHL. When it looks like they have hit a wall and that the powerhouses will finally push them to the bottom where so many think they belong, or it appears the ownership debacle has gotten the best of an entire organization, they stun the world with a 4-3 shootout win in the midst of a three goal comeback by the almighty Hawks. On the contrary, when it looks like things have been straightened out and Tippett might have them headed in the right direction en route to a third straight playoff appearance, they lay an egg at the Joe. They might never have the legions of adoring fans like the Leafs or Hawks, or the trademark style and toughness of the Bruins or Flyers, but they will certainly always keep you on your toes. Despite the successes of the last two years and a promising future for a return to the playoffs in 2012, the question remains, when will this wild ride come to an end?