Glendale Arizona Coyotes
They still sucked, but this year the difference was that they weren't actively trying to suck. That somehow makes it a lot worse. That they failed so miserably in a NASCAR wreck like the Pacific Division is especially amazing.
The biggest achievement this season was finally agreeing to stop sucking dry the taxpayers of Glendale, who do not care in the least about hockey and are really kinda worried about the state of their hospitals and schools, you guys. Let's not forget that this is the fanbase that, despite terrible attendance numbers, finger-wagged residents of a suburb they don't live in for not caring as much about an awful hockey team as they do. What a marketing plan!
Your Head Coach
Dave Tippett! Now with 400% more dictatorial powers despite not coaching this team to a postseason appearance since 2012!
Your Starting Goalie
Mike Smith? STILL?! Is that right? That can't be right. There has to be some kind of oversight here. You can't possibly mean to tell me that with all the names on the goalie market, the Coyotes stuck with their overrated, underperforming man-baby of a goaltender.
Wait, yes, that's exactly what happened. They're stuck paying this idiot $5.66MM until he's 37 years old. I know we've all seen this before, but shall we roll the clip? Yes, let's roll the clip.
Anyway, your backup is Louis Domingue. I look forward to his career taking off with the Vegas expansion team after the team feels compelled to protect Smith instead.
New Things That Suck
POWER STRUGGLE! Don Maloney, the Coyotes GM of nine years was forced out of his job for not being able to make a bad team on a shoestring budget good quickly enough! Apparently Tippett was tired of him, forcing a firing that is actually described this way:
Now that Don Maloney has been ousted after laying an enormous amount of groundwork for the future success of the Arizona Coyotes, someone else will now come in and get most of the credit. And make no mistake, Maloney’s firing will signal an about-face in how the Coyotes run their hockey department.
Under Maloney, the Coyotes did things the right way, building up a stable of draft picks and prospects with terrific drafting and trading of veterans. But now, essentially because coach Dave Tippett won the power struggle that cost Maloney his job, the mandate will be to win immediately. "Now, they’re going to do it the stupid way," said one NHL executive.
Isn't that the most sadly simplistic thing you ever heard? This sounds like an answer you would hear at a Miss America pageant. "We want to win immediately!" Great! So, what's the plan for that? "We don't know, but we're gonna try to WIN NOW." As opposed to the GM that wants to lose immediately, which I suppose describes their 2014-15 season.
The Coyotes aren't even pretending to act like they've just given their head coach all of the power; Tippett is being given "management input." But there is a new GM! The team went and hired some 26-year old mathemagician to fill the role of ensuring that Tippett's dry cleaning is handled in a punctual and satisfactory manner.
(As an aside, you'd think that the promotion of someone with a data and analytics background to GM (at least nominally) would get the seal of approval of the hockey stats community. Instead, many are complaining that he didn't practice the right kind of analytics. Further proof that stats people can't enjoy anything unless it's exactly the way they want it. You people make Southern Baptists look fun and open-minded.)
So, what is the team doing to win now? Well, they're signed Alex Goligoski to a very large contract until he's 36! They also bought out longtime Coyote Antoine Vermette and added....Radim Vrbata? Again? Geez. Is there some rule that every time you ship out an organizational retread, you have to add another one? Did they actually watch Vrbata the last two years? He was good for the season the Sedins bounced pucks off of his stick and that's about it. They also brought back Shane Doan for another year, because replacing him with someone who can actually win games and be remotely likeable is asking too much.
And hey, they signed Luke Schenn! Let's roll the clip on Luke Schenn playing defense:
Also decided to pick up the tab on Pavel Datsyuk's contract, which means they are now currently paying two legendary players to not play for them. Three if you count Dave Bolland, who is really only legendary for scoring one goal and getting a bad contract two years later.
Things That Still Suck
The biggest organizational problem isn't the lack of fan support, or the stadium issues, or the being stuck in a municipality that really doesn't want them there except to pay out the nose for parking. The simple fact is that the team sucks because it just isn't an attractive destination. Most Sun Belt teams do not have this problem. Most Sun Belt teams are not located in the Phoenix area, which is essentially a giant inferno that someone decided would be a nice place for a giant strip mall. This is a city that hits 30C in the winter. I'm amazed that you can sustain human life in this city, much less actual ice. I'll let King of the Hill take it from here:
As much as you wanna get behind this team as a plucky lovable underdog, you just can't do it. How can anyone willingly cheer for a team that continually employs Doan and Smith? You can't do it. It's not as though these are some stupid goons in the periphery of your lineup. They're your captain (who has been around since the Jets 1.0 days) and your starting goalie. That's like saying 1920s Italy would've been easy to get behind but for Mussolini. "If you look past him, what a likeable rag tag bunch! Good pasta! Trains ran on time!"
The Coyotes have also won two (2) playoff series in twenty (20!) years. The Arizona Diamondbacks won more by their fourth year of existence. Think about that for a second.
Why You Might Not Suck
Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and a rookie Dylan Strome are a good core to build around. Plus, you're in the Pacific Division. Sure, you're guaranteed to be worse than California, but you're also guaranteed to be better than Canada.