The big news of the week, (really of the entire 2010 year) is that the Phoenix Coyotes have cleared almost the final hurdle towards new ownership as the Glendale City Council approved a lease agreement with presumptive new owner Matthew Hulsizer. Eighteen months after former owner Jeffrey Moyes tried to sell the team to Jim Balsillie, it looks as though the Coyotes will finally have an owner committed to keeping the team in Glendale.
"The Phoenix Coyotes are very pleased that Glendale City Council voted this evening to support the new Jobing.com Arena lease agreement between Matthew Hulsizer and the City of Glendale. This vote is another step towards securing our future in Glendale and we remain optimistic that a deal will be finalized soon," the team said in an official statement after the vote.
Now let's see what some concerted marketing will do to increase the attendance figures which will help get more cars to the games. That's important because a key component of the deal calls for the city to use parking revenue to help pay off the debt they are using to sweeten the lease deal for Hulsizer. That means no more free parking for you but it also means the Coyotes aren't moving to Canada...it's a trade-off.
As for the on-ice product, the Coyotes had a 1-1-0 week and currently sit at 14-8-6, good for 34 points which is 5th in the Pacific Division, albeit with games in hand as to every team ahead of them and only 4 points behind division-leading Dallas. The West is very competitive with only 8 points separating the 1st place Red Wings and the2th place Blues. It's going to be a great season through the end.
Thursday December 9 vs. Minnesota, 3-2 Loss
A disappointing effort from the Coyotes in this game led to quite the verbal lashing from Coach Tippett the following day. Although the Coyotes kept it close most of the game, they were clearly chasing the play and letting the Wild dictate the game. It was a good game for Taylor Pyatt as the streaky power forward scored both Coyotes goals, but despite a late flurry with the empty net, the Coyotes couldn't overcome the two Andrew Brunette tallies and the solid play of Niklas Backstrom as they dropped a game against a team they should probably have beaten.
Saturday December 11 vs. Dallas, 5-2 Win
For everything that went wrong on Thursday night, the Coyotes bounced back in a big way Saturday night, dominating the first period en route to a 3-0 lead behind two goals from Coyotes captain and general superhero Shane Doan. Lauri Korpikoski scored his career best eight goal of the season shorthanded early in the third to make sure that Dallas did not mount a comeback. Shane Doan rang one off the post and put another puck through the crease late in the game as he once again failed to record his first career NHL hat trick. Doan has played in over 1,065 games and recorded 35 two-goal games, the most ever among players with no career hat tricks. Keith Yandle continued his fine offensive season with a goal and two assists.
The Coyotes embark now on their season-long six game road trip starting with an east coast swing through New Jersey, New York, Long Island and Pittsburgh before heading back west to play division rivals San Jose and Dallas.
This week, the Coyotes square off with a pretty bad Devils team on Wednesday night before turning right back around for a tilt against the Rangers at world famous Madison Square Garden Thursday night. Saturday night sees the Coyotes taking on another struggling team, the Islanders.
If we see the same effort from Saturday night, the Coyotes should find lots of success in this early stretch of road games. With the ownership question seeming to finally be resolved, let's hope the team starts cementing that fan base by putting together a very solid road trip before returning to the Valley after Christmas.