What Can We Take Away From Tonight’s Dumpster Fire of A Game?

If you didn’t already watch tonight’s game between the Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets, let me sum it up for you in one word- Embarrassing.

As a Coyotes fan my expectations were low coming into this season, but getting blown out 8-2 against arguably one of the worst teams in the league is a new low. Now I want to be clear, not every part of the game was terrible, but the parts that were dragged the rest of the team down. Arizona fans should have no reason to think that this team is capable of winning a lot of games this year, but nobody should have to see an all around ass kicking like I did tonight. Before I analyze the on ice disasters, I would first like to acknowledge the fact that the Coyotes played their first regular season game in the all new White Kachinas, and there is no doubt in my mind that Arizona is the best looking team currently.

The Offense

This is where I saw a lot of positives with the Coyotes is in some of their younger offensive pieces. To start off, I would like to discuss Clayton Keller’s performance. Not only did he get one of the only two goals the Coyotes scored, but he also created plenty of opportunities for his teammates. Now, I know it has only been one game, but I firmly believe the argument could be made that Clayton Keller is the second best player on the Coyotes roster. Along with Keller, I felt like Lawson Crouse had a fantastic night as an offensive talent, but as well, we saw the physicality and force he brings to the team. At 6’4 and 220 pounds. Crouse was a force to be reckoned with against the Blue Jackets, having four huge hits, and easily beating up Andrew Peeke in a fight. The team felt physical tonight but left much to be desired in the fast skill play department. On the other end of the spectrum, two duds from tonight come to mind. Phil Kessel and Dmitrij Jaskin were there, but felt like they played little to no part in the outcome of the game. Yes, Kessel had the assist to Keller, but other than that, Phil recorded 0 shots, and was a ghost on the defensive side of the ice. If Arizona is going to get what they want in return for a Kessel trade, he is going to have to step it up. Jaskin on the other hand, has at least some excuse as he hasn’t played an NHL game in a few years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t expect more from him. Overall, Arizona’s offense was okay, but there is for sure work to be done.

Defense

Now we are getting into what truly gave Columbus such an easy win to start their season. Arizona’s defense cannot play like they did tonight and expect to have a chance at keeping games close. The game started poorly for Arizona’s defense, as they allowed a goal from Alexandre Texier in the first 40 seconds. The game didn’t get much better from there, as Columbus would score another one in the first period, three in the second, and three more in the third. The Coyotes felt like they had no resistance against Columbus, and young star defenseman Jakob Chychrun was no help. However, two young prospects really stood out to me. Connor Timmins and Victor Soderstrom both played some solid hockey and showed that they both have room to grow. The defense did not do a good enough job tonight at either end of the ice, except for one man, who I would argue had the best night of any Coyote. That man is named Anton Stralman, and he put up four shots, got half of the Coyotes goals (1), had multiple blocks, as well as hits and takeaways. Stralman was undoubtedly the best defensive player for the Coyotes tonight, and as a fan, my hope is that he can be flipped later in the season for more draft picks and prospects. Yes, Arizona’s defense was bad tonight, but I don’t think that it was the key contributing reason for tonight’s terrible loss. I think that blame falls on one man more than anyone else……

Carter Hutton

I know it shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that Hutton isn’t a top tier NHL goalie, but after what I saw tonight, I could make the argument that he isn’t an NHL level goalie at all. I have never seen a goalie play like his goal was to be pulled after the second period. After the 5th goal I started to wonder if maybe Carter forgot his glasses at home, since he seemed completely oblivious to the pucks coming at him. Hutton faced 26 shots tonight and had 18 saves, which means he let in eight goals for a .690 save percentage. What confused me most, was why at no point was this spaghetti strainer not pulled until it hit me. The Coyotes don’t want to win, their main goal is to get the number one overall pick. Now, if you know your forwards and defenseman could play well at times, they could jeopardize the whole plan. So the Coyotes front office have decided to let Carter Hutton pretend to be a starting goalie, and tank harder than any team has ever tanked before.

Watching the Coyotes tonight has taught me one very important thing. No matter how well we play well, or our talent develops, none of it is going to matter when we let in every second shot our opposition throws at us. So from now on, I’m going to watch our young talents develop, enjoy as many trades and rumors’ our team is involved in, and get ready for that sweet draft at the end of the year. It’s time to embrace the tank this season and look forward to brighter days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s