O leader of the National Hockey League,
you've been caught napping;
every owner you choose
continues to make this team a disgrace.
Coyotes' fans have been scattered from the arena
and there is no one willing to gather them.
Nothing can heal this wound;
the injury is fatal.
Everyone who hears this news
is ready to mourn for those who lose their team,
but they will clap their hands at your fall!
For who has not felt
your endless cruelty?
Phoenix Coyotes (37-23-11) @ Edmonton Oilers (23-38-9)
Rexall Place, 7:00 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
Losing your team stinks. I remember when the Oilers were for sale, and it was just awful. It's my opinion that fans don't stop to thank the members of the EIG quite enough. Sure, there were some moments where you wish they'd have said something different or spent a bit more, but let's not forget that they kept the team in Edmonton when other Canadian clubs were moving, the dollar was poor, and attendance was low. Basically, they kept the team when the situation looked hopeless. The Phoenix Coyotes may not have a savior, but they might make the playoffs. In fact, they've got a head start, and they're a better club than some of the other contenders (I'm looking at you Anaheim, Dallas, and Minnesota), so they really should get in. If this is their last season in the desert, I can only hope that they go out and style with a series win or two. Especially if they play the Canucks.
Edmonton Oilers (23-38-9):
Jones - Cogliano - Eberle
Omark - Fraser - Paajarvi
Giroux - O'Marra - Reddox
Hartikainen - VandeVelde - MacIntyre
Smid - Gilbert
Vandermeer - Petry
Strudwick - Foster
Phoenix Coyotes (37-23-11)
Korpikoski - Belanger - Doan
Whitney - Turris - Vrbata
Boedker - Ebbett - Bissonnette
Pyatt - Fiddler - Stempniak
Yandle - Morris
Klesla - Aucoin
Schlemko - Roszival
By the Numbers:
- Nikolai Khabibulin has played 85 career NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets. Only six players in this game have played at least that many career games for the Oilers: Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Andrew Cogliano, Jason Strudwick, Jean-Francois Jacques, and Liam Reddox.
- The Coyotes don't have many high-scoring forwards, but Keith Yandle is tied for the league lead in points for a defenseman with 57. The other man tied for the league lead is former Oiler and - it's unbelievable that this is possible - Norris Trophy candidate, Lubomir Visnovsky.
- Chris Vande Velde has the worst +/- rating on the Oklahoma City Barons at -17. The next closest player is Shawn Belle (who's not even on the team anymore) at -10. With guys like Teemu Hartikainen, Ryan O`Marra, and Alexandre Giroux getting the call, it sure seems like the Oilers are trying to take the best men available. If I'm Milan Kytnar or Brad Moran, I've got to think the team made at least one mistake.
- Over the last four seasons, Ilya Bryzgalov has had EV save percentages of .928, .928, .918, and .934. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, and I'll be very interested to see what kind of contract he gets. On the one hand, UFA goalies have been getting the short end of the stick for a while now. On the other hand, Bryzgalov has a substantially better track record than Antti Niemi, and that cat just signed a four-year deal for just under $4M per season. If I set the line for Bryzgalov's total contract value at $15M, how many folks would take the over?
- With Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, and Dustin Penner all either injured or traded, Jordan Eberle has an incredible opportunity to lead his team in scoring in his rookie year in the NHL. The last player who wasn't chosen in the top five to pull that off was (I believe) Brad Richards who scored 62 points for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2000-01 season.