Coyotes building from ground up
'Everything is new around here'
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 8, 2003 12:00
Although many national publications have picked the Coyotes to finish at or near the bottom of the standings, the team is counting on a core of players, including (from left) Ossi Vaananen, Shane Doan, David Tanabe, Krys Kolanos and Ladislav Nagy, to infuse it with newfound energy.
They're calling it "A New Breed."
And no, the Coyotes haven't cloned themselves into the Detroit Red Wings or the Colorado Avalanche, although that would have been nice.
But they couldn't have picked a better marketing slogan as they enter their silver anniversary season in the NHL. "New" is the operative word with this franchise, which needed a change in more ways than one after being in business for 25 years and having little to show for it.
They've unveiled a new logo and new uniforms.
In December, they will be moving into a new arena.
They have a new captain, several new players and a new sense of hope for the future.
"Everything is new around here," Coyotes center Daymond Langkow said. "It's like a fresh start for the whole organization."
In 24 years, the club has won just two playoff series. It hasn't made it out of the first round since 1987 - the longest active drought in the NHL. Winnipeg was Lose-ipeg. And coming to Phoenix hasn't helped the team rise from the ashes.
But there is a new feeling making its way around the franchise, which has always been competitive, if not a contender.
It can be felt in the boardrooms of the league office in New York, where the Coyotes have been hailed as "new thinkers" for their conscious spending ways and rebuilding through youth. It can be felt in Glendale, where a new fan base
from the West Valley appears ready to embrace them.
Though this new version of the Coyotes is being picked by many national publications to finish at or near the bottom of the standings, the team vows it will put a high-energy squad on the ice that can surprise, perhaps just as small-market clubs Anaheim and Minnesota did last season.
But if three home preseason games were any indication, it could be a long year.
"It's going to take each and every player, individually, accepting and knowing his vested role and responsibility, and tempting each and every shift to fulfill the expectations we have as a hockey team," General Manager Mike Barnett said.
"We have to come together as a group and understand clearly what we have to do to be successful, night in and night out, in terms of style of play, commitment, and willingness to pay the price."
Old-time hockey, in other words?
"It could be," Barnett said. "That's exactly what it might take."