So as you may have noticed, between it being the holidays and my computer going down, we unfortunately missed a few of these Q&A's. What can you do?
But we're back! And joining us this time around are the guys over at Five for Howling. Imagine! An entire blog devoted to the Arizona Coyotes! Wonders will apparently never cease.
The Dallas Stars dug themselves a mighty fine hole to begin the season. However, the last couple weeks have seen them begin trending in the other direction. Meanwhile, the Arizona Coyotes have been turning heads this season with their surprising entry into the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. And while they aren't yet frontrunners there, they have been able to keep pace with the Buffalo Sabres. And they have a game in hand!
Short story shorter, two of the NHL's worst defenses meet tonight in the final Stars' game of the year. Can Tyler Seguin continue to outpace the entire Coyotes offensive production? Will Mike Smith continue to be terrible? Will Mike Ribeiro find marital bliss?
Read on to find out. Or just watch the game. That would probably be more useful. And be sure to check out my defense of Tony Romo over at Five for Howling while you're at it.
Defending Big D and Obscene Alex: The Stars have had a less-than-ideal season. The Coyotes on the other hand, have had a less-than-less-than-ideal season. What is causing the terrible situation in Arizona this season? A missing Paul Bissonnette? Sabotage from Glendale City Council? The shockwaves of the beloved Mike Ribeiro's departure?
Five for Howling: Well the loss of Paul Bissonnette killed the little amount of offense the Coyotes had, but never fear, B.J. Crombeen to the rescue. Who would have thought a team with no first liners and 157 fourth liners would struggle to score? Arizona is paying one good scorer, his name is Mike Ribeiro and he plays for Nashville. The more you know. The real issue is the offensive name change of the team from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes. First off, who changes a team name without moving? Like, seriously? Second, the jerseys didn't change. Um, what? So what was the point? I liked the Phoenix Coyotes better - both on and off the ice.
DBD: So, uhh... Sam Gagner was supposed to help out with the offense this year. An offense currently ranked 25th in goals per game. Are we pleased with his 5 goals thus far on the season?
FfH: To be fair to Sammy G, he played with better offensive players in Edmonton. Let that soak in. Gagner will turn things around eventually, as his move to the wing has helped his game. He'll never be a 30-goal scorer, but since it is illegal for any Coyote to score that many goals anyway, it's not a problem.
OA: Why is Mike Smith completely horrible this season?
FfH: If stopping pucks were not part of his job, he'd be the top goalie in the league. Aside from that, I can't find any flaws in his game. I guess sitting in a money bath instead of an ice bath doesn't help the ol' save percentage. At least we weren't the idiots who drafted the guy. [Ed. note: Hey! He was a great backup back in the day.]
DBD: Max Domi currently has 58 points through 27 games with the OHL's London Knights. Remind me again, why hasn't he gotten a call up this season?
FfH: Well aside from the fact you can't call up players from the CHL [Ed. note: My bad. I guess I meant what happened to the whole him being a lock to be on the opening night roster?], the Coyotes are pinching the few pennies they have and saving him for marriage, err next season. The Coyotes are hell bent on gobbling up all the sons of former NHLers and praying it works. Check back in five years. Also, remember that 30-goal rule?
OA: Who will be the first Coyote to be traded? When? And what are the realistic returns?
FfH: Antoine Vermette. Maybe before this gets posted. A solid, but unspectacular prospect, plus a top-9 forward.
DBD: Five teams in the league currently allow on average more than 3 goals per game. The Coyotes and Stars are two of them. Do you predict this game being a bit of a shootout? Are the Coyotes even capable of scoring enough goals in a game for it to be termed a 'shootout'?
FfH: Well the last time the Coyotes were in a "shootout" the only goal they scored was off a broken stick that hit the goalie in the face. But, a win's a win.
Arizona can sometimes score goals, but usually it's against Canadian teams. Unless Dallas finally seceded from the union, I'm not sure the Coyotes will score enough to hold up their end of the bargain in a shootout.
DBD: And lastly, any idea what Dave Tippett's New Year's Resolutions will be?
FfH: Win actual lottery, buy out Mike Smith, win draft lottery.