1. 4.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


30 September 2008

The PHOENIX COYOTES are finally on the other side of the ‘rebuilding’ project. What was once a ghost town in the deserts of the West is now proving to be fertile prospecting grounds. For the prospects, that is.

Last season we saw the emergence of young rookies trusted with some major lifting for offensive production. Of the many comments made about coach Wayne Gretzky, we are certainly more familiar with the complete person after seeing his trust and patience given to the development of the young players in the PHOENIX system. Last year the investments began to return dividends.

In fact, OGA was not able to make the call on the PHOENIX COYOTES being IN or OUT of playoff contention until 11 MARCH 2008 (OUT). Whereas the previous season (06-07), we knew by the conclusion of their 10th game (24 OCTOBER 2007) the Desert Dogs were not OK in the corral.

The COYOTES already had their work ethic established under captain Shane Doan and the November 2007 waiver acquisition of Ilya Bryzgalov answered their questions in goal. But not having arrived quite yet, they struggled to dig themselves out of the point-challenged slow start they had to the 07-08 season.

During the course of the 2007/8 NHL Season:
  • The PHOENIX COYOTES rookies contributed more goals (63) than did entry-level players on any other team
  • The COYOTES finished 24th in the league on Penalty Kill percentage (80.72%)
  • PHOENIX played better on the road (21-17-3) than they did at home (17-20-4)
  • The COYOTES have not qualified for post-season play since 2002
Not having made the playoffs since 2002, the COYOTES have made the best of their draft picks (and draft placement) to secure a bevy of young players with serious NHL potential. In the 2007/08 NHL season we were introduced to Peter Mueller and the rookie’s 54-point contribution. We were obliged to meet (not in person, thankfully) Daniel Carcillo. Rookie Carcillo (324 penalty minutes) was to provide the team with a Sheriff. Well, in the West, the Sheriffs can shoot. With 13 goals and 11 assists opponents of the Desert Dogs were forced to play against his offensive skills as much as they tried to avoid his enforcer skills.

While the team is on an upwards trend overall, The COYOTES had a doggish start to the beginning of the last season as measured against the OGA-developed Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC). At the end of the first 10-game segment, they were a -1.0 when measured against the Curve. They then managed to draw even with the PQC on two different occasions through the course of their campaign but never entered positive territory. We expect to see a stronger start this year but what should we expect per their performance as measured against the Curve?

(cont)…Now enters the highly anticipated 2007 draft pick (3rd overall), Kyle Turris. It also appears the 2008 Hobey Baker Award winner, Kevin Porter (22 years old) may also crack the lineup for the 2008/09 NHL season. Oh, and speaking of western expansion, PHOENIX is also the new home for and an out-of-towner who hasn’t missed a game in each of the last 4 seasons from Finland via Florida, Olli Jokinen. Welcome to the Saloon.

Last season, the PHOENIX COYOTES began their campaign as they had the previous two seasons and played at minimum a full point (-1) below the OGA-developed Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC). Over the three years since the lockout, they have averaged -8.5 against the PQC. See the chart below for the COYOTES’ play in relation to the curve over the past three campaigns.

This season, the PHOENIX COYOTES first 10 games of the season are played 11 OCTOBER – 4 NOVEMBER. Our research indicates they earn a PQC rating of 3.2 during this time frame. This is a long stretch for 10 games and hopefully the COYOTES will not lose the momentum the start of a season naturally brings. The graph above shows this club has yet to find that early momentum at the start of a new campaign.

Some statistics of note to manage your expectations in to late October are:
  • The COYOTES play well below the PQC for the first ten games and then build momentum to be closer to or above the Curve
  • The team’s 3-year per game averages: 2.75 GF and 3.20 GA
  • The COYOTES have won 2 of its 3 season openers since the lockout
  • Post lockout, the COYOTES record in the first 10-game segments is 10-19-1.
  • Of the six home/away openers PHOENIX has won all 3 home season openers and lost all 3 away season openers.
  • PHOENIX has played a total of 43 games requiring either OT or a Shootout (17.48% of all regular season games). This is the second lowest average in the NHL over the previous three years so don’t expect much OT or shootout hockey with this club.
OGA will be measuring the COYOTES against their PQC Rating of 3.2 (as well as with all other NHL teams) in order to provide you more in-depth analysis with the PHOENIX COYOTES Game 10 Report. The G10R will be delivered to our subscription customers by 2PM Central on 5 NOVEMBER and available for purchase online by 2PM Central, 6 NOVEMBER. See the OGA store for more details HERE. You can also view a sample for our G10R HERE. (Make sure to view all 3 tabs!)

Last season found the COYOTES in good shape to finally form their identity. They lost less than 100 man games to injuries and another healthy season should propel them further up the mesa that is the Western Conference. They found the net-minder for their future in Ilya Bryzgalov who had a career year (26-22-5, 3 shutouts) and defenseman Ed Jovanovski (who only missed 2 games) played his career best with 51 points and also led the team in ice time (22.32). They have also improved over the previous 3 seasons in back-to-back games reversing a losing trend (4W-9L / 7W-9L / 9W-8L, respectively).

Will the COYOTES be able to capitalize early in this new season with some momentum from their young, creative playmakers? How will Olli Jokinen help the team in the first ten games of the season and beyond as measured against their PQC averages? Will OGA have to wait until March to know whether the improving PHOENIX COYOTES are IN or OUT of post-season play? OGA will be watching. And when we know, you will, too.

OGA will be measuring their team performance against the PQC online and via our Game Reports available for purchase. For your best value, see our subscription information HERE. In the meantime, stay tuned to The OGA Blog and check out the PHOENIX COYOTES G10R for a thorough review of the team’s performance as measured against our proprietary PQC.

Tomorrow brings the 07-08 Eastern Conference champions, the PITTSBURGH PENGUINS SPR. Remember, it’s only a puck until you take one in the teeth. Then, it’s a Frozen Pill.

TAKE ME BACK TO www.ongoalanalysis.com

No comments: