Interesting article from SPECTOR on his blog on Foxsports.com:
The Phoenix Coyotes are a team in trouble.
Ten games into the 2006-07 season, the Coyotes have only two wins on the season. During that period the club was dead last in the Western Conference and only the Philadelphia Flyers sport a worse record.
Theyâ€™ve scored the third fewest goals (19) yet lead the league in goals-against with a whopping 44.
Shane Doan, Ladislav Nagy and Mike Comrie are the teamâ€™s best forwards but theyâ€™ve struggled to score. They lost center Steve Reinprecht and promising blueliner Keith Ballard to injury.
UFA acquisition Ed Jovanovski has been underwhelming as a Coyotes thus far, but at least heâ€™s made some offensive contributions and isnâ€™t a minus player. Veteran forward Owen Nolan and Jeremy Roenick are looking their age, struggling to keep pace with the faster game.
Goaltender Curtis Joseph has received little help from his defense corps, but he too is showing signs of age. Backup Mike Morrison, meanwhile, is doing very little to stick with the club beyond mid-season with his current play.
Speculation is rampant that management may swing a big trade to shake up the roster, but thereâ€™s a much easier solution, one that doesnâ€™t need the moving of players to possibly turn around the fortunes of the Desert Dawgs.
Head coach Wayne Gretzky must step down in favor of Ken Hitchcock.
That move might not make the Coyotes a playoff contender this season, but it could go a long way toward righting a sinking ship and pointing it in the right direction.
Gretzky was unquestionably the greatest offensive player in NHL history, but heâ€™s shown little to prove he can translate what made him a great player into being a great coach.
Heâ€™s in good company. Few superstar hockey players can make the leap to successful head coach when their playing days are done.
Gretzkyâ€™s a proud, competitive man who doesnâ€™t want to admit defeat when itâ€™s staring him in the face, but he should also know that his team needs a lift, the kind he cannot provide them as a head coach.
Gretzky knows Hitchcock from their time together on Canadaâ€™s Menâ€™s hockey team in 2002 and 2006. He also knows Hitchcockâ€™s pedigree, as the type of no-nonsense coach who has succeeded at every level heâ€™s coached at.
If the Coyotes were in every game theyâ€™d played this season despite their current record, if every loss had been by the narrowest of margins, the case could be made for Gretzky to stay on, to give him a chance to bring this club along into a possible winner.
But that hasnâ€™t been the case. The Coyotes needs an experienced bench boss, one who garners respect, who knows how to win. There is some very good talent on this yearâ€™s Coyotes team, but rather than surrendering the season and casting them aside, it would be best to see what this club can do with a strong hand at the helm.
Gretzky knows this. He has to know it. He has to know that each day that passes without doing the right thing could result in another club snapping up Hitchcock.
That would be another golden opportunity lost for a franchise that has seen many such lost opportunities since moving to Phoenix.
Do the right thing, Wayne. Before itâ€™s too late.
I question Gretzky's influence on Michael Barnett to bring in Gretzky 'buddies'. Too many old-timers that have been brought in the past few years - Hull, Roenick, Nolan.
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*OPINIONS EXRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR, AND THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THOSE OF ©BELL MEDIA*
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