Opinions are like noses, we all have one.  (See what I did there? I know what the real quote is but this is a family blog and I don’t want to upset anyone. Or do I? We will soon find out.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was about to give you my opinion. Look, I’m writing these articles not because I’m some kind of fancy- schmancy expert on hockey. Although I was a USA hockey level one certified coach for mini mites-which basically qualified me to do up the occasional chin strap and move a butt load of pylons around the ice. I am proud to say that not one kid peed in their breezers; not on my watch. That’s winning right there, which makes me a winning coach so therefore I think I'm qualified to write about hockey.

 

If you’ve read my other stories, you’ve come to know that I am passionate about hockey. I’ll talk your ears off if you’ll let me. And since you’ve stumbled upon this story, I’m going to assume that you’re weird about your hockey too. So, welcome fellow Weirdo! Sit back and let me hit you with my level one wisdom….
 

The 2013 abbreviated season is upon us! Yay!

Remember “Hockey The Hard Way?” Well, guess what? This year our slogan is going to be “Injury Free in One Three.”  Since the schedule is fast and furious, this Coyote's team is going to have to find a way to stay healthy. I sincerely hope that everyone spent the long off season doing cross fit, stretching, and eating a clean and lean diet. The reality is that much of the team spent their time completing their honey-do lists and schlepping their kids to school and playing the occasional round of golf. I attended a few practices over the lockout and I have to say that the boys I saw looked pretty darn good. Whitney looked lean and mean as ever..oh crap…he was traded away…so never mind on the Wizard…but Morris was slimmed down. Maybe he lost the fatness in his hands? We’ll find out in a week.

 Poor Saint Doan spent the lock out shuttling back and forth to CBA meetings where he apparently made a huge difference. No surprise there to those of us that know him. He probably sat at the middle of the bargaining table, all Jesus-like in his flowy robes, presiding over the proceedings like the Lord at the Last Supper.  I’m kind of concerned about his saintly shoulder though. Remember when he was all gentleman like and threw himself into the boards instead of decapitating Howard? We paid for that in the playoffs two seasons ago and I’m not entirely convinced that he’s ever truly healed from it.

So, how do we stay injury free? Like I mentioned, the conditioning they did over the off season and long lock out will factor in greatly. I’m encouraged by the fact that the guys had pretty regular practices at the Ice Den. I’m sure other teams were doing that too but I’m going to live in my little Phoenix bubble and imagine we were the only ones hitting the ice regularly. Even so, look for a lot of those annoying “lower body” injuries to surface. (Translation: pulled groin and/or sore back) So the team with the best trainers may end up as the team that wins. All that money that Bettman didn’t want to pay the massage therapists may be the best money spent this season. Here’s the thing though, there’s not going to be a lot of time to lie around nursing an injury. Nah, they’re going to have to channel their inner Rick Tocchet. Remember when, on a cold day in March ’92, he suffered a broken jaw but went on to score two goals with nothing but a bit of plastic on his helmet to protect him? Ya, that’s the way it’s going to be for this team. No more nancying around, Nancy. These games aren’t going to play themselves and there’s no time for you to give into your pain. Better yet, don’t get hurt in the first place. We need disciplined play; no staged fights, no admiring your passes so you get hit unaware; we need to see some safety first hockey if we’re going to come out of this in playoff position. And for those few guys, whose names I won’t mention.......stop taking pucks to your face. It’s stupid and we need you to stay healthy. I like blocked shots just like everyone else but guess what? There’s a perfectly good goalie standing right behind you. And he’s totally geared up and prepped to take a few buzzes to the tower. So snap out of it. Make like a Flamingo and  think “Injury Free in One Three.”

Where was I? Oh ya, fighting. I think we need less fights. Or maybe more fights. Either or. You choose.

Here’s what I’m thinking…I’m afraid if we engage in too many fights, we are going to be giving advantage to the opposing teams too often. Now, I know we have an awesome penalty kill and that’s great. But I think we need to keep those scoring opportunities from the hands of the opponents. On the other hand, we might need more fights…’cause we are awesome at the penalty kill. What’s more frustrating for an opposing  team than a nice in-your-face penalty kill? It hurts so good to give them that advantage and then take it away.

“Ooooohhh, you couldn’t even score when I had one hand tied behind my back.”

 Love it. Totally demoralizing. Let’s go with more fights. Someone email Tip. Thanks.

Now I’m thinking about stupid penalties. The officials were off during the lock out too. Dammit. That’s might mean they’re itching to throw the book at everyone. Remember our series against the Kings? Of course you do. You always remember when you’ve gotten robbed. Crikey, I hope we’re not going to see a ton of crap penalties. Oh well, if we do suffer a lot of bad calls, please see the prior paragraphs. We’re awesome on the penalty kill, so yay! Bring on the whistle, we’re ready!

What else would help us stay “Injury Free in One Three?” How about youth? We have a lot of Yoots playing on the Yotes. OEL comes to mind. That boy is stellar. And he kept on playing through the lock out which means he is mid-season ready. Boedker too. Sure, he had a drought before he went crazy with the last minute goals at the end of last year. But he’s young and his potential is huuugge. Add the depth that we have from our Portland Baby Yotes and those old farts on the team seem almost dispensable.  Almost.  Just like fresh legs on a change of shift, the teams with depth will fare well if they can’t manage to stay injury free.

So that’s it for this evening. There’s so much more in my head…obviously…so I’ll be writing again later. Thanks for reading all the way to this point. You’re a sweetheart for doing so and Barbie loves you very much. Till next time when we cover….Goalies….the next most important factor to a successful season…they can’t win if they can’t score against us…