Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content
It’s all good.
That was the vibe this morning after Dr. Robert Watkins examined Coyotes center Martin Hanzal
in Los Angeles for the first time since Watkins performed surgery on Hanzal’s back July 17 to fix a herniated disk.
Hanzal’s consultation with Watkins lasted 15 minutes or so, and Hanzal said Watkins liked what he saw when Hanzal showed him his range of movement.
“I have to take one more week off, but next Monday I will start (to rehabilitate),” Hanzal said. “I have to talk to our new trainer this week and start planning what I’m going to do, but I’m very excited for next week and excited to get sharper.”
So ESPN released its NHL Summer Power Rankings over the weekend and I couldn’t help but notice that the Coyotes are ranked 11th out of the 15 teams in the Western Conference.
“The Coyotes now have the big center they've been lacking in Olli Jokinen, but they still don't have enough scoring and they're going to miss Keith Ballard along the blue line and in the dressing room,” wrote Scott Burnside, the NHL reporter for ESPN.com.
Burnside’s ranking of the Coyotes perplexed some Phoenix fans on various NHL message boards, so I figured I’d e-mail Scott - a friend of mine - and ask him to elaborate on his ranking. Here’s what he wrote back to me:
“I think, in general, the Western Conference remains the most dominant of the two conferences and as a result the ability to make significant jumps in the standings is much more difficult than it might be in the more mediocre Eastern Conference. Given the 'on-paper' improvements made by the teams in front of the Coyotes, specifically teams like Chicago and Edmonton, I think it's too much to expect the Coyotes to make a significant jump up the standings and into the playoffs in 2008-09.”
Clearly, Scott is sticking to his guns, although he did end his e-mail to me with the following:
“Of course I also believed, two years ago, that the Coyotes were a team that could make the playoffs and they finished last in the conference and 29th overall. Enough said.”
I’m going to end this edition of “Inside the Den” by inviting readers to participate in its content. If you scroll down a little bit you will find an e-mail address we’ve created so you can reach out and send me questions and/or comments and/or suggestions. I look forward to reading your e-mails.