Information, observations and anecdotes about the Coyotes
as told by Dave Vest, the team's V.P. of News Content
SAN JOSE - Despite clinching a postseason berth long ago, tonight’s home finale means plenty to the San Jose Sharks. If they beat the Coyotes, they will clinch home-ice advantage throughout the NHL playoffs and the Presidents’ Trophy for most points earned.
Make no mistake; the Sharks want to secure the top spot in the playoffs and the trophy in front of their home fans. Perhaps that’s why center Patrick Marleau, who leads the Sharks with 37 goals, is expected to return to action after missing the past few games because of a lower-body injury.
Having covered Coyotes games in every NHL arena over the past six years, I can tell you that of all the rinks I’ve visited outside Arizona, the atmosphere at the HP Pavilion is the best I’ve experienced in the United States. That’s why I am eager to see how rookie goalie Al Montoya performs in his fourth NHL start. Keep in mind Montoya’s other three starts were against non-playoff teams in games that had no bearing on the playoff picture. Not this time. The "Shark Tank" will be buzzing, for sure, and Montoya will be in the middle of a hostile environment.
Congrats to the Columbus Blue Jackets for clinching the first ever playoff berth in franchise history last night. For those wondering, that leaves only two professional sports teams among the big four leagues that have never earned a playoff berth in their respective league. They are…. The Charlotte Bobcats (NBA) and the Houston Texans (NFL).
By the way, the Coyotes swept Columbus 4-0 this season. In fact, the Coyotes posted an 11-11-2 record against the six teams that have clinched a playoff berth in the West, and a 3-3-1 mark against the six teams that have clinched a playoff berth in the East. Makes you wonder, huh?
I told defenseman Keith Yandle
on the bus this morning that Fenway Park reportedly is in line to host the next NHL Winter Classic.
“Good,” the Boston native said. “That’s where they should
play the next one.”
Thanks for reading.