2021-22 Arizona Coyotes Remain Winless

2021-22 Arizona Coyotes

The 2021-22 Arizona Coyotes season has not started out too well. The expectations may have been low due to an intense rebuild. Losing is never fun. All the changes to the roster have contributed to their losing ways. Starting out with a 0-3-1 record will not bring many fans to the arena. But, things could be worse. Look at the 0-5 Montreal Canadiens.

2021-22 Arizona Coyotes Have Yet to Win a Game

The 2021-22 Arizona Coyotes season began with a really poor effort against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The game wasn’t even close as the Yotes were pummeled 8-2. Veteran goalie Carter Hutton never stood a chance as his defence left him out to dry way too often.

The hapless Desert Dogs gained their first and only point versus the Buffalo Sabres in a 2-1 shootout loss. The best part of this game was the performance of goalie Karel Vejmelka. He literally kept his team in the game. The two teams are projected candidates to seek the services of one Shane Wright in the 2022 NHL Draft next year.

Next Two Games Weren’t Showing Any Improvement

The third game on the slate was yet another the team would like to forget about. After taking a 2-1 lead in the middle stanza, the St. Louis Blues tallied five unanswered goals in a span of 5:17. What was a close game became a laugher of one.

This time head coach Andre Tourigny yanked goalie Hutton after six pucks went by him. The Coyotes made a valiant effort to come back scoring two third period goals, but it wasn’t enough, dropping the game 7-4.

Not Connor McDavid

Things didn’t improve when the Edmonton Oilers came to the desert. Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made mincemeat of the porous Arizona defence to drop them 5-1. There’s nothing like attempting to gain your first victory of the year and knowing you must face the best hockey player on the planet.

Even with the loss, Coyotes head coach Tourigny commented after the game: “We’re happy about the way that we defended [McDavid and Draisaitl], the pride we have to play the right way against them,” said Tourigny. “That was cool to see the boys really tuned in and work really hard at it. There’s a lot of good things we did in that game. It was more consistent, it was more structured. We need to find a way to score goals and to make the little things that will make a difference. But I thought we did a lot of good things.”

While Tourigny is entitled to his opinion, they lost the game and lost it by a considerable margin. And if he calls defending McDavid allowing him two goals and one assist then he really needs a reality check. If he sees improvements, that needs to start showing up in the standings, or there may not be many fans showing up… period. The announced attendance for a game featuring a super-star like McDavid drew just 9,748 fans through the turnstiles.

While it is the head coach’s job to stay optimistic, it seems like he should instead be calling out his players for the poor performances they have been exhibiting. Unless of course, that is the plan. To play poorly with a roster nowhere nearly competitive to get a chance (no guarantees) at a generational player like Wright.

Things Won’t Get Easier

After the October 23rd home game against the New York Islanders, the team embarks on a six-game road trip. As of this writing, their opponents possess a combined 16-5-2 record. Four of the teams have yet to lose in regulation. In other words, things could go from bad to miserable for the Yotes. The team could get so buried in the standings that recovery would be nearly impossible to achieve. It’s no different than falling behind in a game where you start taking chances to catch up, only to find you have little chance of winning.

All Areas Need Work

When an NHL team has only scored eight goals and allowed 22 in four games, you know there are serious issues. The problem isn’t with the offence (2 goals per game, 27th in the NHL), the defence (5.25 goals allowed, 32nd in the NHL), or the goaltending (Hutton 0-2, 8.75 goals-against-average, .702 save percentage)… it’s all three. Granted, with such a large turnover in the roster, it may take time before things gel. It’s only been four games, yet once a losing culture takes hold, it could be difficult to reverse.

Rebuilds Are Painful

It has been perfectly clear that the Coyotes are rebuilding. They have a considerably less talented roster to use for success. While the management may continue to say they are making adjustments and evaluate poor performances as otherwise, it’s all just marketing for the team. What head coach is going to come out and say their team was lousy… except maybe former head coach Dave Tippett who is very difficult to please. Tourigny has been described as tough, so let’s see how long it takes him to get tough on his team if they continue this downward trend.

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