Legal squabbles between the Board of Trustees of Portland, Maine’s Cumberland County Civic Center and the ownership group of their primary tenant, the Portland Pirates, have relegated the team to the northern reaches of Maine for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, on the ice, the Phoenix Coyotes AHL affiliate finds themselves in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings.
Teams define themselves by U.S. Thanksgiving, according to conventional wisdom. This rule of thumb could apply to players, as well. By late November, there are no more predictions or expectations. Prospects are what their performance says they are.
In 1995, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi knocked New York Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson unconscious with a sucker punch that is still considered one of the dirtiest plays in recent NHL history. This year, their sons could be the ones connecting, on scoring plays rather than right hooks.
For the first time in four seasons, the Phoenix Coyotes missed the playoffs. After having their most successful postseason in franchise history, the Coyotes struggled to string wins together until it was too late. With a slew of young defensemen looking to make the jump to the next level, the Coyotes are in a position where a good forward can fall right into their laps at the 12th pick.