Surprise in the Desert

How do you improve a team that finished near the lower end of the NHL the previous year? You almost lose the team, lower your prices, and, with the morale up from fans who want a team to remain in Phoenix, raise the morale of the player (Shane Doan, with a team high 45 points), to put up 77 points on the season good enough for rank 4 in the Western Conference.

In the off-season the NHL and the city of Glendale had to fight to keep the city in Arizona and succeeded. And definately there has been a chance for a playoff push and 10 points back of the Sharks for the conference lead.

With their beleaguered offense and only one player at 45 points, they do have a strong goaltending with a GAA of 2.30 and a save percentage of .920%, Pheonix has won 7 of their last 8 games. This is definitely the team that is the most improved from last year, and their coach Dave Tippett should win coach of the year for what he has done.

This is a team that has veteran leadership with 3 of their top 7 scorers over 33 years of age. This is a playoff team and hopefully they can make some key trades and seek to rebuild a failed attempt for a long time in Arizona. A good, strong playoff finish would show fans and the league that the team deserves to be in Phoenix, even though they have low ticket prices and attendance. They are one of the most interesting teams to watch play, and have improved in my mind from the worst team in the league with Wayne Gretzky as coach to a possible 3rd round playoff team.

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