More on the Coyotes – April 23, 2011.

Who do the Coyotes players feel about a possible move to Winnipeg? Does Ilya Bryzgalov’s recent diss of Winnipeg shared by other NHL players?  What issues face management heading into an off-season of uncertainty? Read on for the latest.

FOXSPORTS ARIZONA: Craig Morgan recently reported on five issue facing the Phoenix Coyotes this summer whilst facing the possibility of relocation to Winnipeg. Among the issues: will the new ownership, be it one committed to keeping the team in Arizona or moving it to Winnipeg, be committed to investing in the roster, especially notable free agent like Ilya Bryzgalov, Keith Yandle, Radim Vbrata and Kyle Turris? Given how Bryzgalov has come up short in the last two playoffs, might they be better off investing in another goaltender? They’ll also need to “do the right thing” by team captain Shane Doan, who is entering the final season of his current contract, and re-sign him to another, albeit more affordable, extension.

SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector (No relation) reported Bryzgalov’s recent comments expressing an unwillingness to follow the Coyotes to Winnipeg spoke for ” a goodly portion of NHL players”, noting a player who signs with the Coyotes this summer stands a 50-50 chance of playing next season either in Arizona or Winnipeg.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek reported Coyotes players like Shane Doan and Adrian Aucoin consider the Phoenix area their home and would prefer to stay.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is something Canadian hockey fans in general and Winnipeg hockey fans in particular don’t like to hear, but there hasn’t exactly been a stampede of top unrestricted free agents in the playing prime signing with Canadian-based teams in recent years, especially those in smaller markets. If the Coyotes do move to Winnipeg of course they’ll be able to sign UFAs, but more likely it’ll be those still unsigned desperate for an NHL job. Re-signing restricted free agents like Yandle and Turris shouldn’t be a problem as the team owns their rights, provided of course they don’t get an unmatchable offer sheet from a rival club if they’re still unsigned after July 1st, but retaining or replacing pending UFAs like Bryzgalov and future ones like Doan could be a problem if players start to view “the Peg” like many of them currently view Edmonton. Of course, that can change if the Winnipeg team turns into a perennial Cup contender, but when it’s a marginal team or a perennial non-contender, it becomes harder to entice top free agents.


  1. Who was the latest top tier free agent to sign in Phoenix, Atlanta, Nashville……? I think some of these Southern states are among the most foul places to live in America, even if they have warmer weather than Winnipeg.

    My point is, I think the desire to join a good organization does more for a team than their location. I don’t think Detroit is that high on many peoples’ list of places to move (as the 2010 census shows) yet players go their because they are a perennial contender that treats their players well.

    Bryzgalov is just negotiating. Or whatever.

    But if Phoenix is such a great place to play hockey, then why isn’t it a better place to own a team?

  2. What a bunch of spoiled brats. They sure forget where they come from in hurry. Let them go play in Russia. Or the AHL. Of course they love it in Phoenix. No one cares is they play good or bad. Okay so maybe 600-700 people, my bad! Winnipeg is a fine city with good people. They deserve a team a lot more than Arizona does.

  3. This is going to be an issue when it comes to how the franchise survives in Winnipeg. The NHL is running into problems in the south because no one wants to go see the games but alot of the players like playing there. Winnipeg will run into the problem of no players wanting to play there which will hurt their success and ultimately their ability to survive when people don’ t want to see a failing team.

  4. Maybe players like playing in these southern cities as no one knows who they are. They can play golf 365 days a year.
    If I remember Shane Doan played in Winnipeg and was sad to leave it.. now he does not want to go back?
    Well then don’t. I’m sure there are a lot of young players in the AHL that would love to play NHL hockey ANYWHERE.
    Some of these players I guess have a sense of entitlement. Well stay in the south.. if you can find a job on a team. There are only so many spots to go around.

  5. People keep in mind that we all have a wish list of where we would like to hang our hat, and given the choice that location would all be different. Just because these guys make good money (which is compensation for potentially being disabled) doesn’t mean that they forfiet the right, when it becomes available to them to play where they want and an organization agrees to take them. Grow up put the ego to the side and realize we all want different things.

  6. What? Winnipeg’s not a destination city? This is news to me. Next thing you know people will be bad-mouthing buffalo.

  7. Doesn’t matter which city the team is in, players are smart enough to know when a team is run like a business or like a circus, hence, Tb for the past few years Pitt for quite a few years, etc, etc