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Coyotes monthly mailbag: You asked, I tried to answer

Craig Morgan Avatar
August 31, 2022

For most of my life, I never needed a sleep app. Exhaustion was enough.

The anxieties and aches associated with middle-aged fatherhood have changed all of that. Now I’m an addict.

Waves are my weed. Crickets are my crack. Rain is my Rozerem.

It has reached the point where I can’t sleep without my sleep app. This bugs me as a father because I also want to hear every noise in the house to keep my family safe. Instead, every one of those noises keeps me awake. The sudden crack of the ice maker. The hum of the water cooler. The AC turning on and off. My wife’s breathy snore. My neighbor digging holes in his yard at 3 a.m. (I made that one up).

I am so dependent on my sleep app that I use it on the road whenever I travel. And the phone isn’t enough. I take my portable Bose speaker with me, too, because most sleep sounds sound like static to me when played over a phone. I’m a sleep snob.

I am amazed at the variety of sounds that apparently have a market and an effect. I have no idea how somebody sleeps to the cacophony of the coffee shop sound, the crack of thunder, the sudden screech of birds or the super creepy singing bowl, but my kids tell me those are preferential my choices.

“I feel like I’m in an asylum when I listen to crickets,” my youngest says.

There’s probably a metaphor for adulthood hidden in that analysis.

My youngest doesn’t even use a sleep app. The whir of the fan is enough. My oldest only needs our Shih Tzu Sophie’s snoring to sleep. They have been napping buddies for 15 years so that makes sense, but she also uses a running stream sound which I like, but it creates other issues for a middle-aged guy (I’ll leave that up to your imagination).

The issue now is volume. My wife likes to imagine the waves are distant, as if we live on a cliff in La Jolla. I like to imagine that I’m sleeping on the beach. My simple solution is to wait until she falls asleep. This usually takes about five minutes and then I am back in the sand, awaiting the arrival of the sandman.

Let’s get to your questions.

Illustration by Bea Wyatt

From Discord

All that GM Bill Armstrong has said is that it is just a matter of working through the process. He said the same thing with Lawson Crouse and that deal got done. My understanding is that the sides are not far apart and that they expect to have a deal in place by camp. We are about three weeks away. Rookie camp is in San Jose from Sept 16-19. Veterans report for camp on Sept 21.

My take is Detroit. They added David Perron, Andrew Copp, Dominik Kubalik, Olli Määttä, Ben Chiarot and a good goalie in Ville Husso. The Red Wings have to defend better (their 312 goals against were the second worst in the NHL last season), but I like those additions to the young core. Other analysts like Ottawa’s offseason and I do think the Senators improved with the additions of 34-year-old Claude Giroux, Alex DeBrincat and a motivated, veteran goalie in Cam Talbot, but I still need to see more growth from their top centers, the back end needs help, and overall, I have no idea how any of these teams (except maybe the Islanders) makes up the massive 2021-22 point deficit that existed in the Eastern Conference between the playoff teams and the non-playoff teams. I think the same eight teams will make the playoffs again in the East with the Islanders as the top contender to unseat one.

The updated CHL-NHL agreement has been agreed to and sent to the NHLPA for ratification. That ratification is expected to happen. The new agreement lasts seven years, expiring after the 2028-29 season.

As for Guenther, I do not agree that there is no benefit to another WHL season. I think that he can still gain confidence and grow his game in that atmosphere while beefing up his body. It would also be cool if he got to experience playing in the Memorial Cup; an experience that he missed last season due to injury.

While I would like to see a modification or exception added to the CHL-NHL agreement that allows players in that tweener stage of development/ability to go to the AHL before their 20th birthday — an idea floated by some executives and coaches — I do not sense widespread appetite for that change so I think we are stuck with the status quo; a situation that serves the financial interests of the CHL more than it serves the players.

I do wonder why more teams don’t pursue the idea of having their players play in a pro league in Europe for that tweener year so that they can gain the experience of playing against men. It is obviously harder to keep tabs on a player’s development in Europe, but most teams have staff on the continent and that experience really seemed to help Auston Matthews in Switzerland. I may explore this in a story this season.

I have been a few times, although it has been a long time since my last visit. I have tried the rattlesnake. I did not think it tasted like chicken. I thought it was tough and somewhat flavorless.

I don’t know if any Coyotes players have ever been to Rustler’s Rooste. Sorry, that’s not a question that has come up, but some of them must have tried it over the past 26 years.

From Twitter

That might depend on who’s here this season. If Andrew Ladd decides to play out the final year of his contract, he’d be one guy I would look to for leadership. Nick Bjugstad and Shayne Gostisbehere are other possibilities. As far as the guys who will be here long-term are concerned, I’d look at Lawson Crouse.

I don’t know if coach André Tourigny will select a captain. He has said that he is more in favor of a leadership group than handing the reins to one guy, but we’ll see.

I’m adding coaches even though you didn’t ask.

Coaches: Barry Trotz (personable and insightful), John Tortorella (people have no idea how amazing he is, one-on-one), Jon Cooper (also personable) and Bruce Boudreau (hilarious).

Players: P.K. Subban (completely engaged), Patrice Bergeron (incredible analyst), Jaromir Jagr (oozes personality), Matthew Tkachuk (as colorful as his dad), Drew Doughty (pulls no punches).

I honestly have not seen numbers to suggest whether it is or is not a trend, but to me there are several advantages of going the NCAA route. First, you can play in the AHL before you are 20 because you are not beholden to the money-grubbing CHL-NHL agreement. Second, you can get a college degree. Even if players leave school early, they still have access to it if they want to finish up their degree later. Third, you get to play against more physically mature players and I think college players learn to play a more complete, two-way game so it’s a more accurate test of how they might fare at the NHL level; albeit still a long leap away. Finally, the training facilities at some schools (the Big Ten schools and ASU for example) are elite. Put simply, the money behind some major Division I schools surpasses the money behind major junior programs.

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I don’t know about likely. That will be sorted out in training camp if he proves he deserves it, but I could see the Coyotes making that decision so that he could get a taste of NHL action without burning the first year of his ELC.

The CHL-NHL agreement limits where he can play, but I do not think that Guenther is ready for the NHL. He needs to play with skill and he needs to play a lot of minutes in different situations. He’s not a fourth-liner. When you put him in that top-six or top-nine role, he’ll face those tougher matchups and play those extra minutes. That’s a big leap from the WHL.

GM Bill Armstrong and AGM John Ferguson have repeatedly said that they want to put prospects in the best situation to succeed, and in a healthy environment. I’m not sure either of those conditions exists with the rebuilding Coyotes.

This franchise has a history of rushing prospects. I still think the best place for Guenther is back with Edmonton. Let him dominate that league for another year and lead them back to the Memorial Cup. I wouldn’t even mind seeing him start the 2023-24 season in Tucson to get his feet wet away from the NHL spotlight; then get a call-up. Tucson fans would salivate over a Logan Cooley-Dylan Guenther line.

Yes. I do not remember the exact measurements, but there is a certain square footage requirement for NHL dressing rooms and team spaces, and there are certain amenities, training, medical and otherwise, that must be available to players in accordance with NHLPA/CBA specifications.

The NHLPA continues to work closely with the league and the Coyotes on specifications for Mullett Arena. Their recent efforts in this regard have focused on a variety of areas, including medical facilities, workout facilities, dressing and change rooms, security, player transportation and family areas. 

In a variety of different ways. Some have been sweethearts since they were very young; others meet along the NHL path. Of course, the latter scenario presents potential pitfalls, but the pitfalls aren’t isolated to the players. They exist for their significant others as well.

I reported on the Columbus story right after the draft. I had multiple sources tell me that was the case, but a Columbus source denied it.

As for the Lamoureux report, I have no idea, but there are often instances where teams want a player and another team grabs them right before they pick.

Per an ASU spokesperson: “Pac-12 Network owns the rights to all of our home games for all of ASU sports. I believe the Pac-12 is waiting for the release of the basketball schedules and then we’ll see how many hockey games can be aired.”

No. It will be shown to reporters, donors, potential season-ticket holders, etc., but not the general public. There is too much liability associated with that sort of practice while it’s a live site.

You could also include “Memento” on this list.

Let start with his. I like all of these films. I’ll have to nitpick to rank them, and it’s all the more difficult to combine the Batman films because they have varying strengths, but here are my opinions/rankings, in reverse order.

6. “Interstellar” — I like the film but too often it becomes melodramatic, I never fully believe the characters, and as a fan of good writing, I think the dialogue often suffers, sometimes to the point where I cringe.
5. “Tenet” — So complex that it’s worth a second watch (I have) but it may be too dense and confusing for its own good. To me, achieving incomprehensibility is silly: Look how clever I am. Many of you don’t get it on the first watch? Watch it again. Sorry, but it’s up to the director to reach his audience; not vice versa. Still, a fascinating movie.
4. “Dunkirk” — The main issue I had with this film was that I never cared about any of the characters because the film was so impersonal. Then again, maybe that’s the point of a massive war; lives lost in anonymity. The sweeping cinematography was exceptional and the sense of hopelessness absolutely came through in the story.
Side note: “Darkest Hour” covers some of the same ground and is a better movie.
3. “The Prestige” — Huge Christian Bale fan. Really liked this throughly engaging, multi-leveled film.
2. The Batman trilogy — These are my favorite superhero movies. Honestly, I am beyond tired of the superhero genre. It has become a cliché, and a worn-out one at that. The genre now embodies Hollywood’s lazy, formulaic, trend-following, spectacle-over-substance nature, but this series is fantastic. It helps that Batman is the most complex superhero ever created; one without superpowers, but with very real flaws and inner demons.
1. “Inception” — This movie gave my youngest waking nightmares, which shows what a great parent I am. The story and writing were so good. The storytelling was so good. The cast — Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy — was exceptional, with the exception of Elliott Page’s flat character; a bummer in that I have watched Juno like 10 times because Page was so fantastic in that movie. This movie also made me explore the music of Édith Piaf, whom I first learned to appreciate in “Saving Private Ryan.”

Let’s be clear. There is less than a zero percent chance that this happens in the next couple of seasons. Seasons 3 and 4 (if there is a fourth) would be remote chances, but if it were to happen, it would be a nightmare for the league. The multi-purpose arena does not have the capacity to host the volume of media, scouts, executives and league officials who would normally attend a Stanley Cup Final. The ticket prices would be insane.

The cool side would be watching a Cup Final in such an intimate setting. That building is going to be loud, the sight lines are great and the location is amazing. Fortunately for the league, this is little more than a pipe dream unless a certain native son comes home in 2024.

As I reported previously, nothing has been announced, but I expect Shane Doan to take a step back from the organization yet still be around and involved in various capacities next season. How much could depend on how much else he has going on.

More information could come soon.

Yes. The Coyotes cap hit last season was $74,411,276, per CapFriendly. The 2022-23 cap hit currently sits at $62,136,708, with $58,155,875 in actual salary spent.

This one is actually pretty easy: Shane Doan, Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen and Jeremy Roenick.

The first three represent three of the four captains in franchise history. Doan’s name is synonymous with the franchise and Tkachuk is probably the best player ever to pull on the sweater.

Numminen (fifth all-time in franchise points) was pure class and so smooth in his heyday. Roenick was both a great player and instrumental in selling the game when the Coyotes arrived in 1996; a tireless ambassador whose interactions with fans were both genuine and lengthy.

Honorable mention to Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Radim Vrbata. If there were a coaches wing, Dave Tippett would be the choice.

I was actually headed into finance. That’s why I laughed when Lee Stempniak noted on the PHNX Coyotes show on Monday that he took a job with Goldman Sachs out of college and was living in New York when he realized that life wasn’t for him. That was my exact path, but I never got so far as to start working the job. I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing it so I went back home to Chicago, started freelancing for a suburban newspaper and then applied to journalism school to get my Masters because I didn’t feel that I had enough understanding of the craft.

As noted above, all that GM Bill Armstrong has said is that it is just a matter of working through the process. He said the same thing with Lawson Crouse and that deal got done. My understanding is that the sides are not far apart and that they expect to have a deal in place by camp. We are three weeks away from camp.

The last I heard (Frank Seravalli reported this first) was that Holtby, who will turn 33 in September, was going to miss the entire 2022-23 season due to a lower-body injury and was leaning toward retiring. I don’t think the Coyotes have explored the Holtby possibility due to that information.

The black Kachina is my favorite Coyotes jersey. I grew up in Chicago so the Blackhawks’ red jersey is my favorite NHL jersey.

Diversify your abilities in this ever-shifting industry and do as much work on the side during school as you can to build your portfolio. Chances are, you’ll be asked to take on more than one duty in your career. But please, for the love of god, learn how to write and conduct an interview. I am stunned by how many journalism students emerge from school without those basic yet essential abilities.

It’s a good question and one that is difficult to answer at this point because the market has not been set. The two players most likely to garner a first-round pick would be Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere, if the former is able to regain his earlier form and the latter is able to maintain his level of play from last season.

I’ll make Nick Ritchie the dark horse in the mix. He had 10 goals in 24 games for Arizona last season. If he can maintain that sort of pace, there could be a substantial market for a big, physical, goal-scoring wing, who was a first-round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2014 (No. 10 overall).

Gotta be Dunkin’ Donuts. ‘Merica. Tim’s is overrated.

I’ll check to see when he plans to launch his website.

Team president/ CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in an interview when he first came aboard that it would be a priority. I would think at some point down the road it will become an area of focus.

That said, the Coyotes have dealt with significant financial losses associated with a global pandemic, and losses associated with playing at Gila River Arena. They have to spend money to upgrade the multi-purpose arena and the Ice Den Scottsdale, and they are eyeing a $1.7 billion arena and entertainment project in Tempe. There’s a finite amount of money that they can spend so like you said, first things first: Secure their future in Arizona, and then they can start worrying about growing the game by helping to build more ice sheets.

Many of the stories at this time of year are driven by news. For example, when Barrett Hayton signs his new contract, that will be a story. If Jakob Chychrun is traded, that will be a story. If the Coyotes acquire another goalie, that will be a story. When Andrew Ladd decides what he’s going to do next season, that will be a story. When training camp arrives, I will look at the most intriguing storylines. It won’t be a this-guy-is-excited-for-next-season story or Coyotes-think-they-can-surprise story. There has to be a genuine angle to warrant me writing about it.

As for the prospect report, I try to cover three or four in each report. I’ll rely on the development guys’ thoughts and the performance of the players to dictate who gets profiled when.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide any insight right now. It is on my list of stories to pursue before the season, however.

First off, I have to tell you that I fell off the Bandwagon (pun intended), in R.E.M.’s later years. It’s my opinion that they lost their way in the newer releases so my rankings are a refection of that.
1. “Murmur” — This album has some pretty deep emotional ties to my school years but it is also one of the most complete albums I know. Michael Stipe was an art major (loved surrealist art, as do I) at Georgia at a time when the Athens music scene was spectacular. That is reflected in the lyrics and he often talked about using his voice as another instrument, as much as using it as the vocal track. Nowhere is that more evident than on this album. It’s hard for me to even pick favorite songs off this album because it is so good, but the three-cut run of “Sitting Still,” “9-9” and “Shaking Through” is exceptional.
2. “Life’s Rich Pageant” — This album was released in July of 1986 while I was working a summer job for my dad’s steel corporation, putting up fence and guardrail all over the city and northern half of Illinois. I even turned two co-workers from Big Sandy, Tennessee into R.E.M fans after they had heard “Fall on Me” and “Superman” enough, but my favorite deeper cuts on this LP are “Cuyahoga,” “The Flowers of Guatemala,” and “Swan Swan H.”
3. “Automatic for the People” — “Nightswimming” is a gorgeous song that approaches magnum opus territory, and there is a lot of biting political/social commentary on this LP.
4. Tie “Document” & “Reckoning” — There are a couple of mindless pop songs on Document that bug me like “Can’t Get There from Here” and “Driver 8”, but this album starts and ends well, “Exhuming McCarthy” is a great song, and the LP has a number of those lilting guitars riffs that are reminiscent of The Byrds.
As for Reckoning, R.E.M.s second release is another complete work that contains perhaps my favorite song by the band, a deep cut called “Letter Never Sent.”
5. “Chronic Town” — This is kind of cheating since it is an EP and not a full album, but I love the hard-driving simplicity of it.

We will attend the Sept. 25 preseason game vs. Anaheim. After that, it’s TBD.

An NCAA Tournament berth.

He did not; couldn’t make it work with his schedule.

Pure guesswork, but the first two picks: Logan Cooley and Conor Geekie.

I have been OD’ing on Radiohead lately. I have a 15-song playlist on my phone.

I just listened to a commemorative piece on Amy Winehouse, who died 11 years ago this summer. I have been listening to a lot of her work; an immense talent lost.

Finally, my oldest daughter has suddenly taken a liking to Modest Mouse so I am riding that train again.

Being so far away from old friends and family and spending time in downtown Chicago. Honestly, that’s it. There are so many transplants here that I can enjoy all of Chicago’s staple cuisines. People romanticize Midwestern summers. Midwestern summers suck (as does the weather there most of the year). They’re alternately hot and humid or rainy. The only constant is the swarms of mosquitoes (this also defines New England summers). I’ll take Arizona’s eight months of great weather over any region in the country except California and southern Oregon. Also, we have incredible, nearby mountain escapes from the heat.

It is a fair concern, Tim. I’m not sure what the answer is yet, but I will make every effort to find out.

It’s always a possibility if he doesn’t play well, but my guess is that his next contract will be a one-way contract which would make that difficult. I think he showed André Tourigny enough last season that he has earned a permanent spot.

I could see McBain, Smith or both ending up in Tucson. To be frank, I think that’s where both belong to develop their games, but McBain in particular has a chance to stick because of his size and net-front abilities.

What are the exact dates so that I can mute you?

As for the remedy to a rough week:
Option No. 1: Hug my family
Option No. 2: Hugh my dog, who is also my family
Option No. 3: Pour a glass of Rioja
Option No. 4: Watch a movie
Option No. 5: Meditate
Option No. 6: Stare into the abyss…

Option No. 5,678. Watch “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Sorry, Ian. No idea.

I don’t have a favorite type. I like lots of genres: rock, blues, reggae, some pop, some techno, older jazz, some classical (mostly Mozart), psychedelic, folk.

My walk-up song would be “Old Man Walking” by No More Kings.

Yes, I think that they may remain an independent next season, but there is talk of joining the Big Ten or the NCHC (more likely the former due to the greater brand and revenue possibilities of those schools).

That said, there is also some internal thought to remaining an independent because of the diverse schedule it affords and the opportunities to market the program in numerous regions of the country. Also, every DI program in NCAA hockey wants to come to Arizona to play. The only drawback is not having a conference tournament to prepare for the NCAA tournament.

Only hard truths here: There are no good hockey movies beyond “Miracle” and “Slapshot.” They are all childishly formulaic, the acting is awful, the dialogue is awful and the action scenes are downright embarrassing.

Those jerseys are the only mistake that the franchise ever made in the many iterations of its uniforms. The logo looks like a fox…. or the Greyhound bus logo.

Top photo via Getty Images

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