It is almost a tradition here at Pig Iron Smelter No. 6 to begin Sunday mornings with a quick review of Saturday and a glimpse of the horrors to come Sunday—why Tottenham stinks again based on the fact that Spurs are always the early Sunday game and are perpetually scraping past Burnley by the skin of their eyelids; who got COVID now (Ben Roethlisberger); the latest college football absurdity (Kansas over Texas in overtime for its second win of the year and first road conference win since 2008); the NBA highlight of the night (New Orleans not losing for a change seems to work here); and the National Football League’s latest failed attempt to present football—usually the NFC East.
There is, though, one more staple of the early window, as they like to say on Red Zone, and that is Name That Hockey Game, which is where we begin today. And since it’s the Arizona Coyotes, where we end as well.
The plucky Doggies lost in Nashville last night, 4–1, which not so coincidentally is their average score this season—they get one, the other slobs get four. They are off to the third-worst start in NHL history with one regulation win and one overtime loss in 15 games, and are in the company of other monumental failures here: expansion teams in Ottawa, San Jose, Washington, Long Island, and Boston (yes, the 1924–25 Boston Bruins), as well as Denver, a team so bad that it left for New Jersey at season’s end.
They have played only three home games. They have beaten only expansion Seattle, and that with a Lawson Crouse goal with only 65 seconds to play. They began their season by giving up a goal in the first 40 seconds in a game they lost 8–2, and have led for barely 55 of the remaining 904 minutes of their season while trailing for nearly 600. They can blame COVID for only one lost player (Andrew Ladd) and have been relatively healthy. And they have the eighth-oldest roster, so it’s not like they’re rebuilding either. If you want further analytics, go find them yourselves. We haven’t the time, the strength, nor the interest. Being 1–13–1 is all the math we need, and if you’re a Coyotes fan and commenter who wants to make a spirited defense of the boys, well, don’t. You’re good people. Use your time more productively, like rooting for Arizona’s football team to win its own second game of the year (came close against Utah, so give that much to the lads).
The Coyotes have brought back the Kachina logo, so it hasn’t been a totally lost season, but if you’re new-and-probably-soon-to-be-old coach André Tourigny, it sure must feel like it. Their current road trip ends Tuesday in St. Louis before they return to the friendless confines of Gila Bend Arena where their first job will not be to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets but to avoid the landlord wanting to know when that back rent is coming.
Maybe this wouldn’t seem quite so bad if Kansas hadn’t beaten Texas, in overtime, in Austin, as a 31-point underdog, on a two-point conversion to a walk-on who hadn’t caught a pass all year. The Longhorns have now lost five consecutive games for the first time since 1956, and all under coach Steve Sarkisian, who got the job because winning the Big 12 title a year ago under Tom Herman wasn’t sufficiently Longhorny, nor was his response to a question about his team perhaps checking out on the season: “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.”
That’s the spirit.
Or maybe the Coyotes could have avoided attention had not the utterly bereft Pelicans beaten the Ja Morants at home. Or if Florida hadn’t needed to score 70 to beat Samford and had its players celebrate like that was an accomplishment. Or had Montenegro not stolen a late draw with the Netherlands (which we included only appease Sunday editor Comrade Haisley) in World Cup qualifying.
But clearly we’ve run out of reasons to avoid the ‘Yotes. They clearly cannot continue at their current pace because nobody ever does. Still, to be in the company of the worst expansion teams in the league’s expansion-happy history is something that needs to be savored, at least until they get to the 20-game mark and pick up a few more stragglers, like the ’98 Lightning, a couple of more mid-70s Caps teams, and the most aptly named team of them all, the 1930-31 Philadelphia Quakers, who moved from Pittsburgh that summer and folded the following spring. In other words, there are still depths to be plumbed here, and the Coyotes might just be the team to do it.
Just save the Kachina. It never meant anyone any harm.