Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/03/12 at 11:04 AM ET
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
The real promise of this becoming the norm for the Coyotes came hours before they eliminated the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of Round 2.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, flanked by suitor Greg Jamison, announced a preliminary deal to sell the team to Jamison had been reached, and Bettman hoped the sale would close in weeks rather than months. And with that news, the shackles seemed to loosen.
Big-name free-agent signings could become a reality. Goalie Mike Smith could land a lucrative extension. Stability could join the lure of playing for coach Dave Tippett as brochure material. General Manager Don Maloney's desire to chase skill and talent in the off-season seemed to reinforce a new approach.
But nearly four months after Bettman hinted at change, everything is the same. The Coyotes didn't make any blockbuster acquisitions or re-up Smith. Their budget didn't swell, and their star power remains unaffected, unless captain Shane Doan decides to sign elsewhere. Then it drops.
So instead of grading this off-season against the scale of what could have been, it's best to stick with what has been. And in that regard, the Coyotes were again conservative -- but that style has led to three seasons of unexpected success.
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