GLENDALE, Ariz. — This season for the Arizona Coyotes is certainly one to forget, which is painfully obvious to every fan of the organization. Forty-three games into the 2022 season, the Coyotes are just 1 point out of dead last in the NHL standings, just ahead of the Montreal Canadiens.
Currently, the Coyotes have now lost five straight, all in regulation and by a combined score of 22 to 8. Arizona hockey legend and former Coyote Captain Shane Doan expressed just how difficult it is to win and win consistently in the NHL.
"It's so hard because it's such a competitive league," Doan said. "You have to simplify it and have to believe that your best can win tonight. That is all you can focus on."
That is a little difficult for both players and fans, when you realize the team boasts only three double-digit goal scorers and just four players with 20 or more points. When the season has gone completely awry, what can you do?
"You get so caught up in the standings and what is going on around you, that you have to simplify and get down to the very basics," Doan said. "You have to believe that tonight we will be the best team. Win or lose you refocus and do it again tomorrow, and that's the only thing you can do."
It's fair to say Arizona wasn’t designed to be good this season, and they certainly have proved it tallying 89 goals in 40 games, which is 31st out of the 32 NHL teams this season.
To be fair, the team is stripping down all valuable parts at an attempt for yet another rebuild, but they’ve been perhaps even worse than expected.
"There's a saying I like that resonates with this year's team," Doan said. "Adversity builds perseverance, perseverance builds character, character builds hope and hope will not disappoint you."
It can be extremely difficult to have any type of hope when this team ranks nearly dead last in every category. This includes both powerplay and penalty kill percentage, goalie rankings, goals for and against plus at the very bottom in their division.
"If you figure out how to persevere now, that'll build character and if you get character, that'll give you hope and hope won't disappoint," Doan said. "It's an approach you should have also in life, but in hockey you simplify it and go back to that."
Ten wins halfway through the season is a position no one likely saw coming, but according to alternate captain Clayton Keller, he still believes in the rebuilding process.
"We want to be successful, and we want to be a playoff team every single year," the 23-year-old forward said. "This is the start of it. Like I said, it stinks going through a rebuild, but all we can focus on is today and go from there."
Similar to Doan's point, all the Coyotes can do is put their best skate forward. A belief that the struggles now will eventually convert to many future seasons full of unbreakable character and hope that will not let down both the fanbase and each name on that roster.