Phoenix Coyotes Roundtable: Thanksgiving Edition

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Should Thomas Greiss start more? Are more outdoor games good for the NHL? What are some great Thanksgiving traditions? FFH was joined by 24/7 News Source's Dave Zorn to answer these questions.

Before Wednesday's game, the Coyotes were on a bit of a slide, what has been the biggest area of concern over the last week and a half?

Dave Zorn: I think the biggest concern is a mixture of defense and goaltending. However, sluggish defense does tend to hang the goaltender out to dry at times. The waiving of Rusty Klesla was warranted as his play wasn't up to par this season as in the past. Plus, with the kids in Portland, it's time to see what they can do up here. I was really impressed with Connor Murphy when he came up last time. With the win last night, let's see if the holes are plugged now on defense.

Christopher Hair: My biggest concern with the current play has been the lack of urgency at the important points of the games. The Coyotes played a monstrous third period against Colorado until they got the lead, then immediately shut down letting the Avs tie the game. Against the Preds, they came out flat and uninterested in the first period and dug themselves a 3-0 hole before playing well the rest of the night. They haven't put together a solid 60 minute game maybe since the opener against New York. That needs to change.

Carl Pavlock: I think the biggest concern has been the first period and the fact that they allow their opponents to get an early lead. It was nice that earlier in the season they were able to come back against their opponents but it wasn't going to continue to happen and I think now it's finally come back to bite them.

Given his solid performance on Wednesday, does Thomas Greiss need to start more or should the Coyotes ride their starter as much as possible?

Dave: I think he does because, no offense to Jason LaBarbera and Chad Johnson, the Coyotes haven't had a solid #2 in net in a while. Greiss is that. He knows he's not the #1 here and is fine as the backup. Like last night in Minnesota, Greiss came up with the big saves when he needed to. It was a much-needed lift, something that is the primary role of a #2 goaltender. Mike Smith is, and should remain, the #1, but I wouldn't mind seeing Greiss getting a few more starts.

Christopher: Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes. Smith is the horse that will get Phoenix deep in the playoffs, but for whatever reason, he's been off to start the season. He was excellent in the second Sharks game and in St. Louis, but other than that, he has been average or worse all year. Maybe the pressure of his new contract or trying to play himself into Team Canada consideration have been on his mind, but there is something not clicking for Smith at the moment. Playing in 23 of the first 25 games probably hasn't helped that. Greiss is an above average backup NHL goalie and needs to get in between the pipes more often, if for no other reason than to allow Smitty a chance to breathe and maybe get back on track mentally. We need Smith fresh for April and May, not playing every game in December and January.

Carl: Greiss definitely needs to start more. Smith has been playing okay, not great but good enough in most situations, but he can't keep up this pace as the season drags on. He needs to rest to make sure he stays healthy, after all he lost time in his previous two seasons here because of injuries. Greiss has been solid during his time in net, it's time we give him a few games.

Is the NHL's Stadium Series a good thing for the NHL or a bad thing for the NHL long-term?

Dave: As much as I like the idea of "growing the game," I think the Stadium Series is a bad idea because it cheapens the Winter Classic. The Classic is a great idea and it attracts hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike. The Ducks and Kings at Dodger Stadium? Yeah, no thanks. I'll pass.

Carl: A good thing. I think they are starting off strong with a big push, and it will shrink a little next year but we may see one or two more Stadium Series games, hopefully in the markets that aren't likely to get the Winter Classic. It also makes it more likely for smaller and nontraditional market teams to get in on the action, so while Detroit and Toronto get a Winter Classic, next year we may see a Colorado/Phoenix Stadium game.

Jaime Eisner: The additional outdoor games are a good thing for for fans and for the League's bottom line. The NHL will have to tackle the issue of scarcity in the future, which probably means a reduced number of Stadium Series games. However, I believe the Stadium Series is here to stay and I'll get to witness it first hand at Dodger Stadium in January.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Dave: The time with family and friends. Which also includes food I will have to work off the very next day. Oh and football. Always a good decision.

Christopher: Canned Cranberry Sauce. That is all.

Jaime: Football, Family, Food - 'nuff said.

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