Good morning, Phoenix Coyotes Fans. We have great news for you all. This week we are joined by the first of many guests we have lined up for the Roundtable. Our special guest for this week's Roundtable is Paul Becker. Paul, also known as pbcoyotes, is the person behind the blog One Fan's Perspective. This week we discuss Boston's favorite d-man, the playoff race, and the Coyotes schedule.
Do you feel Keith Yandle should have been named to the 2011 NHL All-Star Team?
Paul: Keith Yandle's snub of the All-Star Team was just perplexing to the point of being obnoxious. This act raises the ire of conspiracy theorists who might think the NHL is doing this stuff on purpose. Why? Let's look at the stats: Yandle currently ranks 6th among the NHL's defensemen in points scored with 35 (7G 28A). Sure, he's a plus-4, but Mike Green is there with a plus-7 but with less points at 21. Did Yandle miss out because of defense as it relates to scoring? Not sure because Danny Boyle is on that team with 30 points with minus-12 rating along with Erik Karlsson who has 26 points and a minus-13! Yeah, the NHL screwed the pooch on this one. I try to look at these things objectively, but Yandle is one of the best defensemen on the league and they completely over-looked him.
Jordan: I think so - he's having a breakout season and leads the team in points. He has some of the best power play assists numbers in the league and is playing big minutes against tough competition. I just don't like the NHL using the rookie loophole to avoid the representative from each team rule. If you want to help market the league in Phoenix, then you should probably have a representative for Phoenix in the game, right? Not that I care about the All Star Game, but I just felt it was a bad omission.
Carl: No. I know I am probably in the minority on this issue and am not going to make people around here happy. I believe Keith still needs to play a bit better in his own zone until he should get an all-star nod, especially given the current set up in terms of how many spots there are. Yandle was certainly the most deserving of the Coyotes and I'm sure was discussed by the league office, but no one on the team had a consistent enough first half to say they truly ‘deserved' to go. In addition, I'm quite happy to see no one of the team go. It allows for them to get a nice break and come back refreshed for the final push.
Travis: Absolutely. He one of the top producing defensemen in the league right now and is leading the team in total points. Seems like a no brainer so it's no wonder that whoever named the rosters totally screwed it up. That being said, I'm not too broken up that he won't be attending. Especially after the injury to his eye/face this week. There will be plenty of other chances for him to play in it in the years to come, why not rest up for the run deep in the playoffs?
How many points do you believe it will take to make the playoffs in the Western Conference?
Paul: Since the lockout, teams have made the playoffs with 95 points and with the current logjam, it looks that right now teams in the Western Conference might need more. However, as much as I don't think the magic number is 95 this season, it won't be much higher - 97 might be the number this year. We still have a lot of divisional and conference games to go that could cause the logjam to break up.
Jordan: I'm going to go with 95. For the past several years it's taken in the mid-90s to make the playoffs and I think that despite all the teams being very equal and bunched up, that will be the number to hit again this year. Of course, you want to get home ice advantage and it's going to take at least 100 points to get that, I think. So, it's a long hard slog that the Coyotes need to keep winning games and avoid an extended losing streak.
Carl: This is a tough question this far away from April. Given the vast majority of games left on team's schedules are intra conference games I'm going with a number slightly lower than the last two years. I'm going with 93 points. This assumes that teams are going to being beating each other a fair amount and there isn't going to be huge separation between the fourth place and eleventh place teams in the West.
Travis: 96. Did you want an explanation? Um... Because I said so.
What home game left on the Coyotes schedule are you most looking forward to watching and why?
Paul: Based on current positional play, closing out the L.A. Kings series next Saturday is the game I have my eyes on right now. It's a four-point game and the Kings are currently out of the standings. Putting more space between them is an important task.
Jordan: Have to say that the Valentine's Day game against the Capitals has been circled on the calendar all season. With the Caps' struggles early in the season they should be a more desperate team and that should be a fun one to watch. Seeing last year's Stanley Cup champions come into Glendale twice will also be really exciting.
Carl: Taking out my personal bias towards a certain team who will be in town next month, I'm going to go with the March 8th matchup with the Canucks. Vancouver looks to be the team to beat in the West. I'm interested to see how the Coyotes look against them late in the regular season.
Travis: Coyotes vs. Caps. So that Carl can feel all conflicted when the Coyotes light up Ovi and the gang on Versus. Should be a good way for the East coast to see us win a big game.
What road game left on the Coyotes schedule are you most looking forward to watching and why?
Paul: Based on Saturday night's drubbing of the Water Fowl, I'm most looking forward to the last match between the Ducks and Coyotes. It's late in the season, the playoff push is at its peak and both teams will have a bit of nasty edge to them as they try to eliminate a rival from the playoffs. Perry wasn't happy about the Yandle slash - the Ducks were upset - could be Armageddon.
Jordan: Being from Philly, I gotta go with the Flyers. It's always a tough game as it's hard to see either team lose, so hopefully it will be an overtime win for the Coyotes in that one.
Carl: I was torn on answering this one. I chose between the Ducks game on March 13th and the Flyers game on February 22nd. I went with the Flyers game for two reasons. First, I've seen the Coyotes play the Ducks plenty already this season. Second, I want to see how the Coyotes defend against the high powered Flyers offense.
Travis: At the Sharks on April 9th. Should be a good game and the start of another visit to the postseason once it's over.