What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Jaime Eisner: The three F's: football, family and food. There's nothing better than getting together for a large, warm meal then burning it off by watching hours of football. It's a really great holiday when you think about it.
Brendan Porter: Football, food, and family. Doesn't get a whole lot better than that.
Seth Juneac: It's odd and may not technically qualify, but the day after Thanksgiving for my family is always spent hanging up Christmas ornaments. My mom is really big into them, and there are some ornaments with tremendous sentimental value and great stories attached to them. It's always neat to reminisce about years past.
Christopher Hair: Cranberry sauce. Yum.
What are you thankful for this year (Coyotes or hockey related)?
Carl Pavlock: Right now, I'm thankful that we have a team. Honestly the team is underperforming compared to my expectations for the season, which is the case for most people, but I'm glad that we are still able to watch the Coyotes play every week. Also I'm thankful that the only team I like from my Alma Mater is getting elevated to the NCAA, the Sun Devil hockey team.
Christopher: The fact that we get more and more hockey related things to talk, tweet and write about every week, without having to preface everything with worries about the future of the team in the Valley. The Coyotes are here for the long haul and that is something to be thankful for.
Seth: Given that in previous years it has been uncertain, I'm thankful the whole Coyotes ownership saga has finally settled down at least for the foreseeable future. There are only 30 teams that play hockey at the highest level, and one of them belongs to Arizona. That's special. And that team also has Shane Doan. Not every franchise gets a guy like that.
Brendan: I'm thankful that I managed to complete my undergraduate thesis (stick tap to Jaime and the rest of FFH for that) so that I can graduate in three weeks. (Editor's note: it was titled "On Thin Ice" and was about the Coyotes' ownership saga) College always seemed like a far off destination for me, and now I'm about to leave with a Bachelor's Degree. That's pretty awesome.
Why do the Coyotes struggle so much to hold a lead late in games?
Brendan: Hardcore score effects? I think the problem with Arizona's offensive roster is that the team doesn't necessarily have the ability to create and sustain offense of its own accord for prolonged periods of time. In a situation like Tuesday night against Colorado, the Coyotes benefited from horrific defensive coverage and goaltending by Colorado, which let them jump out to the 3-0 lead.
Once they took their foot off the gas pedal, and Colorado's natural offensive talent started cashing in -- the Coyotes couldn't get the forecheck going again. They don't have possession monsters or ultra-elite level playmakers that can just take over a game for a while, so once the magic is gone, it doesn't really come back.
Seth: It's always the most frustrating thing thing in sports at any level; whenever you get off to a quick start, you feel the need to adjust the gameplan accordingly. Dave Tippett's style has always been notorious for dialing it back with a late lead instead of keeping the same gear that gave the lead in the first place. Whoever solves this question should also solve some of life's other great mysteries.
Christopher: The lack of offensive talent is definitely a top problem. The first three years of Tippet's regime, the Coyotes roster was loaded with speedy guys who were able to forecheck and cycle the puck in the offensive zone (Vrby, Whitney, Lombardi, Upshall, Stempniak, etc.) As these players left the team, they haven't been replaced with similarly styled players, and the Coyotes struggle to consistently pressure the offensive zone.
The lack of a truly dominant defensive pairing has hurt as well. Without the likes of Aucoin, Klesla and especially Michal Roszival, the Coyotes' backend, while extremely talented, has a lack of size and experience that continues to rear its ugly head in close out situations. They will get better, but probably not soon enough to save the season.
Carl: I don't think that the Coyotes are offensively gifted enough to keep the lead and defensively the team hasn't been that solid. When teams with more talent are behind they get desperate and the Coyotes' defense hasn't been enough to match that desperation, and their forwards aren't skilled enough to really keep scoring. At this point in the season, I have to believe that the reason they can't keep the lead is because they aren't good enough to keep the lead.
Is it too soon to consider trading away pending UFAs?
Christopher: I would say no. This is not a playoff team as currently constructed, especially in the brutality that is the Western conference. A guy like Zbynek Michalek would generate a lot of interest and a decent return on the open market. Trading Antoine Vermette would be a huge blow to the team, as he continues to be Arizona's best forward night in and night out, but he would also bring back a decent package. Plus, trading players like this now helps the Coyotes future in another way, the sooner they move them, the closer it brings them to The Prize: Connor McDavid. There can be only one.
Seth: It's not too early to listen to offers and to pull the trigger on things that make your team better. I think pulling out the "yard sale" sign sends the wrong message, especially with attendance still a factor -- unless the "addition by subtraction" mantra kicks in. I feel like fans would still come to see a team with spark plugs like Hodgman, Lessio and Samuelsson, even if it's not the greatest show on ice.
Carl: I don't think so. The team is not a playoff team, and though I hate to argue this, the team is better doing worse and getting a high pick this year. The two big UFAs I'm thinking of are Antoine Vermette and Zbynek Michalek and I think they can get a good return from them and should definitely consider moving them now. I'm not sure if the market is there right now, but I imagine some teams may be looking to shore up their second line with a center like Vermette or shore up their D-corps with Z so they don't have to wait until the trade deadline for a final piece.
Brendan: I don't know if the return is good enough at this point. There are still a lot of would-be partners out there that are trying to figure out if they have a shot at a playoff run or not. Once the new year hits however, I suspect we won't be seeing a whole lot of movement in the standings, at least not dramatically. So that's the time I think the GMs will be most receptive to hearing offers, all the way up until the trade deadline.