Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cujo looks to join Gretzky's Desert Dogs

Today's Toronto Sun reports that the Phoenix Coyotes have made an offer to Curtis Joseph, the best goaltender available on the free agent market.

Despite the debacle that his stint with the Red Wings proved to be and his advancing age (he turned 38 in April), Joseph is still an elite NHL goaltender, something he showed in the Wings second-round playoff series with the Calgary Flames in 2003-04. In nine postseason games, Joseph posted the best goals-against average (1.39) and save percentage (.939, tied with Tomas Vokoun) of any twineminder. I felt sorry for Cujo in the Flames series, as he did everything but score a goal for a Detroit team that seemed hellbent on losing.

As for the Coyotes, well, they were third last in the West, and fifth last in the NHL, the last time hockey was played. Should they add Joseph in net, however, this is beginning to look like the makings of an improved club. The Western Conference will be wide open, and, in terms of roster holes, getting Cujo would address the main one.

A line-up up front consisting of veterans Shane Doan, Petr Nedved, Ladislav Nagy, Brett Hull and Mike Ricci should provide more than enough depth and scoring punch, and the team's young defence looks as though it could finally turn a corner. Blueliners Derek Morris, Cale Hulse and Paul Mara are all coming off strong seasons, and veteran Sean O'Donnell, a free agent pickup, could be the steadying influence they were missing last season.

To me, that line-up, while not scary, is one of a playoff team. Brian Boucher as the team's starting goaltender, however, was the main question mark, one that the team is set on addressing.

Many are regarding Phoenix as a lost cause that Gretzky is taking the helm of, but I find it hard to believe The Great One will not do everything in his power to begin the season with the best club possible. Consider getting Cujo Step 1.

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At 2:01 a.m., August 17, 2005, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

That is an awesome photo.


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