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Blackhawks’ Spy Report: The High Diving Phoenix Coyotes

Photoshop by Joe Kremel of

Mike Smith and Mike Ribeiro taking home gold in diving. Photoshop by Joe Kremel of



The Arizona Coyotes finally have a solid home … oh but wait, they are still the Phoenix Coyotes for now.  Does it even matter what they are called since they will be gone in five years anyway?  The Coyotes will try to become relevant in the next five years, and they’ve started by picking up known whiner/diver Mike Ribeiro.  They also re-signed defensive coaching expert Dave Tippet for five more years.  They have over 7 million in cap space with only Mikkel Boedker to re-sign and a number of forward positions to fill. They are in a decent position cap-wise and will be looking to start off next season strong.

The Play Maker – Mike Ribeiro (5.5 mill):  Ribeiro will fit in perfectly with the Coyotes’ style of diving and whining forged by Mike Smith and company.  Despite his bad reputation, Ribeiro is still a great play maker.  Last season on the Capitals team, he was second in points, and 36 of those points were assists.  His quickness and vision will be a huge asset to the Yotes who were lacking front end offensive talent.  To put that into perspective, Ribeiro had more assists than the top Coyote (Yandle) had points.  While there is no guarantee that his play making ability will be utilized properly in Phoenix, it would be hard to imagine it having no impact.

The Stopper – Mike Smith (5.6 mill):  Smith will be forever remembered in Chicago for his amazing diving skills.  A simple glance of his leg pad or a brush of a shoulder sent him flying.  He was brought in to stop pucks when Bryzgalov left, and instead he broke physics with his dives.  Last season was not a good season for Smith, and the Blackhawks really made sure that was the case.  He ended the year with a .910 SV% and a 2.58 GAA.  Both were a drop from the previous season where he put up a .930 SV% and a 2.21 GAA.  His SV% against the Hawks was a pathetic .826%.  To say the least, the Coyotes will be expecting a lot more from their hot headed academy award winning goalie.

The Norris Candidate – Oliver Ekman-Larsson (5.5 mill):  One of the few Yotes that doesn’t disgust me is Ekman-Larsson.  He had 3 less points than Duncan Keith last year on a team that isn’t remotely as offensively deep.  He earned his huge contract by playing a strong game no matter where he was on the ice.  He was a player that got more dangerous as the game went on.  Last year he scored half of his points in the third period, and 8 of his points were on the PP.  This guy will be an impact player for the Coyotes for a long time (until they move to Seattle in five years).

Prognosis:  The Yotes would really have to try to be more disappointing than they were last year.  With the acquisition of Ribeiro, the claim of ownership to the team, and the rise of Ekmon-Larsson, this team should be a threat in their division next year.  The main concern will be a familiar one: will they have anyone that will be able to reap the benefits of Ribeiro’s playmaking ability and put the puck in the back of the net consistently?

Topics: Chicago Blackhawks, Mike Ribeiro, Mike Smith, NHL Free Agency, Phoenix Coyotes, Spy Report

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  • George

    Ha ha ha. I’m a red wings fan, and you’re calling the kettle black being a blackhawks fan, Joe.

    • JMK-Hawks13

      I disagree with your assessment if it’s about diving since all teams have dives throughout the season, but the certain teams go well beyond the average levels. With that said, its off season and I’m just having fun with the ufa signings. *edit* I can understand your sentiment as a wings fan with the Hossa dive incident in the playoffs.

      • George

        I think all NHL teams have those select few that choose when the time is right to exploit the fast-paced play of the game itself. I’m a Bears fan, so don’t get the idea that I shun Chicago all together. Just a plight for some equality of an enthusiast as yourself… Side note, Bieber needs to keep his hands off the cup. Duncan should of wrapped that up.

        • JMK-Hawks13

          I’m just having fun in the desolate times we call the off-season. I have no qualms in admitting Hawks have done their fare share of stupid things. In reply to your side note. If you go to our facebook page we have a picture of Sharknado devouring Bieber before he can touch the cup.

      • Pacific Vacuum

        but yet you still take cheap shots at players from other teams when they dive? Glad you do it fully well knowing what a hypocrite you are, awesome.

  • Kevin Smith

    Maybe i’m naive (you know, since i’m from Phoenix), but didn’t Chicago have a time when their arena was empty? Not saying the Yotes compare, i’m not trolling, Chi was the best team this year. But Phoenix has only been in the market for what, 17 years? Our born here fans can’t even buy beer yet, let alone season tickets. This is a transplant state, and it will stay that way for a while……can you at least hold judgement if (or when in your mind) the team fails. Please don’t dig our grave yet just because your opinion of the team is sour. We actually have an owner who’s interest is in hockey, and city growth around the arena. Give it a chance to blossom. I for one would like to enjoy one season with out you so called “Hockey Experts” with a blog site sticking a fork in my team. And to be honest…..bothers me you can’t write an article without adding in your distaste of the Yotes. Thanks, and “stay classy Chicago”……………

    • JMK-Hawks13

      Actually I sympathize with the plight of the coyote fans. It’s the ownership I dislike. If the team could get an owner that absolutely wanted the team to stay and there was no out clause, then the team would have stability and a chance to flourish. Again, it’s the off season and its time for a little team vs team fun.

      • Kevin Smith

        Gotchya, Maybe i’m still a little strung out from the City of Glendale fiasco’s…….I think everyone can agree, this whole deal hasn’t been handled well in reguards to the team locating to Glendale and how the city has run it’s budget. Really wish they would have just kept the team in Phoenix. But, i’ll take the Homer stance and believe that we will start being a profitable franchise, and pack our arena……..(both fingers and toes crossed). I just hope our new ownership takes a page from teams like Chicago and starts improving our Paw Patrol…ie “ice girls”……LOL

        • JMK-Hawks13

          Rofl I didn’t expect the ice girl comment. As a Chicago fan growing up in the bill wirtz era I totally understand the crap you guys go through. We had a cheapskate you guys had a scam artist. I don’t mean to offend the fans, but you guys made yourselves temporary rivals with our last playoffs match. I’m just having fun with the mini rivalry. I really do hope we can keep the sun belt teams.

    • Pacific Vacuum


  • Sean Isner

    I find this article hilarious. Does Smith dive, yes, however he is a beast in the net. Everyone here in Phoenix chant his name every game. Saying the Coyotes are a bunch of whiners is extremely funny. I think the last two years really hurt us especially against the Kings. Truthfully, I think Brown got what he deserved with the ax chop by Smith with the hit on your man now, Rozsival. Sure Smith dives, I would rather have him in between the pipes rather than that head case Biz. The coyotes need to have a stable owner and pray that this is the one, but I don’t believe so. They should have made an agreement with the NHL and the reservation in Scottsdale, build it across the street from said Casino and have numerous different ways of reaching the stadium, not just I-10 in rush hour traffic. The Coyotes fan base here is strong, the driving is not, especially when 70% of the fan base lives in the East Valley and it takes an hour to drive 20 miles.
    *Edit* By the way, the Blackhawks were the best team in the league this year, I am not doubting that. However, I am tired as a die hard Coyotes fan of other people not living in the city writing about our Coyotes. Maloney is going to bring in some stars, Tippett is going to coach them to play Coyotes hockey and they will be in the thick of things this season.

    • JMK-Hawks13

      Tippet is a great coach and combined with the new ownership deal, you finally got some stability the fans and players can rely on. Unfortunately, the out clause still leaves people feeling nervous. I spent my summer’s in Phoenix right by the paradise valley mall growing up, so I am aware of the traffic problems to get anywhere in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area. My article was meant to be silly and fun. To fan the flames of the mini rivalry in the ever so stale off-season.

    • nickatnoon

      Mike Smith=MAMA’S BOY! He is a prime example of the new era of players. I read an article about him last year. He lost a game and was crying in the parking lot, and then called his mommy for sustenance! Google it pussies!

  • Harrison Rodis

    This is a joke of an article. Feel free to mention all the diving and bad plays that Ribeiro and Smith do but why not mention Martin Hanzal or Biznasty, who managed to get career high goals in the short season? Maybe talk about Vrbata who’s was recovering from injuries. Maybe take a second to mention Domi, one of the few draft picks that are actually capable of getting major ice time this season.

    • Pacific Vacuum

      it’s what this guy does, every 2nd article is about how everyone dives but CHI. Getting a little ridiculous, no?