We'll start out this Phoenix Coyotes piece with some promises. First, we won't slam last year's playoff-missing squad for its lack of fire. Next, we won't declare that the gambling addictions -- er, alleged addictions -- of Rick Tocchet and Wayne Gretzky's wifey, Janet Jones, were a contributing factor to the team's ineptitude. Finally, we won't say that the front office's decision to build for the future by stocking young-buck stick-wielders won't produce immediate results in the win column. Instead, we'll merely suggest that the dawgs -- led by team captain Shane Doan and three-time defensive All-Star Ed Jovanovski -- ride the underdog card (pun intended) as long as possible and shock some of the more powerful NHL squads during the 2007-08 season. The Coyotes get their first chance when they open the regular season against the St. Louis Blues.
Thu., Oct. 4, 7 p.m., 2007