The on-ice product for the Arizona Coyotes isn’t the best. We all know that and the numbers can attest to that. However, with the story the Louis Domingue shared with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Power Play Podcast shows that maybe they’re failing more off-the-ice than people want to admit– not just in community relations and all of that, but with the handling of players overall.
Raw Charge on SBNation did a great job of recapping the episode hosted by Matt Sammon with clips from Brian Engeblom interviewing Domingue. It was a great tale of his time in the QMJHL with Patrick Roy, to him in constant Coyotes’ limbo, to him almost quitting hockey at 25. Yet, one thing stood out amongst the horrors of the Arizona experience for the young netminder:
For a good week and a half, I was left without ice or a gym or any support from the team. I was just home waiting for a call. They told me to rent my own ice [chuckles]. I was there – I gave call to my old friend Shane Doan. He came out with me on the ice in the afternoon with his son.
I rented the ice at midnight just to shoot pucks and skate around because I was tired of being at home.
Listen– it’s one thing to hang a guy in limbo by not sending him down to the minors right off the waiver wire, but to not even give him access to the team facilities when he’s STILL UNDER CONTRACT TO THE TEAM seems a little bit insane to me. Sure, I get it if you don’t want to send him to Tucson and throw a wrench in the solid season they’ve been having thus far with Hunter Miska in net and Adin Hill coming back around again. But why not loan him out somewhere. Obviously, he wasn’t in the plans, so do something like what Buffalo did with Matt Moulson and send him somewhere that needs/wants him.
Goaltending is a fickle thing made up of “What have you done for me lately??” around every turn, especially when it comes to teams that don’t have a proven starter who deserves the tenured leeway in order to succeed as a whole. Domingue had a rough go and with rough goes in Arizona overall– the goaltending will be the focus. Looking at his stats since getting into the Tampa Bay organization (11-4-0, 2.07GAA, .921Sv% in Syracuse), it just takes actual guidance and solid coaching in order to make a goalie who’s on the edge of oblivion to become an above-average goalie.
On the flip side– what the hell Coyotes’ organization?? There are problems all over the place with this team as a whole, then you hear this stuff and wonder if they do this with everyone. You look at how this situation and how the situation with Anthony Duclair went down and you wonder how there’s not more of an exodus or even worse stories coming from this team….and I’m sure there’s going to be more horror coming out as people start to set sail from there.
Now, I don’t know what the NHL can do with team business, but it seems insane to me that a CONTRACTED PLAYER is locked out of his team’s rink or gym because he was put on waivers and they didn’t want to send him to the NHL. Yes, they didn’t want him to get hurt because he’d be untradeable, but at the same time– how do you expect him to be desireable to other teams when he’s not playing ANYWHERE– AHL, ECHL, SPHL– to be displayed for anyone.
There seems to be something just not right with the Coyotes’ front office when it comes to dealing with their players. The way they set it up has been dragged every which way, especially with the analytics vs. non-analytics debate and the youth/inexperience of John Chayka when it comes to building said team. Whether it was Domingue and Duclair being ruined by a system that didn’t care to help make them better or if they just didn’t fit into the team’s plans– these stories and the hearsay coming from it makes you wonder what’s left to come out of the desert when it comes to player personnel.