With less than two weeks until the Coyotes take the ice against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, veterans and rookies alike are preparing for a unique playoff system. The NHL is welcoming 24 teams to compete, with 16 of those playing in a best-of-five series and round robin style to gain seeding.
“It’s just going to be keeping everybody calm and present in the moment,” Coyotes defender Jason Demers said. “I think it’s a weird situation like I said but it’s something that’s going to be talked about for years to come and hopefully no one’s going to ever have to go through this again and it’s not going to be this format ever again.”
The biggest things the Coyotes are focusing on include getting back into game shape and being mentally focused by the start of games.
“Just getting the timing and the feeling back again. … It’s the same thing for everyone,” Antti Raanta said. “We just have to get dialed in quickly and hopefully be ready when the puck drops.”
The Coyotes along with the rest of the NHL are preparing for another significant change: empty arenas with no fans. The Coyotes are hopeful they can use this silence to their gain for calling out plays and having clearer communication both on and off the ice.
“I think it’s going to be a huge advantage,” Demers said. “It’s going to be the difference in how fast we can play and get on their team and how making sure we know where our teammates are at all times. It’s been an adjustment for sure but it’s something to focus on and make sure that we’re all doing that.”
The Coyotes have their first puck drop since the shutdown on July 30, when they take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights.