Coyotes rich on ice

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

Amid reports of financial ruin, there is an overshadowed story about the Phoenix Coyotes this season.

For the first time in recent memory, the Desert Dogs are in a playoff position heading into the second half of the NHL season.

Perhaps an extended playoff run, says Coyotes captain Shane Doan, can ease the pain for a club that may lose up to $45 million this season.

"It's one of those situations where we have no control over it," said Doan, who is from Halkirk, Alta., and is the only remaining member of the team that used to be the Winnipeg Jets. "We know as a team if we're able to go on a playoff run, the financial stuff will get taken care of.

"We mostly hear about when we're up here (in Canada). Down in Phoenix, there isn't much talk about it. Obviously, it's a situation where the economy is bad everywhere, so we know it's going to be tough. But the fans have come out this year in Phoenix."

Heading into last night's tilt vs. the Calgary Flames, the Coyotes sat tied for fifth place in the Western Conference.

The Coyotes have a mix of rising stars, such as Martin Hanzal and Peter Mueller, and veterans, such as Olli Jokinen, Ed Jovanovski and Steven Reinprecht. Plus they are getting good goaltending from netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.

Reinprecht said the players have done a good job of ignoring the financial talk while focusing on improvement.

"We have one job, and that's to put on our skates and play hockey," Reinprecht said.


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