1. How do you feel about the Coyotes' deadline moves? Is Martin Erat looking like he'll break out of his offensive doldrums in his new surroundings?
The best part about the Coyotes at the deadline is that the moves they made didn't cost the team much. They got a second round pick from Chicago in exchange for David Rundblad, a guy who wasn't going to get much time at the NHL level in Phoenix. They also got Erat for Chris Brown (no, not that one), and Rostislav Klesla, both in the AHL.
As for Erat, he's already matched his goal production for the year, so success! Actually though, his role is really to be a stopgap on the 2nd line wing until prospect Max Domi is ready to log serious minutes. He's a big upgrade over what the Coyotes had earlier this year.
2. The Coyotes have five regulation losses in their last 10. What's been the biggest issue for the team there--what should they be looking to improve?
Inconsistency. The team defensive lacks the physical defensemen that they used to have in the form of Adrian Aucoin and Michal Rozsival. Offensive players have often found the slot wide open for high percentage chances, and Mike Smith can't stop them all. This lack of physicality also means they struggle to clear the zone, which results in them "turtling" with the lead, with disastrous results.
3. Keith Yandle's been solid for the Coyotes all year and has five points in the last five games. Talk to us about him!
Yandle is exhilarating and frustrating. His offensive skill set is the envy of most power plays in the league; he's been in the top three in power play points for most of the year league wide.
Defensively, Yandle is a mixed bag. He has the puck a lot, which means he turns the puck over more frequently than others. His advanced stats also suggest he doesn't play really tough minutes, so it isn't too hard to see why your GM Brian Burke had "nightmares" about him. Bet he still does staring at that participation ribbon his Team USA earned in Sochi because they couldn't score.
4. Out of curiosity, how is the general fan base feeling about the name change to the Arizona Coyotes next season?
Ambivalent. Some of the fans from out of the Phoenix area like the inclusion it represents. More generally, its a sign that the new ownership group is on top of marketing and is planning ahead. That by itself is enough to make Phoenix (er, Arizona) fans happy.
Don't talk about playoffs!
Seriously, they need some help. The race is coming down to Phoenix and Dallas for the final spot, and right now Dallas has an easier schedule in theory. But the Coyotes' final game of the season is a home tilt against Dallas, so the playoffs could very easily come down to that game.