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Dave Tippett (2nd season)
50-25-7 (2nd in Pacific); lost in first round to Red Wings
C Eric Belanger, C Andrew Ebbett, LW Ray Whitney
C Matthew Lombardi, D Zbynek Michalek, C Daniel Winnik
STABILITY HASN'T always been a word closely associated with the Coyotes' franchise, but after a stunning turnaround last season that culminated in the team's first playoff appearance in eight years, Phoenix has achieved at least a semblance of consistency on the ice. The Coyotes have important offensive contributors in Wojtek Wolski and Lee Stempniak, who flourished in the desert—and keyed the team's resurgence—with 14 goals in 18 games after being picked up at the trade deadline last March. And the addition of veteran winger Ray Whitney should strengthen a dismal power play (the worst in the Western Conference), which led to the club's undoing in the first round of the postseason. "We were on the edge of a cliff all year long because of our lack of scoring," says general manager Don Maloney.