The Phoenix Coyotes played the past four seasons with a chip on their shoulder, trying to prove the little team without an owner could compete with the rest of the league.
Now that they have an owner looking over their shoulder, the Coyotes have something new to contend with: Expectations.
Backed by owners for the first time since 2009, the Coyotes will finally be on the same financial and operational standing as the NHL's other 29 teams - and will have to change their mentality because of it.
''In a lot of ways the past four years, we were kind of wards of the state, poor Coyotes, this and that,'' Phoenix general manager Don Maloney said. ''We never used it that way, but now I think it's different. With strong, stable ownership, we have no excuses for lack of performance.''
The Coyotes certainly could have used the excuse.
Run by the league since former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy in 2009, Phoenix had one of the NHL's lowest payrolls and was forced to be co...