A handful of Phoenix Coyotes were doing a dry-land warm-up before practice earlier this week. They were jogging on treadmills and stretching near weight machines. And they weren’t alone. There was a pregnant woman doing dumbbell curls not far from where Paul Bissonnette, the Coyotes enforcer, was working up a sweat. And over there, where goaltending coach Sean Burke had just walked past — there was a grey-haired retiree doggedly knocking out a set of sit-ups.
Such is life as the NHL’s league-owned orphans. While the Phoenix roster may be battling in the post-season’s second round, the practice ice is rented, and the workout gym is public. And as for the pro athletes getting loose among the pot-bellied, arthritic-kneed riff-raff — being that they’re Coyotes, and thus wholly accustomed to this reality, they make a point of not complaining about it.