Momentum is a term of convenience. When things are rolling a team's way, every player, coach and manager swears it's real, but when the losing starts, momentum is just a tool for reporters and fans, a spell easily broken in the next game.

Maybe that's as it should be. Confidence is a mandatory commodity for pro athletes every time they compete. Why introduce a negative vibe? On the flip side, belief in something as esoteric as momentum can be a powerful intoxicant.

It has the Coyotes positively buzzed as the 2012-13 season begins Saturday in Dallas. Despite the fact that they haven't played a game since Dustin Brown took out Michal Rozsival with what we'll call a knee-jerk reaction, the Coyotes believe they are trending upward. Despite a soul-sucking, 113-day lockout, an ongoing ownership saga, a bottom-end payroll and the loss of leading scorer Ray Whitney, the Coyotes see nothing but wine and roses.

They see momentum.

"You can feed off of it," defenseman Keith Yandle said. "It's all a mental thing. I think we're a deeper team this year. We have more guys up front that can score, I think our D-corps is just as strong if not stronger than last year, and we've still got Smitty (goalie Mike Smith)."

There is much to like about this Coyotes squad as it begins its first follow-up to postseason success.