Well, here we are again. Last day of the regular season for us 'Yotes fans. We've talked about this day for some time, but never thought it would come to this. As we pack our black jerseys into the closets, and wonder about the season that could have been...No, SHOULD have been. The Coyotes didn't do what we expected them for the umpteenth season in a row.
BUT. This time around, it wasn't what we expected.....IT WAS BETTER. Not only is this an improved Coyotes team, it's the BEST COYOTES SEASON IN HISTORY. Re-read that. Check the facts. Whether in Winnipeg, Phoenix, or Glendale, this season has not only put the Coyotes at the top of the NHL's pecking order, it's made them damn near a juggernaut. And with all the waning threads claiming that the Coyotes should tank a few games to set themselves up with an easier first round playoff opponent, there's quite a bit of speculation around these parts that maybe we shouldn't care who the Coyotes get in the first round. From Day One of the season, the Coyotes were pretty much unanimously picked by all analysts ( key word: nevermind) and 'hockey experts' to finish dead last. Not in the division. Not in the conference, either. The Coyotes were expected to finish DEAD LAST IN THE LEAGUE. And here we are, at the top of the heap. Come playoff time, most fans say things like ' Oh, I don't want to see (insert team name) in the first round". I can guarantee you there's at least 7 cities around North America where many people have uttered that same sentence, and uttered "Phoenix" as the team they fear.
The season ends today. last chance to work out the cobwebs on any lingering issues. last chance to oil up the power play, our weakest link. And better yet; one last chance to make sure San Jose remembers who they're messing with. On the last day of the season, we step into the Tank of perrenial Western Conference favorites, the San Jose Sharks. The game has no effect on the standings, and both teams might sit a player or to to ensure their health before the playoffs start...Another big BUT. BUT the last time the San Jose Sharks stepped on the ice, it ended with over 92 penalty minutes (collectively) in the third period against Vancouver. 72 of those minutes belonged to San Jose. Punches were thrown without remorse. Star players were showing their goon-ish alter egos. Tensions are rising. Playoff mentalities are starting to simmer, ready to boil over and erupt in only a matter of days.
It's no secret that San Jose doesn't like us, and vice versa. But if you ask any San Jose fan, 99.9 percent of them will say 'We're glad we don't have to suit up against the 'Yotes in the first round of the playoffs'. Patience, San Jose. Patience. Ever since the trade deadline, the Coyotes offense has lit it up, even in a defense-first style of game implemented by Dave Tippett. Going to games where the Coyotes regularly score 5 goals hasn't been a reality since... Well, since a long time ago.... in a galaxy far, far away. So for today, what might be meaningless on a piece of paper, may just be one of the biggest statement games of the year. Emotions are running high. The ball gets rolling now. Insert any other cliche about getting butts in gear, because now is the time. Screw winning a round in the Playoffs. Let's win ALL the rounds. Let's take all the people that have made iour lives as Coyotes fans a nightmare for the past few years, and give them the last thing they want ; The greatest trophy in sports, glaring back at them from the Valley of the Sun.
I speak for the rest of the FFH staff when i thank you all for your wonderful support throughout the season, and continued support in the Playoffs. It's been a wild ride, but we're just getting started. If you're new around these parts, we're glad to have you onboard as well. If you're a lurker, go ahead and register. We know you're peekin' anyways, Nashy and Strades. And if you haven't already, add us on Facebook! The link should be the big, blue button at the top of the page. I'm off to go teach some future Coyotes to skate, so no links for now. Travis should be around a little later with your pregame thread, but to hold you over until some links get posted, let your howls out on anything and everything, including:
• Congratulations to Timmyhate, loyal FFH reader, Kiwi, and lover of all things 'Yotes on his newlywed status. And yes Timmy, we want deets. We're sure you've made a sheep very, very lucky ( New Zealand jokes? Anyone? Anyone? Lord of the Rings? No?)
• Playoff beards- The NHL charities are having the equivalent of a 'Beard Drive' as a means to promote goodwill, playoff spirit, and unhappy wives all across the land. We'll have a picture post going up shortly to start our own love of man-hair soon enough, but until then, check out http://www.beardathon.com/Team.aspx?name=team&team=coyotes&teamId=42&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
• One step closer- As Travis posted yesterday, Ice Edge Holdings and Jerry Reinsdorf's group have both signed memorandums stating their intent about the sale of our beloved 'Yotes. What does this mean? All legal mumbo-jumbo aside, it means we're one step closer to realizing that our year-long anguish may finally turn to tears of joy.
• Get your Whiteout outfits ready! We don't care if you're dressed as Elvis, or if you're dressed as Zombie Jerry Moyes. Last days to throw something together for the Whiteout , and we wanna see your pics beforehand!
Go 'Yotes! ( the smooth jazz version)