"It ain't over 'til it's over."
The Coyotes and their fans have been through the wringer for the past two years and for the past week. From ownership situations that change daily and from out-of-market fans that would love to see something spearheaded by Gary Bettman fail, the passionate Coyotes fan could be depressed just thinking about it.
Not to mention the players who must play through it night after night wondering if they're going to move to different location.
And the support and arena staff who fear for their jobs. And the surrounding businesses who have bet on the Coyotes staying here.
So, despite the loss of a point yesterday to the extremely fortunate Vancouver Canucks, and the media scrum that preceded the game, there are many positives to take away from last night's drama that should embolden everyone, just a little bit longer.
For awhile we thought that no one cared about what was happening in the Desert. The process of this transaction has been a difficult one and we see other teams seemingly have smoother ownership changes. For awhile, all we heard were rumblings from our local Goldwater Institute, local people who just love trolling message boards, and different versions of the truth printed by our neighbors up north.
It's quite easy to get caught up in it, and the Coyotes' players, coaches, and leadership should be commended for keeping that stuff out of the locker room.
However, what I learned last night that those who want this thing to crash and burn in the desert are truly a distinct minority. I would assert that there are many more people who do not wish the Coyotes to be moved elsewhere.
First, let's look at the television broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona. Last night, Todd Walsh, Dave Strader, and Tyson Nash took the lead by allowing their voices to be heard. Multiple times they established that the Goldwater Institute had another agenda instead of serving the citizens of Glendale. Strader asked the right questions to get Gary Bettman to repeat the obstructionist policies that the Goldwater Institute is employing to block a business transaction. While GWI has their opinion, Bettman flatly stated that the council meeting was held in public, they made a decision on the behalf of its citizens, and the issue now should be let go and let the transaction proceed. Mr. Bettman was just incredulous that this process has continued this long.
Then, they continued hammering the point home by using the theme of hockey works here. Winning brings people into buildings and always has, even in Canada. Thanks to foxsportsarizona.com, here's a segment of the interview he ran with Shane Doan earlier this season on Snap Shots and replayed last night: Click here to view (last two minutes contains Doan's viewpoints).
The bottom line is this: there is a cohort of fans here that are passionate of their hockey team. Then, once this ownership situation finally resolves itself, this cohort will grow in number and hockey will be successful. It's hard to see this as reporters from the north tell us their version of events, and the small number of people that thrive on negative attention criticize anything we say or write, but there are people who have our backs. Who might you ask?
The NHL, Matthew Hulsizer, and the captain Shane Doan. Good enough for me. It's now up to us to keep the negative pundits out of our "locker" rooms.
Because we have learned not to leave games early as the Coyotes usually find a way to come back and grab a point or win a game. And so far this season, they lead the division with the most third period goals. That sentiment is appropriate here too.
As long as the team gives us a reason to keep fighting for them, and that magic number has not been reached, it ain't over 'til it's over.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.