Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Moment of Stanley Cup Playoff Greatness, April 27 edition

You tell me with a straight face that you would have expected this scene at the beginning of the season.  Think about it:

1. Moyes (old owner) files bankruptcy
2. Moyes tries selling the team to Balsillie, who wants to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario
3. NHL takes over the team
4. Bankruptcy court hearings to determine who can take possession of the team results in all offers getting thrown out
5. Ice Edge thinks they bought the team - and wants to play a handful of home games in Saskatoon (!)
6. Jerry Reinsdorf tries to buy the team
7. The City of Glendale plays tough with the arena lease
8. The Goldwater Institute raises hell over the whole process

And that's just the back office side.

On the ice:

1. Gretzky is coach
2. Gretzky backs off as coach due to bankruptcy
3. Ulf Samuelson opens training camp as head coach
4. Dave Tippett steps in as head coach after training camp starts
5. Tippett lures Dave King out of retirement to serve as his assistant
6. Maloney sends nearly every youngster on the roster to San Antonio for seasoning
7. Maloney plays the free agent garage sale about as well as any GM could be expected
8. 'Yotes open the season with a sellout by pricing tickets at $25 each - and promptly lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets
9. Their second home game has an announced attendance of 6,899
10. 'Yotes win.  And win and win.
11. Maloney is greenlighted by the NHL (who controls the Coyotes' checkbook) to play the trade deadline - and again does about as well as could be hoped
12. Phoenix not only qualifies for the playoffs but gets home ice advantage in the 1st round
13. Ilya Bryzgalov plays incredible between the pipes all year, leading to a Vezina Trophy nomination
14. 'Yotes take the Red Wings to 7 games before falling to Detroit in front of packed houses (in Phoenix - Detroit can't sell out the Joe) throughout the playoffs

Considering all of the above, can you argue that the fact that the Phoenix Coyotes, saluting a packed arena full of fans in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, have not experienced one of the ultimate moments of greatness of any franchise in professional sports this year?  Movies have been made ("Major League" and "Major League 2") about this very theme of franchise uncertainty while a rag-tag team outperforms expectations by a mile.  It's absolutely incredible.  I doubt we'll see anything like it for a long, long time.

Here's to you Phoenix!  Thanks for one incredible run.

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