From the Free Press...
"I think we're more like our team in '08 this year. We've played with a lot more cohesiveness defensively, especially after we got everyone back. Last year, we knew we could count on our scoring or our power play to pull out games in the third period, because we had so many options. This year, we've gotten back to playing like we did two years ago."--Brad Stuart
No "Hungry, Hungry (for tax-free dollars)" Hudler. No "Mercenary Maryanne" Hossa. No "Swedish Hating Swede" Mikael Samuelsson. No "Do-it-for Dallas" Drake. But with a full lineup, excluding Kirk Maltby (poor Kirk), I have to agree with Stuey's assessment. Without the embarrassment of riches on the offensive side, the team has committed to playing better defensively as a team. And it doesn't hurt to have Jimmy Howard playing like an elite goalie.
"This time of year is where you want to be. We've had guys who got a taste and won in 2008 and got a taste and fell short last year, and you want that taste again. We're definitely hungry enough. I believe we're a hungry team, and a good team."--Dan Cleary
It all comes down to the actual drop of the puck, of course. But they're talking the talk right now. A hungry Detroit Red Wings is an almost unbeatable foe. Sure you might squeaze a 5 or 6 game series out of them, but you'll lose.
You will lose.
Seven hours from the drop of the puck...time is moving slowly. Spend the rest of this afternoon pumping yourself up. Watch that Youtube video of the Detroit vs Colorado brawl, the one set to Filter's "Hey Man Nice Shot". Check out the highlights of Kronwall's hits. And listen to the Offspring's "Defy You" at least once...one of my all-time favorite pre-game songs.
If that doesn't get you in a tizzy and ready to sacrifice domestic pets in the name of the Detroit Red Wings...check your pulse and repeat.
"We ARE the Hockeytown....ARRRRRRR!"--Mike Ilitch.
Per Chris Johnston's twitter:
"Gary Bettman will be in attendance at tonight's #coyotes game."
Here's an interesting stat for you, and from a Phoenix blog, no less...
Since moving to the Valley in 1996, the Phoenix Coyotes are only 5-9 in Whiteout games played during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’ve been outscored in those games 36-28.
So maybe piggybacking off the traditions of the fan base from the previous location (they hate your guts, by the way) isn't the greatest idea.
Oh wait..."that's all you guys do good!"
So we have two play-off crazy fads going on in Glendale right now.
- The White Out that you stole from the poor people of Winnipeg who lost their franchise because Gary shrugged off their pleas to keep the team. You had, what...50 people show up to that rally to keep the 'Yotes in the desert?
- The Throw the Snake which is an obvious knock-off to the octopus that gets tossed to the ice during Red Wings play-off games. How many people trying to spread the "throw the snake" trend can even tell me why we throw the octopus in the first place?
With an identity-less fan base, I suppose it's only natural that they would steal other people's ideas and try and make it their own. But I have a wild and crazy notion for the people of Glendale...why not try something new?
5-9 in the White Out.
"Wait, what about shootouts? We were good at those in the regular season....aw crap!"
I thought it might be fun to get the perspective on the Detroit/Phoenix series from the Winnipeg Free Press, paper of the town that lost their team to the desert.
Can you say, "Stanley Cup champion Phoenix Coyotes?" OK, maybe most Jets fans couldn't say anything of the sort without throwing up in their mouth just a little. But the fact remains the Coyotes rank second overall in the second half of the season (25-12-4) and third since the Olympic break (13-4-2).
With these kind of Coyotes, the roadrunner would have been roasting on a spit a long time ago. At least, after getting brained by an Acme anvil.
WingsFanInBeanLand, one of The 19 over at A2Y, had his own depiction of Wiley and the Roadrunner...
But of course, there's two sides to every play-off series story. Here's what they had to say about the Wings...
Or how about those Detroit Red Wings, given up for dead only a few weeks back, only to finish the 2009-2010 campaign with a vengeance, tied with the Coyotes for second overall in the second half (23-10-8) and first overall (16-3-2) since the Vancouver Games, just ahead of the Washington Capitals (13-2-5), who were first overall in the second half (30-4-7).
Who left us for dead?
And now onto Winnipeg's prediction...I think you'll like this:
PITY the Coyotes. Here's a team that manages to flourish during the regular season against all odds, to the point of actually finishing fourth in the conference.
And what's Shane Doan's reward? To face the perennial powerhouse Red Wings, who after lollygagging their way up to the Olympics -- half the Wings team were in Vancouver, wearing one jersey or another -- they get a red hot Detroit team in the first round.
But as we stated at the outset, the no-name Coyotes enter the postseason, well, white hot. I mean, what in the name of Lee Stempniak is going on in Phoenix anyway?
Alas, all good things must come to an end. Expect a healthy Wings outfit, littered with proven winners like Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Lidstrom, to prevail. Unless unproven Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard turns into a sieve.
-- Wings in five
Pity is something that's probably in short supply in regards to how Winnipeg feels about the Phoenix franchise. And Jimmy turning into a sieve? Not.Gonna.Happen.
We're 16 wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the 5th time in 13 years. And once again we have Gary Bettman standing in our way. In 2008 we beat his golden boy and the "model franchise"...and of course, by "model franchise" we mean sucking and sucking and sucking for years and years until your top 5 draft picks finally come of age. In 2009, Gary got what he wanted and saw Cindy raise the Cup. This year, the franchise that Gary has fought tooth and nail to keep where it is, to the point of actually purchasing the franchise, is our first round opponent...how fitting.
Hockeytown Todd aka "Gramps" over at Abel to Yzerman has long said that the play-offs always come down to two things: injuries and officiating.
Injuries are always going to be difficult...but we’ve been dealing with them all year. Even during our stretch run in March we were dealing with injuries. On defense, we have guys like Derek Meech and Brett Lebda…say what you want about them, but they’ve been in and out of the lineup all season. We also have youngster Jakub Kindl from Grand Rapids. Maybe he could be what Jonathan Ericsson was in last year’s play-offs. On offense we have Justin Abdelkader who already knows what it’s like to get called-upon when your team needs you in the play-offs. We also have Brad May; a gritty and experienced veteran who also knows what it takes to win the Cup.
We also DON’T have to play Anaheim…which means our roster should be much healthier than it was last year.
Officiating scares me…as it should for all of you. For the following reasons:
- Denis LaRue and Brad Watson are still employed.
- Not only are Dennis LaRue and Brad Watson still employed, but they’re employed by the same company that owns the team we’re playing against. As someone mentioned earlier, the Coyotes and the officials are almost “colleagues”.
- The officials' boss wants the Coyotes to win, giving him more ammunition to keep that team where he put it (no matter how stupid it is).
- Dan O'Halloran will most likely ref a Detroit game eventually. O'Halloran, a Brighton, MI native, always seems to favor the opposing teams...perhaps to avoid any "homer" speculations.
Khan(!) is certainly up early this morning. Perhaps the diggers are going to step-up their game for the post-season. After Chris's call-out yesterday (which got linked on Puckdaddy), the beat writers for the Wings are responding...not to him directly mind you...but still.
"We're definitely not a team that's going to walk into a building and surprise anybody. But get ready for us and know we're a team that works hard. There's no secret to how we win. If we don't work hard, we're going to fall behind quickly.''--Ed Jovanovski
There will be another familiar face coming at us tonight as well. You all (may) know that Robert Lang, commonly known as "The Enigma" joined the Phoenix Coyotes. But former Wing Mathieu Schneider will be manning the blue line as well. Schneider jumped ship from Detroit after the '07 season and has bounced around a bit before landing in the desert.
Lee Stempniak (former member of the Blues) and the Wojtek Wolski (formerly of Denver) will also be a few fairly familiar foes this evening. Stempniak and Wolski got off to a great start in their new home...so watch out for them.
But again, Phoenix has yet to face Detroit with its roster at full health. So even looking back at the regular season series this year (Detroit took 6 out of 8 possible points) doesn't make much sense...
"More so than ever you're going to toss out what happened in the regular season. I think both teams believe in themselves, they're very confident. It's going to make for a great series.''--Kris Draper
Well, according to Jovo-Cop, if the Coyotes don't come out of the gate flying, this could be over quickly.
"At practice today you saw a lot of people that had Red Wings jerseys."--Kris Draper
It has already begun. It will continue this evening. Displaced Michiganders, fair-weather fans, bandwagon-riders unite. The fans of the Detroit Red Wings are going to ruin the White Out in Phoenix. The fans and bloggers have been talking a lot of crap over the past few days, but when it's all said and done...it will only end up as that: talk.
If I can suffer through the Detroit Lions getting traunced at Soldier Field. If I can survive walking out of Wrigley after that "wind-aided" 6-4 victory in my Zetterberg Winter Classic jersey, does any Red Wing fan have anything to fear from Glendale?
As Draper told Khan(!) about practice yesterday, Nik Kronwall is looking forward to seeing some friendly faces (and color) in the stands tonight:
“Anytime there’s fans on the road cheering for you it’s a big boost for your team. The crowd here in Phoenix have been great for us. Hopefully they can show up in the playoffs as well."
Don't disappoint us, Red Wings fans.
...and I'm betting it's already over 80 degrees.
This is the day we've all been waiting for. It was obviously a less than perfect season. There were injuries. There were inconsistencies. There were problems with the penalty killing.
There was Helm's injury during training camp. There was the two ugly games in Stockholm that some (myself included) had to endure in person. There was Franzen's knee injury. But it's 4 AM in Phoenix and none of that matters anymore.
There was Williams's broken leg. There was Kronwall getting kneed. There was Filppula's broken wrist. But it's April 14th, and none of that matters anymore.
There was Holmstrom's busted foot. There was Eaves's injured ankle. There was Cleary & Zetterberg's separated shoulders. There was Lilja's bleeding brain. But it's the motherf**king play-offs and none of that matters anymore.
Tonight we begin a quest that many people thought we would never even have the chance to start. The Pensblog didn't think we'd be here, guess what? We finished with more points than you did.
The Detroit Red Wings are the most feared team in hockey right now. And tonight, they're going to show you why.
The newest phenomenon in their desperate attempt to (finally) engage the fans, The Phoenix Coyotes are trying to promote a little slogan to combat one of the oldest and proudest traditions in all of hockey...
To combat the throwing of the octopi, Five for Yipping has suggested throwing rattlesnakes to the ice during the game. And oh look, they made shirts How cute.
There's a couple things you should know about people who mock the octopus...
Cody Mcleod did it in 2008...
...and got swept.
In 2009, Adam Burish had that cute little commercial where he was going to "end old traditions and start some new ones". He picked up the octopus and tossed it with his stick...
...he was lucky enough to survive being defeated in 5 games in last year's Conference Finals.
So go ahead and make light of the throwing of the octopus, Phoenix. You're not the first. You won't be the last. But you might have wanted to take a second to consider the past before dooming yourself to inevitable defeat.
Mock the octopus = lose the series.