Ownerless. Starless. Penny-less.
All words, or variations of words, that describe the Phoenix Coyotes. And they never rang more true than this year, a season which saw a ragtag team of role players, veterans and second-chance seekers thrown together in the hopes of achieving something magical.
What transpired was unlike anything ever seen before in the Phoenix-metro area, the state of Arizona and the sports world across the board. A team that absolutely nobody picked to even make the playoffs mustered their way to not only a postseason spot, but a Pacific Division championship to boot.
Sure, the Desert Dogs have a few players on their roster that would be much more heralded and well-known in bigger markets, but you can count them on one hand. But for the others, this was the chance to be part of something bigger, something that would grab attention and something that analysts, fans and casuals look back on say, “Damn, that was fun.”
For nearly 100 games this season, regular season and playoffs combined, the Coyotes busted their ass in their search for glory, coming up just short as they fell to the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The final game of the season was as good as they get, with end-to-end action, big hits, controversy and a lively, enthusiastic crowd all thrown into the mix, creating a combustible element that seemed ready to explode at any second. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode of the Couch Side podcast, the dynamic duo of Craig Paul and Wade McMillin preview the NBA playoffs and analyze the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The hosts also discuss the Denver Broncos signing Brandon Stokley, an odd triple play and UFC 145.
BY IAN PALMER, Feedcrossing.com contributor
The Edmonton Oilers haven’t lived up to expectations on the ice the past few NHL seasons even though they’ve had the first overall draft pick the last two years. The Oilers will now get a chance to improve their team once again this summer as they will once again draft first overall due to winning the NHL’s draft lottery on Apr. 10.
The Columbus Blue Jackets finished the current regular season in 30th and last place in the league and had a 48 per cent chance to hang onto the number one pick overall. However, the oilers, who finished in 29th place, had an 18.8 per cent chance at winning the lottery and hit the jackpot with it. Oilers’ general manager Steve Tambellini was obviously happy with his team’s stroke of luck and will be able to add another excellent top prospect to his roster or trade the pick for an established NHL player or two.
The Oilers already have some of the best players in the league, such as Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins thanks to the last two drafts as well as youngsters Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. Tambellini said if you’re in the draft lottery and have to travel to Toronto you might as well win it. He added that the franchise and its fans are really excited about the outcome and the chance of adding another young star to the squad.
BY JOHN SCOTT, Couchsideshow.com contributor
Last year, Sidney Crosby said he was going to miss the NHL All-Star game to protest the league’s player safety policy. As time elapsed, it was his concussion problems that kept him out of the All-Star game.
Now, the other famous hockey star, Alexander Ovechkin, decided he would not participate in the most thrilling game of the NHL season. On Jan. 23, Brendan Shanahan (Senior Vice President Player Safety and Hockey Operations) announced that Ovechkin would be suspended three games after his hit on Pittsburg Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek. Shanahan said Ovechkin “launched” himself at Michalek, leaving his feet and made unnecessary head contact.
“The moment Ovechkin launches himself into the air prior to the hit he becomes responsible for any contact to the head,” was Shanahan’s explanation for suspending arguably the league’s most interesting player. Incidentally, the NHL’s All-Star game fell right between Ovechkin’s suspended games.