As the seconds ticked away in Nashville’s season, I was convinced that my short Cup of Joe spiel this morning would once again be Preds/Radulov/Kostitsyn/Trotz-related. But the closer the clock got to 0:00, the louder and crazier the Coyotes’ crowd got, to the point where like the Yotes themselves, the crowd simply became impossible to ignore.

I don’t think a good playoff showing by the fans instantly qualifies Phoenix/Glendale as a budding hockey market, and I won’t be convinced otherwise until the fans follow up with good showings during the regular season. But the last few weeks – and last night in particular – have been a step in the direction.

The outrageously loud “Beat L.A.” chants ringing out in the final seconds and after the game were spine-tingling. And if you closed your eyes and just listened to the television, you could have sworn you had been watching the Celtics take down the Lakers in Boston, where the chant originated.

From a hockey perspective, you might have thought you had been watching a game in front of a manic Canadian crowd. It was that loud, that electric, that promising inside Jobing.com Arena.

Considering that most would ignorantly assume fans in Phoenix aren’t even aware of the team’s next opponent, that simple yet eardrum bursting chant meant something to me.

Perhaps Bourne was on to something yesterday.

Now off to the links…oyotes ownership

  • NHL finds buyer to keep ‘Yotes in Phoenix (Winnipeg Free Press).
  • Coyotes sale bad news for Quebec hockey fans (Faceoff.com). You’d have to think a team is still bound to end up in La Belle Province eventually.
  • Plenty of blame for Predators‘ collapse (USA Today). As I’ve mentioned a few times, while Radulov and Kostitsyn deserved to be dumped on by fans and media for causing the distraction in the first place, Barry Trotz (or whoever made the final call) shouldn’t get off scot-free for keeping the pair out of Game 4.
  • The Preds are now faced with tough questions (ESPN).
  • Rangers take advantage of Ward’s high stick to beat Capitals in Game 5 (Puck Daddy).
  • The Rangers and Caps finally ride the roller coaster (Sporting News).
  • Bruins fans have at least two pretty good reasons to root for the Rangers in playoffs (NESN). I don’t care how many Rangers are Massachusetts natives, Bostonians don’t cheer for New Yorkers.
  • The Flyers must rally against the Devils the way the Devils rallied against the Flyers in 2000 (Yahoo! Sports). Remember that after being down 3-1 to the Flyers in the 2000 Eastern Conference Final, Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur and the Devils rallied for three straight wins to eliminate Philly and eventually win the second of their three Cups.
  • After Mike Gillis got his extension in Vancouver, is Alain Vigneault next? (CBS Sports). The funny thing is that, whether it’s deserving or not, there are probably enough people who’ll ask if Vigneault is on the chopping block.
  • The Kings keep driving Los Angeles puck crazy (National Post). Unlike Phoenix, L.A. actually has history on their side as a 45-year-old hockey market, is one of the biggest sports markets in North America, and has been a middle of the pack team in attendance for the majority of the last decade.

Comments (3)

  1. Nashville / Phoenix was interesting from a Kings fan perspective – the Kings play better against the Preds, but Quick almost never played against them (Bernier is Mr. Pred-Killer the past couple of years). So the better baseline was Phoenix anyway.

    The Coyotes kind of worry me. That weird style of theirs seems like it’ll be hard for the Kings to break down; the Kings have historically had issues with them, even if the record doesn’t necessarily reflect it this year (a bunch of tight / OT / SO games).

    I think the Kings stop looking like a juggernaut in this and drop a couple of games, but they’ll win in six.

    I hope.

  2. And one other thing: that Quebec arena is looking more and more like a white elephant. Unless they can somehow pry away the Isles (whose value is tied to their Cablevision deal and so are unlikely to leave NY), they now have the real risk of a new arena going up in Markham and any team that wants to move choosing that instead.

  3. I hate to be a downer, but this means nothing towards the long-term success of the franchise. EVERY crowd is loud in the playoffs when their team wins. I’m not denying that it may create a temporary spike in interest, but ask Carolina or Tampa about their long-term attendance. Carolina won in ’06 and were 21st in attendance; 3 years later they were 20th. Anaheim was 20th in attendance when they won the cup; three years later they were 24th. I REALLY HOPE that Phoenix is a success story because I’ll feel terrible for their fans if they have to relocate, but as long as fans have to drive out to Glendale for 7pm start times to see a team comprised of low-charisma stars like Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata it seems unlikely.

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