(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here are Sam Fels and Matt McClure of Second City Hockey fondly recalling the 2011-12 Phoenix Coyotes. Again, this was not written by us ... OK, by all of us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)
By Sam Fels and Matt McClure of Second City Hockey
Ladies and gentlemen, we've come here today to bury the Pho….wait a sec, are we sure they're dead? Sure they're not just lying about for effect? This is Mike Smith's and Michal Rozsival's team after all. Do we want to bring the doctors and trainers out, just to make a big show of it for effect? You're sure? Guess the game misconducts for losing classlessly indicate no pulse.
What's funny about the fact that we've been brought here to eulogize the Phoenix Coyotes is that we were asked. Bloggers for a team that up until recently regarded the Yotes as nothing more than something to fill out the schedule four times a year, and will feel that way again next year. We have it on good authority that bloggers from all four division opponents on Phoenix were asked to do this, and they all responded with "Sure Wysh, we'd love to. Wait, for who? Sorry, doesn't ring a bell."
But it all came to an end, as the Homer Simpson boxing approach to hockey finally ran out of luck when the Coyotes came up against the Drederick Tatum of the Western Conference in the Kings. The extra fluid padding the brain -- known as Mike Smith -- that let the rest of the Yotes pretty much get pummeled for large portions of the playoffs without a knockout finally succumbed.
It was fascinating hockey for all. Or no one. Take your pick.
Oh Mike Smith, the only name character of this passion play. In his final game, he took three shots off the head and never blinked, teaching us all that frozen rubber discs traveling up to 100 MPH don't hurt, but anyone breathing on him is the cause of a severe hematoma. Physics don't apply in the desert, apparently.
But Smith is the perfect spokesman for the hypocrisy and anti-hockey sentiment that makes the Coyotes go. After Game 5, calling for Dustin Brown to be suspended "forever" on a clean hit because Raffi Torres got 25 games for turning into an ICBM aimed at Marian Hossa's skull.
Interesting. What then does a man deserve who went Man-In-A-Black-Hood to Dustin Brown's leg, Mike?
This, of course, followed Dave Tippett's lament that diving had taken hold in the playoffs and was having an adverse effect on the game, similar to our national senators complaining that DC has become too partisan. If the Yotes had extended the Kings to six or seven games, we waited with bated breath for Tippett to complain about how interference and holding were bringing the game down as well.
But you have to hand it to Tippett and his tactics for this Conference Final. It takes a brave man to watch the St. Louis Blues get wiped on the Kings' windshield and say to himself, "I bet they think they're dumb. We'll show them dumb!"
And so Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan were unleashed. And so were….y'know, those are the only two skaters in Phoenix we can name. We know that these eulogies are supposed to be riddled with individual players being made fun of. But in the Yotes' case, that would be like trying to lampoon your favorite drone of the Borg. One isn't more green or veiny than the last one. And Tippett would say that since we've never been assimilated by an evil space collective, we have no right to talk about it.
Even the most ardent of hockey fans would struggle to name more than these two forwards of the Coyotes Top Six.
Here's a haiku, for no reason, on Vrbata in the spring:
Perimeter scorer, yes
Playoffs? Wets himself.
Maybe the lasting memory will be somehow letting Jeff Carter score a playoff hat trick. It's as if Bullwinkle finally got that rabbit out of his hat, if Bullwinkle were a frosted-tipped, blond-chasing douchebag. Actually, that works, just because it's so funny to picture Mike Richards as Rocky.
Here's what you need to know about Yotes fever in Arizona. Still one of the biggest stories during their playoff run is that some dude is kind of thinking about maybe buying the Coyotes. Y'know, if the tides are right, and if the Goldwater Institute and Glendale Council can be anything other than the giant "No" sign the Blue Meanies carried around. But that might save us from Gary Bettman's expert attempts to find a buyer.
Here's all you need to know about how toxic an investment the Coyotes are: a man who already owns arguably the biggest stepchild franchise in sports in the Chicago White Sox wouldn't touch the Coyotes with a 10-foot clown pole. When a man who green lit spending wads of cash and/or assets on luminaries such as Jaime Navarro or Carl Everett (twice) can't be coerced into throwing money at you, that should give you a pretty clear idea on your financial prospectus.
But then it was never much of a white-out, considering the ease with which masses of opposing fans got tickets to make the "white-out" look more like the complexion of Justin Bieber's STDs. But at least they went out … well, screaming like infants who have just soiled themselves. Doan and Hanzal using the handshake line as a pulpit to complain about perceived atrocities was just the last hypocritical thing the Coyotes could do.
Doubtful any Blackhawk, Predator, or King used the same line to air their grievances about dozens of Doan's acts. This isn't Festivus after all.
Sure it was fun for all while it lasted, but in November the Coyotes will once again just be that team that shows up to your building two or three times and then goes off to wherever they came from. They'll be there, and they'll be gone, and you won't remember it after. Maybe one day someone will try and remind you about Mike Smith's dives or Shane Doan's elbows or Hanzal's hits from behind or a host of other things.
And all you'll say is, "There was a team in Phoenix?"