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Oct. 28, 2008 was the last time Alex Ovechkin(notes) came to Glendale. His only previous appearance on Phoenix Coyotes' home ice was Jan. 16, 2006, when this happened.

Which is to say that Ovechkin rarely comes to town, and when he does it's a rather big deal for a franchise looking for any reason to juice its attendance. Alas, the Washington Capitals arrive to take on Phoenix a week from Monday night: Valentine's Day, which makes for a bit of a marketing challenge. 

Well, more of a marketing challenge: Before Monday night's tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, the Coyotes have only had one other Monday night home game against the San Jose Sharks. Announced attendance: 9,672.

So to combat these marketing challenges, the Coyotes have resorted to that time-honored sports tradition: bribery! This time, with fake diamonds ... and one real one. From Phoenix Business Journal:

To encourage couples to try hockey instead of quaint or romantic night out, the team and Ganem Jewelers will be giving out 3,000 cubic zirconia diamonds to women at the game. One of those rings will be a $5,000 real diamond. Ganem Jewelers has locations in Scottsdale and Ahwatukee.

The team will also be handing out 10,000 Coyotes T-shirts courtesy of sponsor Fry's Food Stores. In addition, the Coyotes are marketing a Valentine's Day ticket package. The $180 deal includes two tickets in the club seating section of Jobing.com Arena, a dinner buffet for two, one drink, a rose and a scoreboard message. The Coyotes say the value of the package is $300.

One drink? What, with two straws?

Speaking of Valentine's Day, Georges Laraque(notes) is giving love advice in the pages of Reader's Digest. Don't worry: We're having trouble figuring out which one's more relevant in 2011, too.

Cactus image from Pixie Campbell.

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