Detroit: 5 - Phoenix: 1 (Red Wings Win Series 4-3)
Alright my fellow Stars fans, you may not like what I am about to say, but I am only saying this for your own good because your Uncle Art (or am I more like an annoying and overbearing second cousin?) loves you all and cares about you. This applies to everyone except for Brad or anyone else that is from or currently lives in the Phoenix area of course, Brad also having the added bonus of being the managing editor of this here blog and since he so kindly allows me write on here, I should be nice to him...
I've sat back the last few weeks while most of you have leaped with glee onto the Coyotes bandwagon that was being driven by a very familiar face (with or without the mustache) behind the bench. I did try to steer you onto a more worthwhile bandwagon but most of you scoffed at my suggestion and while yes it did sting a little, I quietly understood. You all wanted the sexy, feel good, heart warming hockey story. I won't sit here and say that it my heart broke while I saw most of you head down the wrong path, but I did shed a tear over it...
Well, it was either that or because I saw a close up of Todd Bertuzzi's ugly mug in HD and it too made me sad... I'm not sure which.
But now this series is over and the evil empire from Detroit has won and while that is certainly nothing to be happy about, I do hope that tonight's game was a ice cold bucket of water thrown on those that hopped on that Phoenix bandwagon...
You should never cheer for the Phoenix Coyotes again.
No more reasons. No more excuses.
I don't care if they ice a 25 man roster full of cancer survivors and have a team trainer who was born blind and deaf and still somehow manages to be one of the best trainers in the NHL. Cheering for the Coyotes is wrong - especially if you're a Dallas Stars fan - and after tonight if you do find yourself sitting on the edge of the now broken down bandwagon you need to get off, walk away and promise yourself that you won't ever let yourself be fooled like that again.
Make no mistake, the Coyotes were not a feel good story.
An interesting story? You bet! A compelling story? Of course. The number four seed that was somehow an underdog to a slightly lower seed team despite the fact that the four seed had a more even and consistent season than their opponents. It didn't seem quite fair did it? Just because Detroit was the well established old guard while the Coyotes was this collection of hockey castoffs that back in October no one expected anything out of.
And then there were the fans. Those poor fans in Phoenix who have had to go through so much uncertainty in the last calender year... surely they deserved some hockey joy right? Not like those smug, arrogant Red Wings fans who *gasp* vocally revel in their team's yearly successes! Those cheeky bastards, how dare they! Of course Coyotes fans were much easier to side with.
I know how enticing all that must have been for you as you all hopped on that bandwagon - and much like Oiler fans back in 2004 when they grabbed red car flags with black C's and rode the Calgary Flames Stanley Cup bandwagon - I wanted to stop you all and tell you how big a mistake you were making and that it could lead to guilt down the road for cheering for an opposing team that looks like to be a much stronger thorn in our side for years to come, but maybe something like this was good in order to get it out of your systems.
Dave Tippett is still the coach that can't really lead his team to any kind of playoff success. I know he's loved - and I too will always have a special place in my heart just like I do for Bob Gainey, Ken Hitchcock, Lou Nanne and Pierre Pagé. Maybe it's not totally fair or his fault for running into a more talented team in Detroit, but we've seen this story from Coach Dave in the past and it's one of the reasons he was shown the door in Dallas. So hopefully now we can stop with this "We shoulda kept Tip" talk because this series again shows that his coaching can only take a team so far before it fizzles out.
Shane Doan as captain still hasn't won anything of meaning in his career save for that silly breakaway penalty shot tournament at the 2009 All-Star game and he's still the guy that terrorized Marty Turco, will terrorize any future Stars goalie and be someone that mistakenly crosses paths with James Neal.
And those fans? Look, I know a handful of Coyote die-hards who have been with the team for years and my heart does go out to them on a night like tonight. But the rest of them who eight months ago were M.I.A. in terms of standing up and saying no to any kind of team move to Hamilton? If they had shown up for more games and been as passionate about the team as the handful of die-hards I know, would the Coyotes still be in the massive ownership mess they are in? Would they have ever gotten into it? I doubt it. So lets not be all too lovey dovey about those fans either. Do you think they cheered for the Stars back in 2008? I doubt that as well.
If this all sounds like bitterness and sour grapes from me, well it is! They are a division rival after all! I don't like the Kings, I can't stand the Sharks, I detest the Ducks... Why should anything be different for the Coyotes? They got to a place where the Stars failed to reach and for that I think I have every right to be bitter and giggle at least a little at their downfall. It's what a loyal fan of his or her team should - nay, be obligated to do!
We all had our fun cheering for the under-desert-dogs the last few weeks - even I will admit I did buy in a little to the idea that Ilya Bryzgalov would outplay a rookie goalie and carry the Coyotes to a series win... how silly of me to think a Vezina finalist could do that! And for a while it looked like it may just happen. But normalcy and world order has been restored, the Red Wings - like it or not - move on while the Coyotes take their rightful role as playoff spectators.
It's now time for us Stars fans to return the Coyotes back to the role of hated division rival.
Trust me, it's what James Neal would want... And you don't want to go against the Real Deal, do you?