The Phoenix Coyotes are no stranger to the underdog role, and neither are the Los Angeles Kings. Both teams were expected to be out of the playoffs in the second, if not first rounds, and thrive off of being counted out.
Both teams reside in cities where winning is all that matters.
Phoenix is notorious for jumping on and off bandwagons as fast as anyone else, and the city of LA is filled with so many talented clubs that a losing record will get you forgotten, quickly. (Just look at how quickly the LA Clippers have caught up to the LA Lakers in terms of fans, with just one successful season.)
"This town is about success," said Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney. "You can't go year after year and not have success. There are too many alternatives."
Phoenix's recent draw of support for one of the most successful seasons the city has seen in quite awhile is evident, but Maloney knows it could be taken away just as quickly. Phoenix has seen teams make the playoffs when they weren't projected to, and it has seen teams make a run deep into the playoffs before. What it hasn't seen, in the last 11 years, is a championship.
"We talked about it already, we have to win just four more games and regroup after that. We haven't accomplished anything that we wanted to," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "Everyone's goal is to win everything. We have to find ways to win four more, and regroup from there. I know it's a cliché, but we have to just take it one game at a time."
Maloney and the rest of the Coyotes know that the recent draw has helped to convince interested buyers that the Coyotes are worth keeping in Glendale, and they hope it is enough to carry over their recent increase of a fan base. "Hopefully people get excited and they come back," Maloney said. "We need people to come back."
These are two teams that already surpassed their expected accomplishments on the season, and are both looking to capitalize on their playoff run and take it to the next level; something the city of LA is no stranger to with the Lakers. The Phoenix Coyotes, however, could win over the hearts of a city that is struggling to find a solid base to stand on in terms of sports success.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were projected as World Series contenders in 2012, but are now sub .500 and on a five game slide. The Arizona Cardinals failed to draw a big name quarterback over the offseason, after missing the playoffs, and the Phoenix Suns are on the verge of losing quite possibly the biggest star the city has ever seen in Steve Nash.
The Coyotes have a golden opportunity to land a solid owner, as well as a solid fan base, and are quite on their way to accomplishing both through the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
There's just one team in their way of reaching the final round; one that is a bit more similar than either would choose to admit.