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Off the Ice: I want the playoffs, I want the Red Wings

Bring on the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs.

You read that right. I want to play Detroit in the
playoffs again, particularly in the first round. I can’t
wait to see the Phoenix Coyotes take the ice at the Joe
and watch the Job fill up with those bright red shirts.

A fellow journalist, Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona,
recently made a comment that the
NHL should institute a rule
that says a team cannot
play the same team in the first round of the playoffs
three years running. He nicknamed it the “Coyote Clause.”

Whether or not this was meant as a moment of levity, it
got me thinking. With the Coyotes future still
plagued with relocation rumors – don’t get me started -,
there is a very real possibility that we could bear
witness to the death of professional ice hockey in the
desert at the end of this season. If that happens, what
better way for a team with a Red Wings complex to go out –
by finally winning their first playoff series as a
franchise and beating the team who humiliated them last
season with a four-game sweep.

The scenario is more real than you think. As of now, the
Wings lead the entire Western Conference in points,
meaning they’ll take on the eighth-spot team. Assuming a
little movement, the Wings could go down as far as number
three, but a top-two finish is more likely. The Coyotes,
should they make the playoffs, are likely going to be in
the bottom two teams. It may seem like bad luck, but I
call it fate.

Do I think the Coyotes are a superior team to the Red
Wings? Hardly. Just reading the line-up itself is a who’s
who of goal scorers, top defensemen and one of the
league’s best goaltenders. A franchise steeped in NHL
history, having won plenty of Stanley Cups and a member of
the Original Six against a team that apparently no one
wants, generally consists of role-players and seven first
round playoff series losses? A perfect scenario for the

The entirety of sports thrives on the rare win, the big
moment and David dropping Goliath. That’s what keeps us
watching, me writing and fans in the seats. Everyone hopes
the game they’re at becomes the game that everyone wishes
they were at. When the Coyotes clinch the series against
the Red Wings in Game 6 of the first round of the
playoffs, that will become the game to say you were at if
you are a Coyotes fan. Just once, I want to see a Wings
fan walking slowly out of Arena, heads held low
while muttering, “There’s always next year.”

While the playoff matchups are far from decided – a mere
14 points separate first and eighth place in the Western
Conference -, if the season ended today, the Coyotes would
take on the Red Wings in Detroit in a few days’ time. For
me, that matchup can’t come soon enough. It may be crazy,
it’s likely far too hopeful, but, damn it, as a Coyotes
fan who has been tossed around through relocation rumors,
humiliating defeats and an arena that’s too far from home,
I want my team to have their moment. I want the curse to
be broken against the team that always seems to have our
number. I want to see my team make a real playoff run by
dropping one of the giants.

We’ll see you in April, Detroit. Be ready, because we are.