Some Coyotes fans are thrilled Phoenix is playing the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Others are concerned about playing such a challenging opponent so early in the postseason.
I say let’s just drop the puck on Wednesday night, have some fun and see what happens.
One thing I know for sure is the national and international hockey media surely will jump on this series and make it the premiere match-up of the first round. How could they not? After all, the Red Wings are the Yankees/Cowboys of the NHL and the Coyotes, despite being the higher seed in this series, are perceived as the NHL’s little engine that could in 2009-10.
It writes itself. Enjoy the hoopla.
I invite you to log on to phoenixcoyotes.com several times per day starting Monday and throughout this series for comprehensive coverage featuring the latest news, stats, interviews, features, blogs, videos, podcasts and more. We've been covering the Coyotes all season and will continue to do so in the postseason - at home and on the road.
In the meantime, here are a few tidbits to whet your appetite for what's to come.
• The Coyotes, who set franchise marks for wins (50) and points (107) in a season, will start practicing for this series on Monday morning at Jobing.com Arena. I expect they will spend time working on the their power play, which is 0 for 20 over the past five games. That’s not going to cut it in the playoffs.
• Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett ranks second among all NHL coaches in victories since the beginning of the 2002-03 NHL season with 321. He trails only Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock (325).
• Detroit will enter Game 1 on Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena having won 16 of the 21 games they played after the Olympics, including a 3-2 overtime victory on Sunday that secured them the No. 5 seed and a date with the fourth-seeded Coyotes. They posted a 2-0-2 record vs. Phoenix this season.
• Series schedule:
Wednesday, April 14: Detroit at Phoenix, 7 p.m.
Friday, April 16: Detroit at Phoenix, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 18: Phoenix at Detroit, Noon
Tuesday, April 20: Phoenix at Detroit, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, April 23: Detroit at Phoenix, 7 p.m.*
Sunday, April 25: Phoenix at Detroit, 11 a.m.*
Tuesday, April 27: Detroit at Phoenix, TBD*
Reach Dave Vest at firstname.lastname@example.org