Last night the Coyotes of Phoenix were eliminated from the playoffs giving the Los Angeles Kings their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since “the incident”. Fans of the Coyotes were up in arms last night, whether justified or not, and for the second time in twenty years the Kings will advance amid controversy. A note to Maple Leafs fans, it was 19 years ago, get over it. Kerry Fraser may have messed up the Gretzky call in game 6, but nobody seems to discuss the liberties Wendell Clark was able to get away with for most of the series. Also, the Leafs had a second opportunity to advance on home ice, and they blew it. Message to Phoenix fans, you too should get over it.
As for the players remarks after the game, specifically Yandle, Doan, and Smith, you all should know better. The season for your team is over and it would be strange if you were’nt upset, but to pin the series on anybody other than those playing the game is beyond unsportsmanlike. Shane Doan is better than that, and hopefully this is a limited time occurrence by the otherwise classy veteran. Same goes for Smith, who should check his attitude at the door. You may not realize this Mike Smith, but the tomahawks you routinely applied to the ankles of any opponent that happened to be in front of your net were as appalling as anything that the Kings did. And to compare, whether incidental or deliberate, contact with a players knee to a directed attack at an opponents head is just plain stupid.
This may also be painful for the players as this may have been the last hockey game played in the state of Arizona. AZcentral.com reported that the city of Glendale as well as Greg Jamison are expected to announce that they have reached a deal on the “arena management fee” which will see the city pay Jamison somewhere between $14.5 and $17 million per season to run the facility. The Goldwater Institute has indicated on their website that they will oppose any deal in which taxpayer funds are sent to the ownership of the team, including a building management fee. Goldwater has expressed the opinion that the fee is simply a backdoor method which the city can give incentive to possible ownership groups. The city also announced 49 layoffs which will take effect June 15, as well as an approved sales tax increase.
As for the Kings, they will be the best underdog team in the history of the Stanley cup final. The team is clicking on all cylinders and have quite frankly been much more interesting to watch than they were during their most recent visit to the Air Canada Centre. As a Leafs fan, I right now hold absolutely nothing against this current Kings team and wish them nothing but success in the upcoming Stanley Cup finals.