The bad news: the Phoenix Coyotes’ longer-term future in the desert remains pretty fuzzy and unsettled. The good news: their season of firsts – in a good way – keeps rolling along.
They won their first Pacific Division title, their first series as the Coyotes and now will enter the Western Conference finals for the first time after shutting down the Nashville Predators 2-1 to take their semifinals series 4-1. Let’s get the discussion ball rolling.
After surviving against the Chicago Blackhawks in round one and staring down Pekka Rinne in the semifinals, is it time to consider Mike Smith elite? Was it already time?
Echoing that last sentiment, where does he rank among the best netminders right now? Even sexier: would your rather have him or Los Angeles Kings ace Jonathan Quick between the pipes at the moment?
Dave Tippett won a Jack Adams for his first season’s work in Phoenix, but is this his best work as an NHL bench boss yet? (He had some nice moments with the Dallas Stars, too.)
On your perch of hindsight, answer the question: did Barry Trotz make the right move by suspending Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Radulov for two games? If not, should it just have been for one or none?
Which team is your early favorite in the Western Conference finals: the third-seed Coyotes (who obviously gain home ice advantage) or the eighth-seed, giant-killing Kings?
Will another run to the semifinals be good enough to keep Shea Weber and/or Ryan Suter? If not, will the Predators look back at this series as their biggest defeat in franchise history?
Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16