By now you all know that I am a fan of my hometown hockey team, the Phoenix Coyotes.  Why wouldn’t I be?  They’ve served up exciting, action packed entertainment all season.  For those of us that have been in the valley of the sun for any significant period of time, we’ve been able to follow this team through all of the highs and all of the lows for more than fifteen years. 

So you’re probably expecting me to look for excuses for the Coyotes being down 3-0 in their western conference finals series against the Los Angeles Kings.  It wouldn’t be a difficult task to achieve. 

First, the officiating is overwhelmingly favoring the Kings.  Whether it’s nit-picking the Phoenix players while allowing the Kings players to play ‘playoff hockey’, or simply not even trying to remain consistent in calling penalties against both teams, the calls being made (or not being made) are as bad as I’ve seen in the playoffs this season. 

Second, for some reason NBC has decided to insert commentators that are willing to call the game as if it were being broadcast to southern California, and no where else.  The endless commentary and discussions involve the gushing over the ‘fabulous’ players wearing black, with an occasional mention of one of the guys on the other bench. 

Quite frankly, it comes off as shameless.  Most importantly though, it is completely unfair to the players.  And I’m not talking about the Coyotes. 

That’s right.  I’m talking about the Kings! 

Look, I’d be unrealistic and completely insincere if I sat here and tried to blame the current situation on anything but the incredible play of the Los Angeles Kings.  If they continue to play on this level, it doesn’t matter which “New” team comes out of the eastern conference, they will meet the same fate as Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix. 

Not only are the Kings matching Phoenix hit for hit and shot for shot, but they are making good things happen by never letting up for an instant.  No matter where on the ice the puck is, a Kings player is nearby, grabbing the free puck or poking at it if a Coyote happens to have it. 

As a result, Phoenix is having a difficult time getting any momentum going.  They can’t set up any plays because there’s always an LA player around the puck.  Even on the power play, the Coyotes are hard pressed to pass the puck more than twice without having it swatted away. 

It’s painfully obvious (especially to me) that the Kings are out-playing and out-coaching the Coyotes.  That’s not an insult to coach Dave Tippett.  The man is a phenomenal coach and has brought the team from the verge of extinction to a title contender in just a few short years. 

But the facts are clear.  Kings coach Darryl Sutter is doing a fantastic job preparing his team to do battle night in and night out. 

Now if I am willing to admit all of this, it must be obvious to everyone watching this series.  So why is NBC raining on their parade by being so blatant in their desire to have a “major market” such as Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup finals?  I know the answer is clear – ratings means revenues and ratings come from major markets. 

As far as the officiating, I won’t go any further with that topic.  I hate it when someone blames bad officiating for their team losing.  I don’t want to sound like that person, especially since I don’t think the fact that this officiating is absolutely atrocious and one-sided is really causing the Coyotes to lose. 

The Kings are causing the Coyotes to lose.  Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the only topic worthy of discussing?



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