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Coyotes Playoff Life In Jeopardy - Is the Franchise Far Behind?

Could the Phoenix Coyotes have had a worse week and a half than they've had? With uncharacteristically poor goaltending, the Coyotes are looking at a 3-0 deficit in their Western Conference Quarterfinals series with the Detroit Red Wings. Almost to add insult to injury, the news reports coming from just about everywhere are saying that the move of the franchise is imminent. For the fans caught in the middle, it's just a bleak wasteland.

Let's tackle the second problem first (mostly because there's little factual to report). Craig Morgan of FSAZ seems to have been the only person to talk with Matthew Hulsizer's organization and his report is that talks are still ongoing and the Hulsizer group remains hopeful.

This is consistent with the limited news we've heard from the NHL and since I'm not privy to any sort of inside information, I'll leave it as that I'm hopeful a deal will get worked out, hopeful that I'll be able to use my two years of season tickets and we'll see what happens whenever real news breaks.

As for the team on the ice, it hasn't been much more for fans to get excited about.

Ilya Bryzgalov has been anything but the Vezina trophy candidate that Shane Doan touted as the "best player in the series." Granted, he hasn't exactly been helped at all by the team in front of him - the defense has been fairly spotty and the "pack" on offense has been fairly limited to Shane Doan, Kyle Turris and their respective linemates, when they aren't getting stifled in their own defensive end.

The Coyotes hung with the Red Wings in every game during the regular season and didn't lose a single game in regulation in the four meetings between the squads. There's certainly something different about the playoffs and the Red Wings have all the experience in the world up and down the lineup. You never know how much difference these intangibles make, but it certainly seems as if Detroit has picked up their game while the Coyotes are stuck chasing the play often.

Is it over? Not quite yet. Philadelphia showed that you can come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a playoff series, and in fact were the third NHL team to accomplish that feat. But Philly never seemed as out of it against Boston last year as Phoenix appears against this Detroit squad.

It will take an all team effort and players that haven't been making a difference are going to have to bring their level of play significantly up. For the underdog Coyotes it's nothing new, but they are going to have to focus all their energy on each game as it comes starting with tonight's match-up. Take advantage of the energy in the building and don't let the game get out of hand early so the crowd stays active. They know they can beat the Red Wings and it's time to prove it.