The Red Wings are the Coyotes fiercest rival
Over the years, the Phoenix Coyotes have developed quite a rivalry with certain teams throughout the league. Some are division rivals who see each other quite frequently throughout the season. Others are teams that they have met in the playoffs throughout the years. And still there are others who have developed bad blood with the team throughout their years based on a single incident or event that leads to certain fisticuffs every time these teams play.
Without further adieu, the list of the top five Coyotes rivals.
The Coyotes have developed the division rivalry with the Ducks since the Coyotes moved to Phoenix in 1996 and joined the Pacific Division.
Playing in the same division as the Ducks has led to consistent meetings throughout every season that have led to fierce and physical confrontations between the two teams. The two rivals have exchanged multiple players over the years (Keith Carney, Ilya Bryzgalov, Bob Corkum, Oleg Tverdovsky, Todd Fedoruk, Jim Cummins, Jim McKenzie, etc.) which has increased how heated this rivalry has become.
They have also had their playoff history (as shown above) in which the Ducks and 'Yotes did meet up in 1996-97, which the Ducks won in seven games. Game 6 was particularly heartbreaking as the Coyotes lost in overtime on a Paul Kariya goal that still haunts those that were in attendance that day.
There are a number of reasons why the Coyotes and Blackhawks have developed a rivalry over the years.
First, the Valley of the Sun has a lot of transplants from Chicago and they show up in force at every 'Yotes-'Hawks game in Glendale. The games have passion, fire and most recently, lots of violence.
Second, is the fact that they are consistently fighting for playoff spots in the increasingly difficult Western Conference. Every game between these two Conference rivals counts for a lot as the separation of teams at the top of the Western Conference is razor thin.
Finally, the hit on Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks by the Coyotes' Raffi Torres during the 2012 playoffs elevated this rivalry to a whole new level. Hossa missed the rest of the playoffs as he was laid out on the ice by the illegal hit from Torres. Torres was suspended for 25 games (later reduced by the league) and the Blackhawks can't wait to get their hands on him when he returns from his suspension next season.
The San Jose Sharks have been near the top of the Pacific Division for the last five-plus years. They have established the consistency that the Coyotes so badly sought for a long time.
The effort that the Coyotes always produce against the Sharks leads to fearsome physicality from both sides. There is no love lost between the Desert Dogs and their Northern California rivals.
They have met in the playoffs (2001-2002), a series that the Sharks ended up winning in five games. With the Coyotes having won the Pacific Division title last season, the Sharks will be eager to re-capture what they view as rightfully theirs.
This should lead to some interesting and entertaining encounters between these two teams this season.
The Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings are natural rivals based on geographic proximity. Los Angeles treats Phoenix like a little brother and Phoenicians cannot stand it.
When these two teams got together during the regular season, the low-scoring, highly-skilled contests were among the most thrilling to watch. Mike Smith and Jonathan Quick put on a goaltending clinic. The level of hostility between the two teams was high during the regular season, but was ratcheted up a notch during the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As the series progressed, the Coyotes could see that there was no stopping the Kings buzzsaw and each game became extremely chippy. The hit on Michal Rozsival of the Coyotes by Dustin Brown of the Kings led to immediate fisticuffs and led Coyotes captain Shane Doan to begrudgingly shake the hand of Kings Captain.
When you are discussing Phoenix Coyotes rivals, it all begins and ends with the Detroit Red Wings. While Detroit fans may not look at the Coyotes as one of their main rivals, Coyotes fans are usually stricken with serious nausea when discussing Detroit and their hockey team.
Phoenix has met Detroit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times, most recently in 2010-11. All of these series ended in Coyote defeats preventing them from exercising the demons of not moving past the first round of the playoffs.
Phoenix also is home to a huge number of transplanted Detroit fans that attend the games in Phoenix with regularity. That makes the atmosphere charged whenever these two teams play and many of times has led to ferocious contests between the two franchises.
Let's get it straight. Phoenix fans do not like the Detroit Red Wings and that is why they are the Coyotes' number one rivals on the ice.