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2011 NHL Playoffs: What Now for Coyotes?

Potential Phoenix owner Matthew Hulsizer (center) attends Game 4 in Glendale on Wednesday.
Potential Phoenix owner Matthew Hulsizer (center) attends Game 4 in Glendale on Wednesday.Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Pete SpitlerContributor IApril 21, 2011

As many have already written about by now, the Phoenix Coyotes season is done.

Ended by a Detroit Red Wings team with more depth, experience and a desire to avoid becoming the footnote to another Cinderella story akin to Anaheim in 2003 and Edmonton in 2006.

Only in Detroit can a team replace a playoff hero in Johan Franzen (who was a late scratch for Game 4) with the leading U.S.-born scorer in NHL history in Mike Modano, who assisted on Tomas Holmstrom's first period goal and finished with 11:25 of ice time.

Thirteen different players scored in the four-game series for the Red Wings, while 16 players notched at least a point.

That's depth that Phoenix couldn't match.

Going into the series, many analysts were intrigued by the matchup of 24-year-old Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle against 40-year-old Detroit blueliner Nick Lidstrom, who will turn 41 on April 28.

It turned out to be a mismatch. Yandle finished the series with a minus-five defensive rating, while Lidstrom was a plus-three. Yandle will be remembered for multiple giveaways and for whiffing on a dump-in that led to Patrick Eaves' empty-net goal to clinch the series.

For a goalie in a contract year, Ilya Bryzgalov had the worst possible playoff performance for Phoenix, finishing with a 4.36 GAA and a .879 save percentage. He'll be remembered for allowing the series-winning goal on a bank shot from Dan Cleary along the goal line.

That's a goal that must not—I repeat must not—happen in an elimination game. But it did and Detroit moves on with more than a week off to rest and prepare for the next round.

By that time, Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg, who missed the entire series with a sprained MCL, will be ready to go for the Red Wings.

All Phoenix has to look forward to is today's Wild West duel between the Glendale City Council and the Goldwater Institute on the future of the Coyotes. Potential owner Matthew Hulsizer finally showed up to a contest for Game 4, but many wonder if it's too little, too late.

There's no denying Goldwater is in firm control of this situation. The only reason the parties are meeting today is because Glendale finally succumbed to Goldwater's demand that the meeting be in an open forum in the presence of the media.

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. PST. Transcripts will be made available to the public.

It's already been determined that the government watchdog group has a case if it wants to pursue a lawsuit against Glendale, arguing that the city's agreement with Hulsizer violates Arizona's Constitution on gifts to businesses.

Armed with that knowledge, Goldwater will maintain the status quo for as long as it can in this situation in firm belief that it is right.

Unlike the NHL, which is desperately seeking an end to the situation after two seasons of owning the Coyotes, Goldwater is not under pressure to make a deal.

Draw when you're ready partner.

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