The Phoenix Coyotes’ 3-2 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks was one for fans of the ironic.
One of the Coyotes’ key goals, by Taylor Pyatt early in the second period, was scored when the officials failed to see the Coyotes had six skaters on the ice. During a sloppy line change as the puck was headed to the Blackhawks’ zone, an extra Coyotes player wound up on the ice behind the play.
The goal erased a 1-0 Chicago lead and sent a shot of electricity through the sellout crowd as well as the Coyotes, while Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was left to fume about the missed too-many-men penalty.
Then again, perhaps the linesman who failed to see the extra Coyotes player skating behind him can’t be blamed. After all, too many men is not something that is ever seen at Jobing.com Arena, as the Coyotes’ miniscule attendance (Thursday’s opening game of the NHL Western Conference playoff series was a rare exception) is the reason for its perpetual spot on the brink of financial ruin.
But hope of new buyers springs eternal, as the latest fellow to receive preferred bidder status, former San Jose Sharks president Greg Jamison, was among the announced crowd of 17,138. As one wit noted on Twitter the other day after I posted an annual rite of the NHL spring is wondering where the Coyotes will move, another rite is seeing the newest prospective owner at a playoff game.
No one is saying much about Jamison’s bid, other than he is also negotiating some sort of deal for Jobing.com Arena with the city of Glendale and he is also interested in buying the nearby mall, Westgate City Center. The mall’s future is up in the air since its former owner, developer Steve Ellman who once owned the Coyotes as well, lost it to his bankers when they foreclosed.
Right now, though, good feelings abound in Glendale thanks to Martin Hanzal’s overtime winner at 9:29 of the first overtime period. That broke a five-game home losing streak in the playoffs for the Coyotes and gave them a 1-0 lead on the Blackhawks.
The Coyotes rode the heroics of goaltender Mike Smith to the win but now must worry about their leading scorer, Radim Vrbata. He was lost early in the game when he was knocked into the boards and is listed as day-to-day.