Ok hockey fans…I'm back. For the first time in probably 5 or 6 years, I’m contributing to a GDT. What can I say? It’s playoff time...so please excuse the rust. (I apologize in advance for many of the inside jokes that will make some of you go WTF...but I’m doing this for the old-timers around here.) Enjoy!
There were many stunning developments in the week leading up to Game 1 between Phoenix and Detroit.
• The Phoenix Coyotes management announced that it would be playing all home games on the road during the 2011 Playoff season, forcing all 7 potential games of Round 1 to be played in Detroit. “Thanks to SB 1070, the only guys we could dress for home games would be our American players - Stempniak, Yandle, and that 5’2” Hobey Baker winner we just signed,” said Coyotes GM Don Maloney. Hockey fans in Detroit who also happened to belong to the Democratic party felt overcome with guilt and shame for celebrating.
• The Coyotes front office announced an exciting giveaway promotion as a consolation prize, since there would be no home playoff games. Any fan who could present a baby picture of themselves (age 1 year old or younger) in licensed Phoenix Coyotes gear would automatically receive a brand new 2012 Cadillac Escalade (must be 18 to enter). Additionally, any fan who sent in their mailing address would automatically receive a VHS copy of “Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach”. “We have a lot of these left over in Gretzky’s old office,” Maloney said.
• Maloney announced that Brett Hull would be returning to the Coyotes lineup for the 2011 playoffs. “After signing a 2 year, $4.5M contract with Phoenix in 2004, and then only playing in 5 games for us, Brett feels that he has some unfinished business to take care of”. Bobby Hull’s Winnipeg Jets #9 is, once again, un-retired for the occasion. Nevertheless, Maloney sounded excited to have Hull back on the team. “Well of course, it’s exciting. Brett is one of only two guys in the Hall of Fame that we can claim to have actually played for us. It’s on our website and everything!” Maloney later added that he was looking forward to Hull padding his Phoenix stats to reflect more than 5 games played and 1 assist scored.
• Dave Tippett announced that while most hockey insiders encourage the sporting of facial hair during the playoffs, he would not be bringing back his famed mustache. “I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again,” exclaimed a frustrated Tippett. “I’m sick and tired of fans asking me for Bruno Kirby’s autograph”. http://phoenix.fanst...dave0205161.jpg
• The Red Wings players felt ready for Game 1, with the possible exception of the injured Hank Zetterberg. But nobody felt more ready than the famed Black Aces, the practice squad players comprised largely of Grand Rapids Griffins players with nothing better to do. “Well of course they feel good,” said coach Mike Babcock. “They are shooting on Thomas McCollum every day. Hell, Sam Bernstein’s kid could score on him,” Babcock said. When asked for clarification, Babcock replied, “no, I mean the other one”.
• Mid-way through the pre-game skate, Brett Hull announces that he has, once again, retired. “I really only showed up for the free pre-game meal,” said Hull. “Besides, there’s no way I can get my a** over those boards any more,” he exclaimed. In response, the Coyotes announce that they are not only re-retiring Bobby Hull’s #9, but that they would also reserve the right to add Hull’s 7 warm-up goals (empty net) to Hull’s stats with Phoenix. Coyotes webmaster David Burke said, “I’m just excited to have something worth mentioning in our history section that has happened since 2008”. http://coyotes.nhl.c...ge.htm?id=32937
• The on-ice officials for Game 1 are announced as an all-Quebecois foursome of referees Francois St. Laurent and Marc Joannette, along with linesmen Pierre Champoux and Pierre Racicot. “Mother f***ing fro...oops, I mean, these guys are great,” exclaimed Coyotes captain Shane Doan.
• Karen Newman sings the National Anthem, sponsored, as always, by the Bloomfield Laser and Cosmetic Surgery Center. Karen couldn’t stop smiling during the singing of the National Anthem. No, really...she couldn’t.
• Early in the 1st period, Jiri Hudler scores on an incredible individual play. As an unfortunate result, the LGW.com servers immediately crash, due to 472 members signing in simultaneously to the “Jiri Hudler Watch Thread” to say “I TOLD YOU SO!” Assists on the goal go to Brent Gilchrist and Ryan Barnes.
• During the 1st intermission, the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast is marred by Don Cherry’s rant against European players. “You know the reason Phoenix is losing? C’mon, what kind of a team is that? We know why they are losing – it’s not Don Maloney’s fault! Good Irish guy right there, Don is. But look at their blue liners,” Cherry screamed. “Klezla, Rozsival from that Czechoslovakian Republic. You got Jovanowski from Poland, Aucoin is from where, France?” Ron McLean attempted to correct Cherry by telling him that both Jovanowski and Aucoin were Canadian, but Cherry had already left the studio to have yet another beer with Larry Murphy between the benches.
• The 2nd period is highlighted by the extraordinary play of former LGW.com member, BlueMonk, who comes out of retirement for one period to play for the Red Wings. BlueMonk scores 77 goals on only 13 shots, and stakes the Wings to a 78-0 lead after 2 periods.
• During the 2nd intermission, the Coyotes issue a very confusing press release stating that they are immediately retiring Mike Modano’s #90. When asked why, GM Don Maloney stammered, “well...Brett Hull was Modano’s best man when he got married, and well, Modano’s an American, and ummm...we are kind of desperate for any link we can find to good hockey players”. Moments later, Maloney added, “oh hell, nobody back home knows who plays for us anyhow.”
• The 3rd period is a very somber one at the Joe, as a fan in the top row of the upper bowl is seriously injured by a hot dog that flies out of the press box. “I feel horrible,” exclaimed Thomas McCollum. “Zetterberg went and got us all a bunch of dogs,” McCollum continued, “and when he pitched it to me, I don’t know – I guess I just missed it”.
• Despite a furious rally by the Coyotes, the Red Wings hang on to win the game 78-71. Mike Babcock is forced to change goaltenders 65 times during the 3rd period, using Jimmy Howard and Joey McDonald interchangeably throughout the period. “Don’t worry,” said coach Babcock, “I have a plan for Game 2. And oh by the way,” he continued, “don’t be surprised if Joey is a little shorter and has a little bit more hair when you see him next. Also, you will want to start calling him by his given name – Evgeni.”