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04/23/2012

Former Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett has done the impossible: Made the Phoenix Coyotes a winner

Tippet092609Hockey in the spring has been dead in North Texas for years; one of the primary reasons, we have been repeatedly sold, is because of unstable ownership.

There is no bigger ownership joke in professional sports than that of the Phoenix Coyotes NHL team. The league desperately doesn't want another re-location to Canada, and the greater Phoenix area doesn't care what happens to this franchise. Every other minute they are going to remain in Phoenix, or bought and moved to Canada.

All the while the Dallas Stars fans are told - and I bought it - that the reason their team struggled so is because of ownernship hell. The Coyotes are making that look like an excuse.

Yet the head coach whom then new-Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk immediately fired has the Coyotes winning despite ownerships headaches. On Monday night in Chicago, the Fightin' Dave Tippetts defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 to win their first-round Western Conference series, 4-2.

Since Tippett has arrived in Phoenix the Coyotes have made the playoffs for three straight seasons, won a Pacific Division title, and now a first round playoff series. The last time this franchise won an NHL playoff series was 1987, when it was still in Winnipeg. This team won three straight road playoff games for the first time in franchise history.

(Agreed; that's a rockin' porn 'stache.)

Tippett_stars_bench_tallGM Joe's firing of Tippett was a prudent decision; the players in that room had begun to tune him out and the transition was necessary. It did not mean Tippett was a dope.

Is his style boring? Absolutely. There may not be an NHL team that plays it any more conservative than the Coyotes. 
I do believe Tippett coached to a team's strengths. The Coyotes aren't loaded with skill and talent, so they grind and bore you, get a lead, and sit on it.

The Coyotes aren't talented enough to win the Stanley Cup, but how they have done so much despite "crippling ownership contraints" that Stars fans were told derailed their team, is impressive. 

 

 

 

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com 
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