NHL

Coyotes facing two uphill climbs in first round series

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TSN.ca Staff
4/19/2011 9:38:40 PM
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The Phoenix Coyotes are currently up against two major challenges. On one hand, they are facing a 3-0 deficit to the Detroit Red Wings and on the other, trying to find a way to close a sale with Matthew Hulsizer that would signal the survival of the team in Glendale.

The players can't do much about the latter challenge but defenceman David Schlemko believes that the resolve among his teammates in not broken when it comes to staging a comeback against the Red Wings.

"I'm sure there's not a lot of hope outside of this room but we've battled through a lot of adversity this year so we're just taking it one game at a time," said Schlemko.

It has been 15 years since the Winnipeg Jets were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings, and in the process, said goodbye to the city they called home, moving to Phoenix to become the Coyotes.

Unlike that tearful goodbye when the Jets departure was already set in stone, the Coyotes future remains uncertain as they prepare for what could be their final game in Glendale.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan is not prepared to concede the Western Conference first-round series to the Red Wings and believes his team can still find a way back despite the fact they trail by three games.

"I'll always bet on us, we've responded as well as we always can," said Doan. "When you're in a situation where it seems like you have no hope, you have to count on that response. We've done it over and over again and no matter the situation, we've always found ways to do something when we've needed it and we need it now."

Fans, however, are having a harder time blocking out the uncertainty of the Coyotes future. Having lived this soap opera for 24 months, they're struggling with the notion that Wednesday night could mark the end of a bumpy era of NHL hockey in Arizona.

Heather Schroeder, president of the Phoenix Coyotes Booster Club, says the constant speculation and the fact that people believe the move is a foregone conclusion, are both wearing on the fan base.

"It is so stressful, depressing and infuriating," said Schroeder. "Listening to the radio, they were talking about the end of the season and when the Coyotes move. It's not when, it's if; it's all if."

Off the ice, it appears the city of Glendale will meet later this week with the Goldwater Institute, the group that has halted the team's sale with its threat of a lawsuit.

Glendale appears prepared to meet Goldwater's demand that the meeting be in a forum open to the media.

However, barring a quick resolution between those parties, the only way NHL hockey will be played in Phoenix after Wednesday night is if the Coyotes can extend this series to six games.

With files from TSN's David Naylor.

Doan and Bryzgalov celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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