With last night's 4-2 loss at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings, the Phoenix Coyotes are now turning their eyes towards the past. The former Winnipeg Jets are (most likely) heading back to Winnipeg and becoming, you guessed it, the Jets. Down 3-0 in the series, they will most likely play their final game in Arizona on Wednesday, April 20.
It's a sad ending to a franchise that was just starting to find its footing in Arizona with two successful regular seasons in a row. With Ilya Bryzgalov in net, the fanbase in Glendale finally had something to root for, a rarity in the history of the franchise. But now a failed search for a local buyer has left the NHL little choice but to find a market eager to support a professional hockey team. Winnipeg has stepped in as the heavy favorite.
Phoenix never had the advantage of immediate success that the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche had during their move in the mid-90s. They have had Shane Doan, and that's about it. But this very public demolishing at the hands of Detroit is a sad way for a team to leave town. You can feel the weight on the franchise -- one that should be focused on its playoff appearance -- as the NHL impatiently waits for them to be eliminated before making the announcement.
Avalanche fans, consider yourself lucky. With a bit of misfortune, it could be your team heading back to the Great White North.
Who knows, maybe Colorado can even steal Bryzgalov out of free agency? At the very least, we won't have to witness any more brutally painful games like this. Or even this.