May 8, 2012, 12:39 AM EDT
The bad news: the Phoenix Coyotes’ longer-term future in the desert remains pretty fuzzy and unsettled. The good news: their season of firsts – in a good way – keeps rolling along.
They won their first Pacific Division title, their first series as the Coyotes and now will enter the Western Conference finals for the first time after shutting down the Nashville Predators 2-1 to take their semifinals series 4-1. Let’s get the discussion ball rolling.
- After surviving against the Chicago Blackhawks in round one and staring down Pekka Rinne in the semifinals, is it time to consider Mike Smith elite? Was it already time?
- Echoing that last sentiment, where does he rank among the best netminders right now? Even sexier: would your rather have him or Los Angeles Kings ace Jonathan Quick between the pipes at the moment?
- Dave Tippett won a Jack Adams for his first season’s work in Phoenix, but is this his best work as an NHL bench boss yet? (He had some nice moments with the Dallas Stars, too.)
- On your perch of hindsight, answer the question: did Barry Trotz make the right move by suspending Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Radulov for two games? If not, should it just have been for one or none?
- Which team is your early favorite in the Western Conference finals: the third-seed Coyotes (who obviously gain home ice advantage) or the eighth-seed, giant-killing Kings?
- Will another run to the semifinals be good enough to keep Shea Weber and/or Ryan Suter? If not, will the Predators look back at this series as their biggest defeat in franchise history?
- On carrying three goalies, and which teams might be forced to do it 6
- Bettman: NHL won’t expand ‘just to fulfill somebody’s notion of symmetry’ 8
- Report: Johansen lowers demands, but not low enough 34
- Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins 11
- Report: Fedorov denies contract offer was made to Johansen 8
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers 44
- Update: Drouin out with upper body injury, not expected to miss preseason 1
- Report: NHL officials to participate in preseason without new CBA 1
- Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals 16
- ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk 19
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (65)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers (44)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? (38)