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?
- Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs 8
- Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff 8
- Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller 25
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center 40
- Eric Staal has surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’ 6
- After not seeing ‘eye-to-eye’ with Carlyle, Reimer will compete for No. 1 gig 16
- Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal 12
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal 63
- Subban not eager to discuss contract talks 34
- Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million 22
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain (45)
- New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now) (42)
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center (41)
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal (39)