“last one to the Finish has to kiss Backes”



So, Phoenix. Hum.

For a brief period last year they replaced Vancouver, Detroit and even St Louis. as the Hawks’ “Public Enemy #1″. Whether it was Mike Smith’s overreacting to being hit behind the net by Andrew Shaw , Shane Doan showing why he’s the Greatest Captain in the History of Ever by elbowing everything that turned its back on him, or their annoying fans, with their bogus traditions and temper tantrums whenever they were gently ribbed about the team being relocated (ok, maybe showing up at the game in a Nordiques sweater and singing “Do You Know The Way To The Colisee” might have been undiplomatic), they generally failed to win many friends with the Hawks. Oh.. wait, there was another incident wasn’t there? It’ll come to me..

Now, Aucoin, Whitney and Torres are all gone. Smith has shown some sparks of his old Diva ways but has also been decidedly pre-2012-Mike-Smith. Which is to say “Bad”. Shane Doan is still a douche but also hurt. It’s kind of hard to generate any heat, here.

The Yotes are on the brink of elimination from the Playoff race and the Hawks can help to ease them over the precipice tonight, in what could well be the final-ever meeting of these two teams.

Final meeting? Yes.

Because there’s always that elephant in the room when talking about Phoenix. Or a logo that kind of looks like an elephant, anyway.



So, rather than preview a game that means everything to PHX and nothing to CHI (aside from staying out of the way of Doan’s elbow. If he plays) I thought I’d take a look at these inextricably linked cities, in an effort to compare and contrast.



Quebec City: QC is one of the oldest cities on the North American continent. It’s architecture is decidedly European, with fine castles, narrow, winding streets and cobblestones. It is twinned with Paris and you can almost sense that true Parisien atmosphere when, after ordering your takeout coffee in English, the barista solemnly holds your cup up for the manager to spit into. Right in front of you. Quebec is also the only city in North America to retain City Walls, in its Vieux-Quebec district.

These fortifications are being strengthened and topped with razor wire as speak, in preparation for the return of the Habs. Also in  historic Vieux-Quebec are the famous tall, steep, set of steps L’Escalier Casse-Cou (casse-cou meaning “Broken Neck”.. feel free to make up your own Torres jokes here)

Phoenix: Phoenix, Az, is the largest inland City in the United States. It was founded by Confederate veteran, boozer, gambler and prospector Jack Swilling, who famously, while headed West, stopped to camp by the Gila River valley and had a vision of the potential of the area for farming, a population hub and, one day, a successful NHL franchise.  Two of those things came true, although it should be pointed out that Capt. Swilling had a serious Morphine problem. What Gary Bettman’s excuse is, I have no idea.


Quebec City:  Until a new NHL-Ready arena is completed in 2015, any Nordiques games would have to be played at the aged Colisee, also known as the “House That Beliveau Built” (although I think Le Gros Bill only actually did most of the bricklaying, in between games). The Colisee can  hold 15,000 spectators which would only represent a slight upgrade over the Coyote’s 2012/13 average of 13,889. Of course, there’s also the fact that the Canadian Government is planning to declare Martial Law in QC the day that Season Tickets go on sale.

Phoenix: Started life as the Coyotes at the America West Arena. This Basketball arena was utterly unfit for Hockey and, after the rink was added, had terrible problems with overhanging balconies and poor sightlines that allowed two-thirds of the spectators to actually be able to see the ice.  The Coyotes moved to arena in suburban Glendale, boosting capacity to a potential 17,000. Which was Optimism on a scale unmatched until they appointed Wayne Gretzky as Head Coach.



Quebec City: Since the Nordiques bolted to Colorado in 1996, Nordiques Nation has clamoured vocally for a return of the NHL to QC. This organized pressure group became much more effective when someone kindly pointed out that they had better start writing letters, making amusing placards and chanting at their spectacular NHL game invasions in English, as Gary Bettman apparently assumes that anything in French is just angry Habs fans, and there aren’t enough hours in the day for him to deal with everything that bugs them.

Phoenix: Due to the hot climate in Arizona, there are many large fans installed in the arena. In fact, their whirring is normally the loudest thing to be heard during games. Oh, all right: Phoenix Fans, for people who are hypersensitive to any mention of Canada, have brought along the old Jets “Whiteout” tradition. Which actually sees them handing out free white t-shirts at games. Luckily you can get 100 white shirts at Wal-Mart for, like, $30.


Whiteout, Quebec-Style


Quebec City: Au sujet de “Whiteouts”.. Quebec City has four distinct seasons including Hot Summers and Cold Winters. The highest recorded Summer temperature in QC is 35.6C (96.1F). Which seems like something that someone used to Arizona “Weather” could live with. Oh, right, there are those other three seasons: “Presque Winter, Winter, Deja Winter”. -35.4C (-31.5F).  Yes, Phoenix people, the thermometer can, actually, go below zero. And does. For a long, long time.


 “It can get cold in the desert at night. And lonesome, too. Mighty cold & lonesome. All alone, in a vast emptiness, the temperature  really low. It makes a man watchful. Then a lonesome howl breaks out, high and lonely. Guess that Young Ekman-Larsson fella done scored again”

Excerpt From “Trouble At Rinkside Seats We Basically Got Given At The Ranch

by famous Western Novel writer Buck MacStarhorn.


Quebec City: June 24th is a famous day on the calendar throughout la Province de Quebec as it is their National Holiday, St Jean-Baptiste Day. What started as a Catholic Feast Day has since become a major event and also an often highly-politicised expression of French-Canadian/Quebecois identity.

Phoenix: June 24th has some resonance in Phoenix, too.




Quebec City: Like much of Francophone Canada, QC has, at times, been embroiled in the long-standing strife between La Belle Langue and Stupid English Pigs With No Brains.  Anglophones are a tiny minority in a City where 95% of the citizens conduct all their daily discourse in French.  Although the vast majority of native English speakers are bilingual, occasional bouts of repression against the use of the English language in Quebec, often from a Government position, have caused accusations of intolerance from the rest of Canada.

Phoenix: The State of Arizona has definitely never, ever enacted any laws that could be considered oppressive to people who’s first language isn’t the local tongue.

Let’s Go Hawks