The Los Angeles Kings are red hot. They are undefeated on the road in the playoffs. They have a world-class goalie to match Mike Smith and are the chic pick to win the Stanley Cup outside of New York.
But other than the Chicago Blackhawks — pity the NHL doesn’t allow you to beat the same team twice in the playoffs — I don’t think there is a team the Coyotes would rather see waiting for them at the end of the Western Conference road.
I know Vancouver lost in the first round, and St. Louis was swept in the second (both by the Kings), if you’d like to shoot holes in my argument. But the Coyotes don’t match up well with the Canucks or Blues. Anyone want another dance with the Red Wings? Nashville was nice enough to blow up that stumbling block for Phoenix. San Jose wouldn’t have been bad with Antti Niemi in net, but there’s a lot of firepower and experience on that team.
No, give me the Kings and let’s see what happens. Goalie Jonathan Quick is a monster who takes away the entire bottom of the net. While Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Dustin Browns are talented players, the Coyotes have good matchups against them.
I’m going to take the Coyotes in six games — as I did against Chicago and Nashville — mostly because ESPN’s Barry Melrose picked Phoenix to lose, as he has in each series.
•The Miami Heat have apologized, but I give mad props to the PA announcer at AmericanAirlines Arena, Michael Baiamonte, who noted that Amare Stoudemire had picked up his sixth foul and therefore had been “extinguished” from the game.
Unless you’re Lawrence Tanter in Los Angeles or John Mason in Detroit, the PA guys around the league aren’t much to shout about. Baiamonte is over-the-top annoying on a nightly basis anyway, so he might as well be topical once in a while.
Yeah, it toed the line. Yeah, it made reference to something off the court. But in the long list of things PA announcers have blurted out in NBA arenas over the years, this was much tamer and pretty damn funny.
•I think the whole movement to outlaw the fake-to-third-and-throw to-first move in baseball is just a preemptive strike to reduce concussions.
•You fire Mike D’Antoni, and now the word is you will pursue Steve Nash as a 38-year-old free agent? Ladies and gentlemen: Your New York Knickerbockers.
Not sure why the Suns would offer Nash a two-year deal when he said he wanted to play three more years. Either you want the guy or you don’t, in which case, you offer him a two-year deal and a reason to walk.
•This year’s Robert Sarver “Gee-I-Probably-Shouldn’t-Have-Said-That” award goes to Atlanta Hawks owner Michael Gearon Jr. — emphasis on Jr. — for calling out Kevin Garnett with Gearon’s team one win away from first-round elimination.
The man is right. Garnett is a dirty player. He is old and slow. But that’s a conversation you have in public after series is over. Someone probably had to help Garnett out of bed Friday morning, but Thursday night’s dismissal of the Hawks from the playoffs was pretty impressive.
•If TNT is going to insist on giving us an hour of postgame analysis after every playoff game, can we have at least one voice of reason among the “experts?” I can handle Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal or Kenny Smith. No problem. I just can’t take them all at once.
After they drone on for about eight or nine minutes on when it’s OK to use a hard foul or who used to be the easiest center to dunk on, I’m officially ready for bed. They are better than Nyquil.
•It’s only the second week in May, and Diamondbacks announcers have already resorted to making news in the stands to keep viewers — and themselves — awake. Tuesday night they spent an hour during one of the blow-out losses to the Cardinals focusing on a young couple in the upper deck on their first date. Hey, whatever gets you on YouTube, I guess. Anything it takes to distract folks from the carnage.
•I hope Kobe Bryant’s tummy is feeling better. Having Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace as teammates will do that to ya.
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.