Best Coach - 2012
Before Dave Tippett hit town, we thought ice hockey had two halves and four quarters, just like basketball and football. The Phoenix Coyotes head coach has brought hockey intelligence to this desert metropolis. Like they say, winning puts fannies in the seats, and it made us learn not only that there are three periods in a hockey game, but also that hockey is a fast-paced, thrill-a-minute sport that makes even the National Basketball Association pale by comparison.
Sure, the Coyotes had star forward Shane Doan and phenomenal goalie Mike Smith, but without Tippett, the Coyotes never would have pulled off their incredible 2011-12 season, in which they lost in the Western Conference finals to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings in five games. Before that even happened, with Tippett pulling the strings, the Yotes won their first-ever Pacific Division title with a 42-27-13 record. They went on to smash the heralded Chicago Blackhawks in six games for the franchise's first playoff series win in 25 years (they were the Winnipeg Jets before moving to the Valley in 1996). After that, they prevailed over the Nashville Predators in five games, giving them the most playoff wins in their NHL history.
And though Tippett never laced up a pair of skates, he was the chess master who made it happen. Let's pray now that the Yotes' financial problems can be solved and Tippett and the Yotes can remain here for good. We need a good team in Sand Land — our mental health demands it.