Found May 08, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
Carolina_hurricanes_v_fca4
Forty. To some it represents the halfway point in life; the start of the back nine. To Ray Whitney, its just a number. It has no meaning. None, he said with a quick shake of the head that suggested we should move on to the next topic. Age hasnt impacted Whitneys play this season. He led the Coyotes with 77 points during the regular season, and he has six points thus far in the postseason. But Coyotes captain Shane Doan suspects theres a deeper reason Whitney is loathe to talk about his milestone birthday that came a day after the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. I think Whitneys a lot older than 40, Doan said with a grin. Whitney wasnt born in the Dominican Republic, so we have no reason to question his birth certificate. Besides, as we stated earlier, it didnt matter this season as he and a handful of graying players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Martin Brodeur and Teemu Selanne pushed the NHLs age ceiling a little bit higher. I played into my early 30s, and I was probably under contract five more years than I should have been, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said, laughing. I think with Ray, its his mind-set thats the secret. He still has the heart of a 25-year-old player. Hes not the quickest and hes certainly not the biggest, but when it comes down to a puck battle in a tight area, hes as good as anyone because hes just so clever and tenacious. While most of the Coyotes lack deep playoff experience, Mondays 2-1 win over Nashville cemented Whitneys third trip to the conference finals. That would be a teaching point for some veterans, but thats not his style. As the playoffs progress, he seems to talk less and less, slipping quietly into the hallway outside the locker room and doing his best to dodge reporters. Its not that hes uncomfortable in front a camera or a tape recorder. You wont find a better quote or a more analytical mind on the team. Anybody who heard his mesmerizingly informative interview in Chicago regarding the Raffi Torres suspension knows this. Hes really sharp and perceptive because hes seen so many things, Maloney said. The lesson Whitney handed his teammates after Mondays series clinching win was far less nuanced. We really havent accomplished anything yet, he said. Im sure for Doaner and a lot of people in this organization, it means a lot more than it does to me at this point because they havent tasted this. But you have to be careful. You get halfway and you think the first two have been tough, but its only going to get harder. Thats the only thing I can add to the discussion. For proof, Whitney notes that his Carolina Hurricanes needed seven games to win the Eastern Conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals in 2006. In Game 7 of the conference finals, the Hurricanes rallied with three goals in the third period to beat Buffalo 4-2. In the Cup Finals, Carolina built a 3-1 series lead, only to watch Edmonton tie the series. You think Chicago and Nashville were tough? Whitney said. Just wait. Every series gets progressively harder. Maloney is convinced Whitneys experience will play a greater role as the playoffs roll on. Hes really the perfect leader for this club because hes always been sort of an underdog because of his size, Maloney said. To play and win a Cup and understand the commitment it takes its invaluable to an organization that has had so little success in the playoffs. Win or lose, this is Whitneys last season under contract in Phoenix. Barring a lockout, he would like to keep playing. I dont see Ray being a guy whos going to chase the highest bidder or contract, Maloney said. There are a couple places hell look at that make sense for him, and were certainly one of them. But contracts are a topic Whitney wont broach in detail. Not now -- not when this could be his last chance to chase the Stanley Cup. You want to get as far as you can, he said. Its pretty simple. You realize you dont have too many more cracks at it.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Coyotes stay the course, reach Western finals

GLENDALE, Ariz. One hour before the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators dropped the puck in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series, a potential distraction was taking form mere yards from the Coyotes dressing room. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, prospective buyer Greg Jamison, Glendale city officials and the largest media contingent in Jobing.com Arenas hockey...

Phoenix Conspiracy Theory

We have seen enough numbers since the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy three years ago to know that hockey in Phoenix (at least in Glendale, Arizona where Jobing.com Arena the Coyotes home) is a money loser. The only way that one can make money is if somebody else pays for the losses. In the recent term somebody else has been the city of Glendale itself. They have put up $25 million...

Eklund: Coyotes Deal Will Keep Them in Phoenix..Fro Now... More On Isles/Oilers

Reports are everywhere today that Gary Bettman is heading to Glendale, AZ today to announce the NHL has reached tentative terms to sell the Phoenix Coyotes to an ownership group led by Greg Jamison. This process has been heading in this positive direction with Jamison for some time ( as we reported last month) and Jamison's group will be a great step towards keeping the Coyotes...

Coyotes will meet Kings to decide West

Mike Smith stopped 32 shots and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Monday night to earn their first trip to the Western Conference finals. The Coyotes learned earlier in the day that a tentative deal with a new owner had been reached. They followed up with another tight victory, withstanding a late goal by Nashville's Colin Wilson to reach the conference...

Coyotes Need Fan Support To Survive.

After three years of uncertainty, the Phoenix Coyotes ownership issue could be on the verge of resolution. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday acknowledged a tentative agreement had been reached with an ownership group (led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison) which would keep the team in Glendale, Arizona. This doesn’t mean it’s a done deal, as the NHL Board of...

Coyotes find buyer, then advance to the Western Conference finals

About an hour before Game 5 of the Western Conference finals began, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that League has an understanding with a group headed by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison to pursue a purchase agreement of the Phoenix Coyotes. Just that would have been a great night for Coyotes fans. But it got a lot better. With goalie Mike Smith leading the way...

The Mike Smith Led Phoenix Coyotes Advance To The Western Conference Finals

What can you say, the Phoenix Coyotes played a relentless series to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-1 in the series. Once again Mike Smith was almost unbeatable, in the 2-1 win, stopping 32 shots while the Coyotes fired 17 at Rinne. The Coyotes will have some time to rest up and prepare for the Los Angeles Kings. Watch the game winning goal by Martin Hanzal.

Kings-Coyotes: A rivalry in the making

Which team is the Coyotes arch-rival? Ask six people and youll get six different answers. Its really hard to say, Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. It seems to change over the years. Some will tell you its Detroit because of playoff series matchups the past two seasons. Not so. A rivalry is played on a two-way street. The Red Wings dont consider the Coyotes their rival. That distinction...

Coyotes reach first conference final, beat Preds

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Mike Smith stopped 32 shots and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Monday night to earn their first trip to the Western Conference finals. The Coyotes learned earlier in the day that a tentative deal with a new owner had been reached. They followed up with another tight victory, withstanding a late goal by Nashville's Colin Wilson...

AP Source: Announcement expected on Coyotes sale

A person with knowledge of the situation says a tentative deal by the NHL to sell the Phoenix Coyotes to former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison is expected to be announced before Monday night's playoff game against the Nashville Predators. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because there has been no official scheduling of such an announcement. A second person with...

Coyotes deserve to be advancing

Yes, the Predators didn’t bury the majority of their chances all series. Yes, the distraction of Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn was self-inflicted. Yes, the Predators could have been better in a lot of areas of the game.But the Phoenix Coyotes deserved to win this series. Plain and simple.A lot of good teams run into a hot team or goaltender in the playoffs and it ends...

Coyotes eliminate Predators in game five

Nashville's suspended players made a return to the lineup in Phoenix on Monday night, but it didn't matter. Nothing the Predators did could best Phoenix's Mike Smith, who had an incredible series, particularly stumping the Predators in the final two games of the series. The Predators played with the sense of urgency that is to be expected in an elimination game; they...

Preds fail to bury chances once again, Coyotes advance…

All too soon, the Nashville Predators’ 2011-12 season has come to an end. The Phoenix Coyotes won game five of their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal series against the Preds, 2-1, thereby winning the series 4-1. Phoenix advances to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. That history includes their years as the first installment of the Winnipeg...

Coyotes sale likely to be announced Monday

The sale of the Phoenix Coyotes' franchise to a group led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison is expected to be announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Monday night. The team is expected to be kept in Phoenix. The NHL took ownership of the team in 2009 and reportedly considered potential moves to Seattle or a larger Canadian market. But Jamison's investment group...

From Zero to Hero: Phoenix Coyotes

By: Chad SmithToday the Phoenix Coyotes enter game 5 of their Conference Semi – Finals match up against the Nashville Predators up 3-1 with a chance to go to the organizations first ever Conference Finals. Not long ago was the franchise of the Phoenix coyotes almost extinct from bankruptcy and an ownership in shambles. The Coyotes franchise has been in the NHL since 1979 originally...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.