It's Hard To Blame Someone For Not Wanting To Play In Winnipeg

If indeed the Phoenix Coyotes have played their last game as the Phoenix Coyotes, netminder Ilya Bryzgalov won't be making the move north with them.

"You don't want to go to Winnipeg, right?" Bryzgalov said after the Coyotes lost to Detroit, Wednesday night. "Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it's cold. There's no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be tough life for your family.

I better go to somewhere in Russia, KHL, to be honest. Because KHL is Russian people, it's family, friends. Even as a cold place, I can speak to people in Russian language."

It's hard to argue with that. If your choices are cold, quiet places, at least pick the one that's your home country.

This isn't to pick on Winnipeg, which I'm sure is a fine place full of lovely people. But it is what it is: a mid-size Canadian city of about 650,000 people, where the average temperature is near zero (F) during the winter. The only people who would really love for the Coyotes to move back to Winnipeg? People from Winnipeg.

And a segment of fans and writers who are in love with some idealized version of hockey that never existed. Where Original Six teams and Canadian teams play for the Cup every year, where the WHA still exists, where the occasional player still goes helmetless by choice, where all children lace up their skates and head out to the nearest frozen pond every day after school, where expansion to the Sun Belt never happened, where teams play in tiny markets like Quebec City and Winnipeg and Hartford where fans who show up to games cheer really loudly, when they show up at all.