- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2008

ON WASHINGTONTIMES.COM ” AN EXCERPT FROM IN THE ROOM

The Phoenix Coyotes were postseason regulars in the second half of the previous decade after moving from Winnipeg, but it has been five seasons and counting since they’ve made it. The franchise is looking for its first series victory since the move. The Coyotes are close to being ready to start trying to win playoff series again, and maybe someday a deep playoff run will plant more sustainable hockey roots in the marketplace.

Adding Olli Jokinen and Kyle Turris while subtracting Radim Vrbata should equal a gain in skill up front. Subtracting Keith Ballard and adding Kurt Sauer might not end up being as big of a loss as some might think (this is more about Sauer’s savvy than anything against the talented Ballard).

If Jokinen can be a point-a-game guy (which could lead to 30 goals each from Shane Doan and Peter Mueller) and Turris is a legit rookie of the year candidate, the Coyotes will be better than last season and a playoff contender. If Hanzal’s production goes up and one or two of the other young Coyotes can play, this team could be dangerous to deal with in the first round.

- Corey Masisak

TWT FIVE ” SIMMERING RIVALRIES

Miami football’s recent decline has taken some of the spark out of the Miami-Florida rivalry. Here are a few other rivalries that have lacked luster.

1. Red Sox vs. Yankees - Since Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, it has been almost all Red Sox. For the previous 86 years … Yankees: 26 championships, Red Sox: 0.

2. Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson - Lefty has beaten Tiger head-to-head, but Mickelson hasn’t been the same since choking on No. 18 at Winged Foot.

3. Lakers vs. 76ers - The “Beat L.A.” slogan used by the Celtics was invented by Boston fans in the 1980s for the Sixers. The 76ers haven’t done that in a while.

4. Dodgers vs. Giants - No longer in the same city, these two teams haven’t met in the postseason since a one-game playoff in 1962.

5. Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens - The addition of the Ottawa Senators has created a new Ontario rivalry … plus the Maple Leafs have stunk for a long time.

SUNDAY’S BEST BET ON TELEVISION

Serena Williams gets a chance to win her third U.S. Open as she faces Jelena Jankovic. 9 p.m., Chs. 9, 13

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