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Coyotes loss has silver (and green) lining

Despite slashing their payroll, the Coyotes competed and proved they'll be a force in the future.

Updated: April 29, 2002, 2:24 PM ET
By Mike Heika | Special to ESPN.com

Two years ago, there was some fear that the Phoenix Coyotes were not long for the state of Arizona.

Their owner, Richard Burke, didn't like the arena setup and was tired of fighting with city fathers to strike a new deal. Local buyers seemed limited to a real estate guy who couldn't find enough partners. The team was on its third coach in four seasons and had a dysfunctional locker room, an embattled general manager and a holdout goalie.

A move to Portland seemed like a viable solution ...

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