Arizona Coyotes Assign 4 to Springfield AHL Affiliate

The Arizona Coyotes have begun off-season maneuvers by assigning the rights of four players to their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Massachusetts. Forwards Laurent Dauphin and Eric Selleck, defenseman Alex Grant and goaltender Marek Langhamer are going back to the team where they played the bulk of their time last season.

These four players had limited time with the Coyotes:

  • Dauphin, 21, played in eight games with an 11:18 average time on ice and one goal. He had 11 goals and 12 assists in 63 games for the Springfield Falcons.
  • Grant, 27, played in five games with seven penalty minutes. He amassed 11 goals and 29 assists in 66 games at Springfield.
  • Selleck, 28, played in one game with five penalty minutes. He had 10 goals, 12 assists and 137 penalty minutes over 59 games in Springfield.
  • Langhamer, 21, did not play. In 19 games at Springfield, he went 7-9-2 with an .883 save percentage and 3.80 goals against average.

This will be a shorter trip for the foursome. The Coyotes recently purchased the Falcons and a move to Tucson is expected.

Phoenix Mayor Seeks New Arena for Coyotes/Suns

The mayor of Phoenix is giving a speech today calling for the construction of a new downtown arena to house both the Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Suns. Greg Stanton’s prepared remarks were obtained by the Arizona Republic.

Stanton’s proposal would not require new taxes:

No taxes be raised to support its construction. Phoenix has a permanent tourism tax on hotel and motel stays and car rentals, which was created to fund construction of then-America West Arena. The city could potentially use revenue from that tax to help construct an arena. …

But the mayor’s aspirations for an arena deal could face significant hurdles. It’s unclear where the Suns stand on the idea of sharing an arena with the hockey team, and the concept of another arena in the Valley is likely to draw strong opposition from groups opposed to taxpayer subsidies for major-league sports.

The Suns can’t be out of their current home until 2022. The Coyotes are looking more urgently to move out of Gila River Arena in Glendale. Potential locations include downtown Phoenix and Arizona State University’s property in Tempe.

Arizona Coyotes Fire GM Don Maloney

The Arizona Coyotes fired general manager and executive vice president Don Maloney on Monday after nine seasons leading the NHL franchise. The Coyotes finished this season 35-39-8, out of the playoffs for a fourth straight year. Coach Dave Tippett has two years left on his current contract and is expected to return.

ESPN states that Maloney “had one of the most difficult jobs in sports, leading a team operating under the financial restraints of being owned by the NHL for four seasons. Maloney handled it better than expected, bringing in gritty, low-salaried players who fit Tippett’s defensive style of hockey.”

Arizona made the playoffs under Maloney from 2010 to 2012, peaking that last season with a trip to the conference finals, where the Coyotes were defeated 4-1 by the Los Angeles Kings who went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Kept on through ownership changes in both 2013 and 2014, Maloney orchestrated a rebuilding effort this past season that saw the Coyotes shed a bunch of expensive contracts while improving their points by 22. Before being hired by Arizona, Maloney was the New York Islanders GM from 1992 to 1995 and a player for the Islanders, New York Rangers and Hartford Whalers and Islanders from 1978 to 1991.

Assistant general managers John Chayka and Chris O’Hearn will run the team until a new GM is hired.

Coyotes Lose Season Finale to Sharks 1-0

The Arizona Coyotes were defeated 1-0 by the San Jose Sharks on the road Saturday night, ending the season on a four-game losing streak. The Coyotes finish 35-39-8 with 78 points, fourth place in the Pacific Division and out of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fourth straight year. (That’s a lot of fours.)

The game was scoreless in the third period when Sharks star Joe Pavelski scored on a power play at 7:26 with an assist from Joe Thornton.

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made 31 of 32 saves, but opposing goalie Martin Jones stopped 20 shots for the shutout victory.

The Shark Tank has been deadly for Arizona. The Coyotes have gone 0-7-3 there the previous 10 games and were held scoreless the final seven periods (192:02 in total).

Arizona captain Shane Doan drew 19 minutes of penalties after fighting San Jose defenseman Roman Polak in the first period: 2 minutes for upsportsmanlike conduct, 2 minutes for instigating with his face shield, 5 minute major for fighting and 10 minutes misconduct. Doan entered the game two short of 30 goals for the season, but the penalties made reaching the number a much harder task. The scrap was a response to a hard hit into the boards by Polak against Coyotes winger Tobias Rieder.

Doan sounded a qualified but optimistic note after the game about the team’s future, “We have a long ways to go,” he said. “A lot of young guys showed they belong in the NHL. Being able to contribute is great.”


Predators Come Back to Bite Coyotes in Overtime

The Arizona Coyotes lost a 2-0 third period lead to the Nashville Predators Thursday night, giving up two goals to tie the game and then losing 72 seconds into overtime on a goal by Roman Josi. The heartbreaker on the road knocks the Coyotes record down to 35-38-8.

Center Antoine Vermette opened the scoring for Arizona in the first period, angling a shot by defenseman Zbynek Michalek past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Veteran Shane Doan made it 2-0 in the second period with a slap shot on a cross-ice pass from center Brad Richardson. That’s his 28th goal this season, which leads the team.

Seven minutes into the third period, Arizona goalie Mike Smith was holding on to a shutout with some strong saves when Connor Murphy went to the penalty box for elbowing. Nashville defenseman Shea Weber scored only 13 seconds into the power play.

Arizona was under 19 seconds from victory when Nashville star center Filip Forsberg scored his 33rd goal of the season, tying a team record.

“We took a bad penalty in the third period with a 2-0 lead, gave up the first one and couldn’t get it killed the last minute,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

The Coyotes’ season comes to an end on Saturday night in an 8:30 p.m. MST road game against the San Jose Sharks.

Michael Stone Out 6 Months After Knee Surgery

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone’s recent injury was more serious than originally reported. He underwent surgery last Friday on his ACL and MCL and is expected to need six months to recover — the entire off-season.

Stone suffered the injury 12 days ago during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. His left leg became tangled with Flyers wing Michael Raffl in the third period. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said that night, “It looked nasty.” The severity of his injury was detected in a subsequent MRI examination.

The 25-year-old had a career-best season in points (36), assists (30), shots on goal (161) and average time on ice (22:28).

He’ll be a restricted free agent after the season, and Arizona general manager Don Maloney said that re-signing him is one of the team’s top off-season priorities.

Chicago Flattens Arizona in 6-2 Road Loss

The Chicago Blackhawks routed the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 Tuesday night in a game that featured Arizona center Antoine Vermette’s return to Chicago, a team he helped win a Stanley Cup last season.

The sellout crowd of 21,994 gave Vermette a warm reception during a break in the first period, then was given a reason just a period later to regret the kindness. Vermette knocked Chicago center Artem Anisimov out of the game with a rough hit into the boards that resulted in a boarding penalty and game misconduct. Anisimov appeared woozy and did not return.

With backup Louis Dominque in goal for the Coyotes, the Blackhawks unleashed an onslaught and scored the game’s first five goals. Jonathan Toews and Richard Paniks scored in the first, Patrick Kane scored in the second, and Andrew Ladd scored two goals that period to make it 5-0. The goals by Kane and Ladd all occurred on the power play.

The Coyotes got goals from defenseman Connor Murphy and center Brad Richardson in the third period. Andrew Desjardins netted the sixth goal for Chicago.

Arizona falls to 35-38-7 and plays its penultimate game of the season on the road Thursday against the Nashville Predators.

Blues Blitz Coyotes with 4 Goals, Win 5-2

The St. Louis Blues scored four goals in the third period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night.

The game began with a lot of promise for the Coyotes, who are playing out the string after playoff elimination. Goals from Antoine Vermette and Anthony Duclair gave Arizona a 2-0 lead in the first period.

But in a third period that began deadlocked at 2-2, the Blues overwhelmed the visiting Coyotes. Forward Kyle Brodziak scored two goals, including one while the team was short-handed at 1:28 in the period. Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Berglund also scored for St. Louis. The Blues are tied with the Dallas Stars for the best record in the NHL’s Western Conference and home-ice advantage through the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Tarasenko’s goal was his 37th of the season, putting him in fourth place in the NHL. Duclair’s goal gives the young left wing 20 for the season and 44 points — a bright spot for the Coyotes as they look to next year. Alex Tanguay continues to play well since his acquisition, getting assists on both Arizona goals.

The Blues have gone 11-0-1 against the Coyotes in their previous 12 games, including 3-0 this season. Arizona, now 35-37-7, plays the Chicago Blackhawks tonight on the road in the third-to-last game of the season.

Coyotes Romp Over League-Leading Capitals, 3-0

The Arizona Coyotes won a 3-0 shutout over the Washington Capitals Sunday night, a home ice victory against the team that has clinched the NHL’s best record for the season. Goalie Mike Smith stopped all 31 shots he faced and three Coyotes scored in the third period: right wing Shane Doan, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and center Brad Richardson.

Doan redirected a Max Domi shot past Washington backup goaltender Philipp Grubaeur five minutes into the period. That gives Doan 27 goals for the season, leading the Coyotes.

Twenty seven seconds later, Ekman-Larsson scored when his shot deflected off Washington right wing T.J. Oshie’s stick and went over Grubaeur’s shoulder.

The game was the final one at Gila River Arena for Arizona this season. The team ends with a streak of four road games, beginning Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at 6 p.m. MST.

The Coyotes are 35-36-7, fourth place in the Pacific Division and out of the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.

What Happened to the Arizona Coyotes?

The Arizona Coyotes looked like a playoff team in January but were far out of the race two months later and eliminated this week. Rob Bartnichak of the Sports Quotient asks why:

Just two months ago, the Arizona Coyotes were everybody’s favorite underdog. They sat in second place in the Pacific Division with 48 points, and while they were certainly not the cream of the NHL crop, a certain SQ writer said “their division rivals might just be bad enough, or far away enough, to keep them” in a playoff spot.

Oh, how things have changed. … What happened?

As simple as it sounds, they just haven’t been playing very good hockey all season long, and now it’s finally catching up to them.

His analysis makes use of a relatively new hockey statistic called PDO, which is the sum of a team’s even strength shooting percentage and even strength save percentage. The Coyotes had the fifth-highest PDO in January at 1.015. It fell to 1.003 by March and is currently 0.997. That puts them at 19th out of 30 teams, a big drop in three months.