11,100 fans were in attendance at the October 18th Arizona Coyotes game against the St. Louis Blues. For the few that were Blues’ fans, the game was a pleasure to see; for the ‘Yotes fans, though, it was a game to forget. There was no one specific thing that you could single out that the Coyotes’ did wrong. The game was messy, and unforgiving, and unfortunate.
“We’re looking to play better”, was the overall message from coach Dave Tippett, after the loss to the Blues. “We didn’t fare very well”, also followed suit, and was reiterated a numerous amount of times.
“We’re looking to play better…. Mistakes, unmarked, all of the above…. We didn’t move quick enough, we didn’t move the puck quick enough, we didn’t check quick enough, all of the above. Like I said, it was a test against a real good team and we didn’t fare very well.”
Simple as that? Tippett, as per usual, was not specific in the issues at hand. Though it is hard to address what the main struggle is, frustration seems evident in everyone.
During the post-game press rounds with Tippett, the idea that team members might be pointing fingers at one another came up and Coach was quick to jump on it and say that it really just boils down to “emotions running high”. That was evident just by walking into the locker room and seeing the glum look on the players faces as they packed up for their first road trip of the season.
The Coyotes’ were one of only 5 teams that had yet to have a PP goal scored on them this season. Going into the game their stats read 10-for-1o on the penalty kill, after tonights game they went to 12-for-16. Four out of the Blues six goals were scored on the PP. Though, the one thing you need to consider is who is going to be on the Blues power play. You have some very strong players, and this was brought up by several of the Coyotes’ Players post game.
Tippett on the PP:
“It [the power play against the blues] was a good test for our team, and obviously we didn’t fare very well. ”
Keith Yandle on the PP:
“You look at their guys, they got a really good power play. When you give a team the opportunity to score on the power play like that, its going to be tough. It’s one of those things, it’s just the pucks were bouncing our way on the PK, especially when they make good plays and you’ve got to give them credit.”
If you watched the game and saw what was happening down on the ice, you would see messy passes and a defense that was lacking immensely. There were several notable times where the goalie, Mike Smith, was lucky enough that the puck was shot wide, considering the odd man rush, and the defense realizing their mistakes way too late. One of the times it was due to a bad line change from the Coyotes’, and the Blues’ took full advantage, almost scoring. Silly mistakes were made like this all game, and it ultimately lead to the Coyotes’ 6-1 loss. The David Backes line contributed the whole game, and they took full advantage of all of the turnovers. This kind of thing leads to goals being scored, and you saw that during the game. The overall disorder out there needs to change in order for the team to get better results.
The biggest headline of the game was Martin Hanzal leaving the game. Hanzal is day-to-day with a lower body injury sustained in the second period. He will be reevaluated as soon as possible, but the prospect of one of the Coyotes’ best forwards being out could be just what it sounds like. He was carted out after the game, and no reports have been released, besides the fact that he is day-to-day. The whole team needs to step up in a big way to fill the space of Hanzal, if need be. There are members on this team held to much higher of a standard than what they are performing at, if Hanzal is indeed hurt, then they need to step up. Tippett expounded upon that topic during his presser:
On Marty and the team not performing:
“Marty [Hanzal] is a big part of our team. It’s hard anytime you lose a guy that’s a big chunk of that. We just have too many players that are playing below what we need them to play. You just go through the whole lineup there. There are areas we just need to be better in, and we just need people to play better. [On expectations] I am surprised at some of them [the players], yes. I’ve got a lot higher expectations for some of them, but we will get to work on that on Monday.”
What it really boils down to is the locker room and Captain Shane Doan, himself, said that it is the root of the issue.
Doan on the game and the team overall:
“Just that we need some push from within, we need some push from inside the room and that’s kind of the gist of it. You see the way that we played tonight, and that’s not acceptable. As a group we’ve got to have some push from inside this room, and a lot of people, myself included, have to be a lot better than that and find ways to push each other if it’s in practice, if it’s in games, if it’s doing the little things… be harder in every area and they were a good example of the way we have to be.”
On the offensive part of the game:
“We need to find a way to contribute offensively, and create more offensively. We did hardly anything offensively. We need to be better we need to win more battles. [We’ve got to] get the forecheck going. and We’ve got to stop it instead of letting them break out. Once they get in our zone, we’ve got to get out quicker. You can go right through our game. [On focus] I don’t think it’s [the issue] focus, I think it’s willingness to win those hard battles.”
Doan on the four game home-stretch they’ve had:
“Yeah I mean tonight’s not close to the way we need to play. The game against L.A. is probably the way we need to play. The game against Edmonton wasn’t the way we needed to play… One out of four isn’t exactly what we’re looking for, but we’ve got two wins. We’re at 500, we’ve got to go on the road and find a way to get above 500 on the road.”
The Coyotes’ went 1-for-4 on their power plays. There were not a whole lot of shots on the game, and it was obvious just from the 36-25 shots on goal, that the Blues outplayed the ‘Yotes. The majority of the game was spent in the Coyotes’ zone, and they couldn’t seem to get it out. The one goal scored was from #28 Lauri Korpikoski who was assisted by Doan and OEL.
Lauri Korpikoski on the game:
“You can’t let it slip, and that’s how we’ve been successful here this year. Everybody needs to be their best every game so we’ve got a chance to win the game and that’s how it’s got to be here, so we’ve got to get back to that.[on the Blues’ goals] There are going to be mistakes in the game but I think we just don’t do a real good job backing people up, kind of like if there’s a mistake we need to be there for the guy who makes the mistake and help them out. Maybe we are just concerned with taking our guy when there’s a mistake… you’ve got to go and help and a lot of those mistakes end up in our net. Right now it’s just little things that we’ve got to be better at. It’s just little mistakes and our whole mindset on how we play the game.”
The Coyotes’ head out on their first road trip to go head-to-head with the Nashville Predators (Tuesday) and the Minnesota Wild (Thursday). The ‘Yotes went 2-2 (one of the wins in overtime) with a -5 rating. The road trip needs to be different than the home games in every way. No fingers need to be pointed, no emotions need to get the best of people. They Coyotes’ need to play good hockey, and they need to change their game if they want to win.
Official NHL Game Stats: