It seems to be too common of a thing for the Arizona Coyotes; a goal by the visitor in the second to break up the home team’s lead, another towards the end of the second to clinch the game followed by an insurance goal in the third.
Most teams have an impeccable home record and struggle on the road, but it seems to be the opposite situation for Arizona. Though they had a late bout of momentum against the Tampa Bay Lightning and a goal to lessen the deficit, the Coyotes still couldn’t churn out a win. The final score was 4-2, and you could say that a soft offside call on Shane Doan (which after post-game review turned out to be the wrong call) changed the whole outcome of the game after the ‘Yotes showed potential for a comeback. So yet again, they leave for a four game road trip to face the Eastern Conference after a loss at home.
Changes are coming
With the impending trade deadline on March 2nd fast approaching, it isn’t a secret that the Coyotes dynamic is going to be changed by their next home game on March 3rd.
“Lots of talking, lots of teaching going on. That won’t change in the next week.”
– said head coach Dave Tippet about the pending team changes.
Trade possibilities looming over the team reflected throughout the locker room. Veteran players were under obvious stress about the decisions being made and the thought that they might not have another game in that home locker room.
Excuse the Pitch Perfect quote, but that’s the only thing that seemed appropriate to describe Mark Arcobello’s play in Arizona.
Since the Coyotes’ acquisition of the fast-paced forward on February 11th from Pittsburgh, he has notched three goals in four games. The Coyotes offense has always been iffy, but exceptionally so this season.
Adding Arcobello to the lineup has added so much depth to the line that he has been playing on. The Arcobello-Gagner–Moss line has not only produced, but they are getting chances and playing physically.
Due to the recent losses and downfall of the team, when Arcobello was asked about it, the new team addition said they need to keep competing and stay in it.
When coach Tippett was asked about Arcobello, he simply quipped that he was “opportunistic”.
Losses taking a toll on veterans
“The Veteran guys, you can tell it’s wearing on them… With the younger players, there’s a great deal of teaching,” said Tippett. “There’s constant evaluation of the younger players, but what we’re going through is tough on the veteran players.”
Coach Tippett didn’t sugar coat the moral of the team. It would take a toll on anyone to have to endure the large sum of losses the team has had just this season. The Coyotes are now at their eighth home loss in a row — one game short of tying the club-worst nine game home loss streak — and their fifth loss in a row.
There is no easy way in a situation like this. Goaltending woes and unproductive offense (and a bipolar defense) have been the major themes for the club this season, and no matter the changes they make, it never seems to improve.
Frustrations from the veteran players and the leaders in the room have been evident all season, but it’s finally been formulated into words just how tough of a season that they have had.
You don’t want to sit around while your team is imploding. No one goes into a season ready to not even make playoffs. The Coyotes don’t have a spotlighted picture of Lord Stanley’s Cup across from the Captains locker for no reason at all. The ultimate goal for all hockey players is to kiss the Cup after your team’s triumph. This seems like nothing more than a mere fantasy for the club if they have seasons of disastrous calibers such as this current one.
Motivation in tough times
Any athlete, professional or not, knows that you win some and you lose some. Staying motivated during consistent strains of losses is even tougher when you have media and fans pin-pointing every wrong move you make as a team and as an individual.
“It’s been a challenging season, but it’s one of those things… You get to play in the NHL. I don’t think you need more motivation than that and you’ve got to find a way. You’re in the NHL, you’re in the greatest league in the world, and you get to play against the best players in the world… You better be motivated.”
– Shane Doan on staying motivated in the tough times.
Michael Stone, who scored one of the team’s two goals, also weighed in on what an honor it is to play in a league such as the NHL. Stone has four points in his last five games now.
Things to know
- Zbynek Michalek is doubtful to play in the first couple games of the road trip, but there is a possibility he could see ice time coming the tail end.
- The Coyotes’ next home game is on March 3rd against the Anaheim Ducks
- The first game on the Coyotes roadie is against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center