Phoenix coach Tippett laments ‘season of frustration’


After a 4-0 loss to Detroit on Monday all but eliminated the Coyotes from postseason play, players and coaches were asked to reflect on the year.

Their answers wasn’t surprising.

“Season of frustration,” head coach Dave Tippett told Fox Sports Arizona.

Goalie Mike Smith said much of the same.

“It is disappointing,” he explained. “After getting to the Conference Finals last year and having success, and sitting where we are right now is a hard pill to swallow.”

The Coyotes had high expectations coming into this year after a banner 2011-12 campaign. They captured the Pacific Division title and made it to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

Phoenix also retained a large core of the ’11-12 team, including captain Shane Doan, who opted to stick with the club after a number of suitors expressed interest this past summer.

This year, though, few things went right in the desert.

Last year’s leading goalscorer, Radim Vrbata, missed 14 games to injury and scored just nine times. Smith, arguably the team’s MVP a year ago, was only able to play 32 games.

The team’s penalty kill, ranked eighth in the league last year, dropped to 19th (80.5 percent). And the offense dried up almost entirely, as Phoenix tied Nashville by being shut out a league-high nine times this season.

There was also one crucial stretch of play that doomed the ‘Yotes — a seven-game winless streak in March where they only secured two points and fell from sixth to 12th in the Western Conference.

“That losing streak — that’s the season,” Vrbata explained. “That’s where we got behind, and we were chasing since then.

“It’s tough to chase in this league.”

Glencross released from another PTO, this time by Avs

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators
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Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.

Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.

While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.

A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.