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.”

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.