The day after getting blasted 6-1 by the Islanders and holding a closed-door, players-only meeting, the Phoenix Coyotes made some roster moves by sending Lucas Lessio and Chris Brown to AHL Portland, recalling veterans Brandon Yip and Tim Kennedy.
Yip, 28, has 172 games of NHL experience on his resume and Kennedy, 27, has 125 — a far cry from the 20-year-old Lessio (three) and 22-year-old Brown (eight).
The moves are in accordance with what ‘Yotes head coach Dave Tippett said following the defeat on Long Island.
“We don’t have enough players playing with the right identity right now,” he explained. “We will fix that.”
It’s no secret Phoenix likes its veteran players. Traditionally, the club’s free agent activity has been marked by signing experienced skaters — this year it was Mike Ribeiro; last year it was David Moss and Steve Sullivan — and the organization has taken a patient approach by not rushing highly-touted draftees Brandon Gormley, Connor Murphy, Henrik Samuelsson and Max Domi into the NHL.
So the hope now is that Phoenix finds its identity, and finds it fast.
The team has been outscored 10-2 in consecutive losses to San Jose and New York, wildly uncharacteristic for defensive-oriented team that finished tied for fourth in the NHL last year with six shutouts.
“It’s completely unacceptable,” Tippett said following the Isles loss. “We have a lot of work to do as a team.
“We just weren’t good enough.”