It’s not very often head coaches call out underperforming players by name, but that’s exactly what Arizona bench boss Dave Tippett did following Thursday’s defeat in Chicago.
The Coyotes website has full video of his postgame availability, but here are the key parts:
Q: Is the disappointment now maybe because expectations are going up, as the team gets better?
Tippett: Yeah, you should expect to win every night. Go out there and play well. We had veterans that were brutal out there tonight.
Q: Is this the good part about hockey, you get to get back out there tomorrow and try to flush it?
Tippett: Yeah, get right back at it, lots more to try to achieve. We’ve got to continue to get better. Our young players have to continue to get better, but we need our veterans to play a lot better.
Q: Is Mike [Smith] an example of that?
Tippett: Yeah. Mike, [Alex] Goligoski, [Luke] Schenn… a lot of guys can play a lot better.
Tippett seemed to be most critical of Smith. He said his club didn’t “get some extra saves,” adding that Smith couldn’t make a stop while the Coyotes kept making mistakes in front of him.
The critique might seem a bit harsh, given Smith’s been under siege for most of the year. His .915 save percentage is pretty respectable, given he’s playing behind one of the leakiest teams in the league.
As for Goligoski, it’s fair to say he’s been a disappointment since signing a five-year, $27.375 million deal in free agency. He got off to a frustrating start, and while he’s posted decent offensive numbers — 23 points in 59 games — his possession metrics leave much to be desired (45.4 CF %).
Schenn, signed on the cheap in the hopes of reviving his career, hasn’t done much to shed the reputation he’s built over the last few years. He’s done little on offense, logs bottom-pair minutes, is minus-7 and leads all Coyotes d-men in PIM.
The two finished minus-1 last night, and each had a pair of giveaways.