After rolling quickly through the first couple of rounds of this year’s postseason, the Coyotes fell fast and hard, as the Los Angeles Kings eliminated them in five games in the Western Conference Finals. But that doesn’t mean we’ve heard the last of this team.
In fact, the Coyotes had quite a bit to say in the locker room after the game regarding the officiating. Their biggest gripe came with the non-call against Dustin Brown in the minutes leading up to Dustin Penner‘s game-winning goal.
Brown went knee-to-knee with Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival just after the whistle that stopped play, when Rozsival carried the puck in offsides. Rozsival had to leave the game, while Brown received no call for the play and the Kings went on to score just a short time after.
Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, who has been in his own controversy after taking a hit from Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks, said that Brown should be gone “forever”, since Raffi Torres received 25 games for his hit that was actually during play, as opposed to Brown’s hit coming after the whistle.
This is just the beginning of the complaints coming out of the Coyotes locker room, but it’s the most irrational, so we’ll start there. There really isn’t any sort of comparison here to Torres, if Smith wants to play that game. Was it a late hit? Probably. But Brown tries to lean with his shoulder, and it ends up as a leg collision, though there isn’t intent here like we see on the Torres hit. Of course, if you’re a Coyotes fan you probably see things quite a bit differently.
Shane Doan and Keith Yandle weren’t without their own comments on the officiating. Doan asked reporters questions on where his last few penalties came from, while Yandle compared the color of the referees’ shirts to the Kings’ jerseys. In case you weren’t aware, they’re both black and white.
Neither was shy about stating how the officials essentially “prevented” them from winning this series. There were obviously questionable calls on both ends, but that’s a little absurd. The whole “everyone is against us” thing is a little overplayed. Officiating doesn’t lose you a series.
This is the bottom line: when you lose a series in five games, you can’t blame the officiating. Was it poor? Of course it was. This is the NHL. The officiating has been incredibly terrible throughout the entire playoffs. But when you lose a series by a 4-1 count, you don’t get to blame the refs, though the Coyotes seem intent on doing just that.
We’ll see what happens when they cool off, as we can likely chalk many of their comments up to “heat of the moment”, besides Smith, who might actually think Dustin Brown should be suspended forever.