The Coyotes put on a display and demonstrated how not to handle a loss, even if it’s one that sends you to the golf course. Regardless of the circumstances, the Coyotes’ antics embarrassed themselves and have now managed to grab the attention of the National Hocky League.
Aside from the loss, what obviously set the Coyotes off was Dustin Brown‘s hit on Michal Rozsival after the whistle that signaled offsides in overtime of Game 5. Seconds after that hit, Dustin Penner went on to net the game winner for the Kings to send them off to the Cup finals.
As the whistle blew, Brown hit Rozsival, sending him limping off the ice. Though it initially might have looked like a possible knee-to-knee blow, another look showed that Brown leaned in with his shoulder and that there was incidental leg contact. Rozisval has since been diagnosed with a thigh bruise.
The reaction from the Coyotes afterwards, regardless of the Brown hit or other calls throughout the series, was absolutely absurd. Martin Hanzal went after an official, verbally after Penner scored, while Mike Smith chucked his stick. There was constant yapping in the handshake line, which is normally reserved for classier discussion, no matter how brutal of a series it might have been.
Then came the the postgame comments. Smith felt that Dustin Brown should be suspended “forever” for his hit on Rozsival. Shane Doan questioned where his last several penalties came from. Keith Yandle made the comparison between the colors of the officials’ shirts and the Kings’ jerseys, both being black and white.
It was a perfect display of what not to do, and now they might end up regretting some of those comments. The NHL is launching an investigation into the postgame actions of the Coyotes, both on the ice and their comments in the locker room after the game.
Colin Campbell of the NHL’s front office called their actions “unprofessional and unacceptable”. There’s a chance that the players, Smith, Doan, Yandle, and likely Hanzal, could face a suspension, but a fine is far more likely. The league could seek to find them up to $2,500 each, which is the maximum.
I highly doubt any sort of suspension comes for anyone on the Coyotes, but they can surely expect fines, and rightfully so. Say what you want about the “heat of the moment” stuff, there was still a line and the Coyotes crossed it.