Found March 22, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
GLENDALE, Ariz. If you were expecting a Coyotes post mortem following Thursday's 2-1 loss to Vancouver at Jobing.com Arena, we'll give you the bullet points. Phoenix called a players-only meeting after the game to address some long-standing issues. "The thing that guys love playing here for is that we count on you. It's not like you're on this team and you're not a big part of it. Every single guy's a huge part of this team," captain Shane Doan. "It's a great feeling when you're winning. But we're all responsible when we lose. You can't hide from it, you can't duck into a corner -- every single guy has to be better." If Mike Smith is seriously injured after Alexander Edler ran him behind the Phoenix net, it may not matter because it's become crystal clear throughout the course of this season that the Coyotes do not have faith in backup Jason LaBarbera. Look around the West at the teams that are having success. Chicago, Anaheim, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Vancouver are all using two goalies. In the lockout-condensed schedule, those teams have all recognized how vital that is to success, yet the Coyotes continue to burn both ends of the Smith's candle because they don't believe they have a viable second option. There was no word on Smith's condition after the game only that he was being evaluated. If that evaluation comes back negative, the Coyotes are in one heck of a pickle since they could find themselves as low as 13th in the conference when they take the ice Monday against Detroit in one of their final seven home games. But let's assume that Smith is OK. That's where these three days off come in so handy. We're of the belief that few teams have suffered more from the lack of practice time afforded by the condensed schedule than the Coyotes. Coach Dave Tippett's system is a finely-tuned machine and there were multiple points last season where a couple days of tweaking did wonders for the structure and fine points of the Phoenix game. "We need practice," coach Dave Tippett said. "We've got three days and we're going to have two hard practices. We'll see if we can get things going in the right direction." If Smith is OK, goalie coach Sean Burke should benefit from some time with his pupil as well. It's no secret that the Coyotes will go as far as Smith will carry them. And when you look deeper into the numbers, you'll find the Coyotes are allowing less shots and less scoring chances than last year, but their team save percentage is down dramatically. Smith has to steal more goals and games or this team will keep losing. But three other disturbing trends also need to change. Tippett noted Thursday that the Coyotes were a minus-12 in penalties over their last six-game segment and that trend continued Thursday when Phoenix took five penalties to Vancouver's four. Second, Phoenix has to recapture the road mojo it had last year when it posted the West's second-best road record. The Coyotes are just 3-8-3 away from Glendale this year, an ominous sign for a team that must play 10 of its final 16 on the road. Finally, the Coyotes have to loosen up on the sticks a bit, stop trying to make pretty plays and start finishing. "We hit the other goalie's crest more than any team I've seen in a long time," said Tippett, whose club has three goals in its last five games (all losses). "The funny thing is, you watch guys in practice. They come in and they fire pucks under the bar, they score like crazy. They get in a game and it's just pads and chest. It's all they see." Can a few days of practice help all that? We'll see. Phoenix has not reached a point of no returns in its season, but if the season-long issues that have troubled this team reappear next week against the Wings, Wild, Predators or Sharks, there may be no fixing this mess. "It's no secret what we have to do to be better," center Antoine Vermette said. "We talked about how this team's been successful the last couple years. Every guy needs to be better and collectively things will take care of themselves." Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Canucks' Edler suspended for hit on Smith

NEW YORK (AP) -- Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was suspended Friday for two games for his hit on Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. The incident occurred at 18:17 of the second period of Vancouver's 2-1 win Thursday night, with Edler blindsiding Smith as he played the puck behind the net. Smith stayed down on the ice momentarily and left the game at the end of the period. Edler...

Coyotes hoping for lift from Vrbata

Radim Vrbata has been skating a lot since he suffered a cracked bone in his foot Feb. 16 against Columbus. The idea was to test the foot continually to see what it could take, but the approach wasn't working, so Vrbata took a different tack last week. "I took a couple days off not skating," he said Tuesday night in Los Angeles. "And once I got back it was a totally...

Shane Doan had one memorable night against LA

Shane Doan had a night to remember when the Phoenix Coyotes took on the LA Kings on Tuesday night. Despite the fact the Coyotes dropped the contest by a score of 3-2, Doan was easily the most impressive player on the ice.  Just how impressive was Doan's performance? We'll let his stats do the talking. Doan scored both of Phoenix's two goals and was a +1 on the night...

Alex Edler runs over Mike Smith behind the Coyotes net

This is not the first time that Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has been run over behind his own net when he went to play the puck, but this time seemed way more painful.  Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler went to forecheck Smith as he was playing the puck and made no effort to skate around Smith.  Edler plowed into Smith at full speed, knocking him down to the ice...

Julie Robenhymer: Ekman-Larsson On Harry Potter, Arizona Weather & What He Bought His Parents

If you understand Swedish, you can check out this article I wrote about Oliver Ekman-Larsson for hockeysverige.com. If you can't read Swedish, here's the English version.... Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a rather quiet and reserved individual. He likes his play on the ice to do the talking for him and it's speaking loud and clear as he logs an...

Coyotes hold team meeting after latest loss

(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By JOHN MARSHALL AP Sports Writer The Phoenix Coyotes have gotten away from what made them successful the past three years. They need to get back on track quick in this truncated season. A team that relies on keeping it simple and playing with desperation, the Coyotes have gotten too complicated and too complacent during a five...

Alex Edler roughs up Mike Smith

Via Puck Daddy, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler saw Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith playing the puck behind Phoenix's goal, and Edler decided to keep skating... Edler received a 5-minute major for charging.

Reviewing The Alex Edler Hit On Mike Smith

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,  “The law,” as Mr. Bumble so aptly put it in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, “is a ass — a idiot.” In this case, we are not talking about 17th-century English law, the part that supposed that a man’s wife acted under his direction at all times. (“If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor,” Bumble lamented...

The New Raffi Torres

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province, Meet Raffi The Reformer. Or Raffi The Reformed. Take your pick. When your reputation precedes you and results in six career supplemental disciplines, any pledge to reform receives a doubting roll of the eyes because talk it easy. Change is hard. For Raffi Torres to remain effective — without leaving his feet and targeting the head...

Canucks-Coyotes Preview

A return home might be what the Phoenix Coyotes need to consistently generate some offense and end their longest skid of the season. The Coyotes look to avoid a fifth straight loss while trying for a fourth consecutive victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Phoenix (13-13-4) ended its franchise-record three-game stretch without a goal, but concluded an 0-3-1 trip...

With Smith in doubt, Coyotes call up Johnson

With Mike Smith's short-term availability in doubt following a hard hit Thursday night by the Canucks' Alex Edler that resulted in a two-game suspension, the Coyotes on Saturday recalled goalie Chad Johnson from the team's AHL affiliate in Portland. The 26-year-old Johnson made two starts for the Coyotes earlier this season, posting a 1-0-1 record with a 0.98 goals-against...

Alexander Edler Suspended Two Games for Crashing Into Goalie Mike Smith (Video)

Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler was in the midst of hunting down a puck when a goalie skated into his path. Edler, who has been in the NHL for six years, will serve a two-game suspension after smashing Coyotes’ netminder Mike Smith to the ice with less than two minutes left in the second period of Friday night’s 2-1 Canucks victory. The Vancouver defensemen chased down after...

2014 Olympic Goaltending Preview: Can Canada Repeat?

With about 11 months until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, I will preview the goaltending for each country going into the Olympics in a weekly series. Today, I take a look at who could possibly be between the pipes for Canada, the reigning Olympic champs looking to continue their reign on top for [...]
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.