The Phoenix Coyotes spent three seasons shrugging off their uncertain future, keeping their focus on the ice as one potential owner after another popped up then disappeared.
This season, with the ownership situation headed toward resolution one way or another, the Coyotes may have been looking over their shoulder instead of at the puck.
Finally succumbing to the weight of four years of uncertainty, the Coyotes got the strike-shortened 2013 season off to a slow start and never fully recovered to miss the playoffs a year after reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time.
''I think everybody knows there's going to be some kind of solution here,'' Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ''It could be good, it could be bad, it could be indifferent, I don't know. For me personally, I felt it more with the group this year because everybody knows that there's got to be a conclusion.''
The Coyotes had been able to handle a cloudy future before.
Despite being run by the NHL since ...