Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/8/12
GLENDALE, Ariz. One hour before the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators dropped the puck in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal series, a potential distraction was taking form mere yards from the Coyotes dressing room. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, prospective buyer Greg Jamison, Glendale city officials and the largest media contingent in Jobing.com Arenas hockey history were on hand for what Bettman called an update on the 3-year-old ownership saga. The timing was bizarre, given the magnitude of Mondays game and the potential for a shift in focus. But in the wake of his teams 2-1, series-clinching win, coach Dave Tippett shrugged off Bettmans press conference like his club has shrugged off every other diversion this season. It probably would have been a real major distraction if it was about going somewhere else, Tippett said, laughing. But our guys were very focused this morning on what we had to do. There were lots of rumors flying around earlier today and to a man, you didnt hear much talk about it. Nor did you sense its presence once the Coyotes took the ice. Phoenix was tight defensively, goalie Mike Smith was brilliant again and the club got goals from Derek Morris and Martin Hanzal to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history. Phoenix had never won a playoff series in its 14 previous seasons in the Valley. Now it has won two in a row to add to its first division title earned early in April. You get kind of beat up after not finding a way to get out of that first round, captain Shane Doan said. But its only halfway. Weve got to win four more and then regroup again. Anything seems possible with these Coyotes, particularly with Smith playing at an all-world level. With 32 saves on Monday, Smith raised his save percentage to .948 in the postseason, the second-best mark among goalies who have played at least four games. After besting one Vezina Trophy finalist (Pekka Rinne) in this series, he will face another finalist in Los Angeles Jonathan Quick in the next round. Obviously theyre not there by luck, Smith said of the Kings. Theyre a good hockey team. Theyve improved a lot. Its going to be another war another battle. Its hard to gauge the Coyotes chances in this series. The Kings are the hottest team in the league right now, coming off a sweep of No. 2 Western Conference seed St. Louis and a 4-1 series win over top-seed Vancouver. But the Coyotes are in uncharted territory now. Theyre gaining momentum with every win on the ice. Off the ice, Bettman is seeing a light at the end of the ownership tunnel, and with this leap to the conference finals, the Coyotes have ensured that more eyes than ever will be focused on their every move. I think the best part is so many people told you this could never happen, Doan said. It feels really nice to be living this right now. This was the dream all along, but the Coyotes deserve a pat on the back for never abandoning that dream in the face of mounting obstacles. I believe there are some great parts to this organization. We just need a chance, Tippett said. Theres not one person in that locker room who doesnt think (hockey) can work here, and theres not one person in that locker room not willing to put the work in to make sure it is successful here.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault


Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker