Found January 21, 2013 on Fox Sports Arizona:
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Coyotes watched Sunday night from center ice as their 2011-12 Pacific Division championship banner appeared from behind a black cover. It hung crooked, somehow appropriate for a franchise that last year put together the best season in franchise history amid a seemingly endless ownership saga and rumors of relocation. As nice a moment as it was for the Coyotes and their fans, it was just as fleeting. Following a 6-4 loss to the Blackhawks, the Coyotes are off to an 0-2 start and have little time to look backward in a lockout-shortened season. "We have to get a win in the win column," Coyotes goalie Mike Smith said. "This is not the way our team wanted to start." The Coyotes, from general manager Don Maloney on down, made it abundantly clear during a whirlwind training camp that they needed a strong start. A week of camp isn't particularly conducive to that, but every team is in the same position, and the ones that sharpen up quickest will likely emerge as the strongest playoff contenders. In that regard, it looks like the Coyotes have a little work to do. They can still start strong, though, with four of their next five games at home. "We know what we've been successful at, and we have to get back to it," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "It's two games, but it doesn't make a difference; we've got to find a way to be ready for the next one, get ready to be good, be better." Coyotes coach Dave Tippett expressed particular disappointment with his team's defensive start, chiding his team for "critical errors" that led to breakaways and easy chances for the Blackhawks. Smith, meanwhile, put the blame on himself. "Unacceptable goaltending in both games," Smith said. "I know it's early in the season, it's a weird season, but that's no excuse for it. It's just a letdown to the whole team. You score seven goals in two games, you should win both of those. "Obviously we need to clean up our game in some areas, but it starts with me." Tippett spread the blame more liberally but agreed that his goaltender must improve. Smith has now given up 10 goals in two games. The six he gave up Sunday matched his single-game high from last season, when he gave up that many just twice. Smith's frustration with his start -- albeit through just two games -- showed when he gave up his sixth goal of the night to the Blackhawks' Dave Bolland. After stopping Bolland's shot as he slid across the crease, he lost sight of the puck as it went up in the air, and it eventually fell in just behind his glove, at which point Smith smashed his stick against the post. "That's kind of the way it's going for me right now -- you make a save and it ends up in the back of the net," Smith said. Things might not be going that way were it not for the defense in front of him. While players won't let it be an excuse, the lockout-induced rust and minimal preparation have been especially evident on defense, and it could continue that way for a while. That might just be a reality until teams find a groove. Tippett, however, would accept no such reality Sunday. Uninterested in condoning early-season sloppiness, Tippet did all but breath fire from the podium after Sunday's loss. "You can say, 'OK, this is just the way it's going to be, there are going to be lots of mistakes,' but you know what? Let's do something about it," Tippett said. "Don't just talk about it; do something about it. That's what bothers me. "Why would we say, 'Oh, that's just going to happen?' Let's not let it happen." That's exactly the attitude the Coyotes -- and the rest of the league, for that matter -- must take when faced with playing 48 games in 99 days. There's less time to admire the accomplishments of a season passed and less time to correct the issues of the present. To be clear, an 0-2 start is hardly a death knell. Far from it. But string together enough two-game losing streaks in this shortened season and you'll be looking at a tough road to the playoffs. The mood in the Coyotes' locker room conveyed a clear sense of urgency to get going in the right direction -- and quickly. It also offered no hint of a team interested in giving much thought to last season's triumphs or this season's early failures. "There are still a lot of games left," Smith said. "In a 48-game schedule, you can't dwell on two losses. There's going to be ebbs and flows through the season, but we've got to get our act together here."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith smashes his stick against goalpost (Video)

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith smashed his stick against the goalpost after giving up a sixth goal during Sunday's loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. In the third period after the Coyotes had just scored two goals 50 seconds apart to reduce the Blackhawks lead to 5-4 at 5:28 into the third period. However, 22 seconds later, Blackhawks center scored the final goal of the game...
GOALIE SMASH!

Mike Smith destroys stick after allowing goal

It hasn’t been the best start to the 2013 NHL season for Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. He let up four goals during Phoenix’s 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday, and then got shelled for six yesterday as the Coyotes fell to the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 6-4. Smith finally took his frustrations out after allowing that sixth goal, and the victim was his poor...

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith breaks stick after failed save (Video)

Over the weekend, Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith didn't exactly have the greatest of days as he allowed four goals in a loss to Dallas Stars and then six goals against the Chicago Blackhawks in another close loss. After allowing a sixth goal against the Chicago Blackhawks, Smith had an epic freakout as he broke his stick against the goalpost: Remember Mike, "...

The Phoenix Coyotes Selected Blake Wheeler Fifth Overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft

Blake Wheeler, who spent his first his first two-plus seasons with the Bruins, showed Boston hockey fans that he’s got all the tools to become an elite winger in the NHL. In his rookie year with the B’s, the 6-foot-5 Minnesota native popped 21 goals and added 24 assists to go with a plus-36 plus-minus. After being traded to the Thrashers in 2011, Wheeler managed 17 points in...

Here is Coyotes goalie Mike Smith destroying his stick

The Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes are currently in a game that has officially reached BANANAS status on the NHL's second day of games in the 2013 season. As I write this, the Blackhawks lead 6-4 in the third period, and in one stretch during the third period, three goals were scored in a 90-second stretch. The last goal came from Blackhawks center Dave Bolland, and...

Torres watches, reflects as Hossa scores twice

GLENDALE, Ariz. Raffi Torres could only watch as Marian Hossa turned the Coyotes home opener in the Blackhawks favor with a give-and-go goal in the second period Sunday night at Jobing.com Arena. Maybe you believe that was karma. Nine months earlier, Torres may have turned a first-round playoff series in the Coyotes favor when he leveled Hossa with an open-ice hit that drew a 25...

2013 Season Game 1 Preview: Phoenix Coyotes @ Dallas Stars

Phoenix Coyotes @ Dallas Stars 7:00 PM CT American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas Phoenix (low)down: The Coyotes are coming off their franchise’s best season ever. They won the Pacific Division for the first time in their history and made it all the way to the Conference finals where they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings. They had a relatively...

Smith ready to get back on track vs. Columbus

The Phoenix Coyotes rode goaltender Mike Smith to the first division title in franchise history last season, but his struggles are a major reason why the Pacific Division champions are winless in 2012-13. A strong performance from their goalie has the Columbus Blue Jackets off to a surprisingly good start. Phoenix looks to avoid its worst start since relocating to the desert Wednesday...

Blue Jackets-Coyotes Preview

The Phoenix Coyotes rode goaltender Mike Smith to the first division title in franchise history last season, but his struggles are a major reason why the Pacific Division champions are winless in 2012-13. A strong performance from their goalie has the Columbus Blue Jackets off to a surprisingly good start. Phoenix looks to avoid its worst start since relocating to the desert Wednesday...

Marian Hossa, Blackhawks Get Revenge On Coyotes

After being thoroughly frustrated during the playoffs, the Blackhawks solved  Mike Smith and stayed undefeated on the young season. At the center of the controversial series in April was the concussion suffered by Marian Hossa. In his return to Glendale, … Continue reading →The post Marian Hossa, Blackhawks Get Revenge On Coyotes appeared first on Committed Indians.

The 3 Best Moments From The NHL’s Return Weekend

Hockey is back! Euphoria is the only emotion I’ve felt the past few days since the return of the NHL last Saturday. As a Blackhawks fan, I have even more to be happy about. The ‘Hawks are off to a hot start, spoiling the Los Angeles Kings’ banner raising ceremony with a 5-2 victory and then enacting revenge on the Coyotes the next day with a 6-4 win. The betrayal that is...
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!

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.