Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/27/13
GLENDALE, Ariz. Did the Coyotes get a little too confident following last season's sprint to the Western Conference final? Are they experiencing a hangover after unprecedented playoff success? Has the lockout impacted them more than other teams because their success is predicated on a finely-tuned defensive system that requires practice time? Whatever theory you subscribe to, it's fair to start worrying after Saturday's 4-2 loss to the hated Kings at Jobing.com Arena. The Coyotes are 1-4 and look nothing like the club that captured the Valley's heart during last season's improbable run. Puck management is an ongoing issue, defensive-zone lapses come at inopportune moments, the goaltending has been no better than average and the team is blowing leads more than at any point in Dave Tippett's tenure as coach. "It's a matter of execution," Tippett said. "It's simple plays that have got to get made. When there is a mistake, you've got to clean up for each other, and right now there's not much cleaning up going on." Let's be clear. The playoffs have not been lost, despite a league-wide mantra that fast starts would dictate the season. Fast starts may get some teams such as Chicago and San Jose in, but the bulk of the Western Conference has not run away and hidden from the Coyotes just yet. They're just going to have to claw their way in, but that's nothing new. Can they find their mojo in time? That's the greater question. Five of the next six games are at home, so opportunity is still seated at the table. "It now becomes a matter of will," captain Shane Doan said. "We've been too easy a group to play against in every area of the ice. It's not hard to get to the net, it's not hard to hold onto the puck in our zone, it's not hard to break out of your own zone. When that's the case, it's going to make for a long game." If you're still hung up on two critical calls in Saturday's loss, you have both an argument and a lingering aftertaste from last season's controversial end against these very Kings. With L.A. up 3-1 in the second period, Coyotes forward David Moss appeared to deflect defenseman Michael Stone's shot past goalie Jonathan Quick to slice the lead in half. But Moss was ruled to have made contact with Quick (who was out of his crease) despite the fact that he was pushed into the goalie by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez. That call wiped out the goal. Then, with Phoenix trailing 4-2 with under a minute to play, Radim Vrbata's shot squirted through Quick's legs and then was whacked into the net, but a quick whistle by the referee nullified that goal, too. The ref apparently lost sight of the puck, although a TV angle clearly showed it in view of him as he blew his whistle. Tippett clearly was miffed with both calls, even noting that Quick did not have possession of Vrbata's shot, but he bit his tongue before risking a fine. "That's the breaks we're getting right now," Tippett said. "We've got to overcome it." It was a prudent choice of words from both a financial standpoint and a procedural standpoint. Some breaks are going to go against the Coyotes this season, but they didn't waste time last season lamenting those bad bounces. They dug deeper. Besides, the Coyotes aren't helping themselves with their play. They're allowing four goals a game and committing myriad mental errors that are proving costly. "It's not who we are as a team, that's for sure," Tippett said. "I like to think we don't beat ourselves much, but that's been the case a few times early here." There are hockey savants in all corners of North America who are ready to write the Coyotes off as a one-hit wonder -- a nice little story of overachievers who couldn't sustain success. It's up to the team to decide whether those stories ultimately get written. "One and four is obviously not the start we were looking for," goalie Jason LaBarbera said. "But we have the guys in here to do it. It's just a matter of putting it together and getting on the same page." Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Brady would be 'very jealous' if Manning wins Super Bowl

John Elway takes swipe at John Fox

Jets DT: I won't watch a Super Bowl 'until I play in one'

Hall of Fame coach: Stephen Curry is the best of all time

Reggie Bush on NFL future: ‘I’m not retiring’

Derek Fisher blasts Rondo over triangle offense criticism


Report: Marshawn Lynch hasn't spent any playing money

Ex-King says he could do 'much better job' than George Karl

Trainer thought Thomas Davis would not play in Super Bowl

Todd Gurley named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Durant, Westbrook on loss to Warriors: We're not scared

Report: Eagles interested in bringing back Nick Foles

WATCH: Tom Brady booed during Super Bowl 50 MVP ceremony

Cam Newton's cleats have 'MVP' and stats written on them

Concession prices incredibly high at Super Bowl 50

Fan at Super Bowl 50 wears awesome dual-team jersey

Skip Bayless whiffed badly on Cam Newton prediction

Stephen Curry to serve as guest drummer for Panthers

Charlie Sheen tweets advice for Johnny Manziel

Cardale Jones predicts he will play in Super Bowl

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Marcin Gortat fires back at critic on Twitter

WATCH: Kerr told Warriors he was happy to have close game

Broncos could have tough decision with franchise tag

WATCH: Steph Curry does 'Dab' on court on eve of Super Bowl

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

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker