On the morning after their most dismal performance of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Phoenix Coyotes regrouped around captain Shane Doan, who issued a challenge the only way one of the nicest, calmest, most mild-mannered players in the NHL can.
“We know we can be better and we will be,” said Doan, who clearly thought what everybody else did too in the opener of the Western Conference final, a 4-2 Phoenix loss. His Coyotes were so thoroughly outplayed by the Los Angeles Kings that even mild-mannered coach Dave Tippett went off on their effort and execution.
Tippett is the antithesis of the New York Rangers’ volatile John Tortorella and thus understands that for maybe half-a-dozen times a year, it’s okay to call out his players as a motivational strategy. Too much of that and it just goes in one ear and out the other. Judiciously applied, the flat recitation of facts – “we weren’t close, we got beat in every facet of the game” – can work to grab their attention.