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For Coyotes, series is over when focus turns to refs

“Ultimately, you know, they’re a pretty good team.
They’re getting some breaks on some calls I think that
eventually wore us down.”

And with that quote from Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, you
can officially put the 2011-12 season to bed for the
Desert Dogs.

Their magical postseason run, one that seemed like it
could be destined for the Stanley Cup Final just a week
ago, will come to an end at the hands of the Los Angeles
Kings and, unfortunately, a lack of toughness when the
Coyotes needed it most.

Because, while the officials in this series have been bad
— really, really bad — they are not the reason the
Coyotes will be watching the next series on T.V.

The Kings are simply a better team. Somehow. In every way
imaginable. And Tippett, who is easily one of the best
coaches in the NHL, knows it.

Spending time discussing how players benefit from
“embellishment” — a tactic known as flopping in other
circles — is noble in that, honestly, he’s right. But
still, that’s not what you want to hear.

A coach who thinks his team can beat an opponent does not
spend multiple press conferences talking about
officiating. A coach who thinks his team can beat an
opponent discusses exactly how it can happen, saying that
a small change here or there can be the difference.

That is not the case in this series, and it stinks.

But it’s reality.

“But, you know, this last series, we just haven’t been
able to get enough guys to the level that we need to
get to,” Tippett added. “We talked about that after the
first couple games. The level is being raised here. We
just haven’t been able to get to the next level.”

They have not been able to get to the next level because,
quite frankly, they can’t. The Kings are the Coyotes’
first two postseason opponents combined: Chicago’s offense
with Nashville’s goaltending.

Everything Coyotes fans may have feared coming into this
series has come to fruition, and the last thing the team
needed was shaky officiating. But they’re getting it, and
are not handling it particularly well.

“Obviously that hurts any team when you’re getting calls
like that, momentum taken out of the game,” defenseman
Keith Yandle said. “We were doing a good job of rolling
four lines. On those penalties, you got to run only four
guys. That’s something that took us out of the game a
little bit.

“But you can’t blame it on that.”

No, you can’t, and it’s unfortunate the officials are even
a topic of discussion. However, that’s what happens with
fans, because we look for a reason to explain our team’s
demise that does not involve admitting they’re just not as

But when the thought process seeps into the dressing room
and is one of the first things out of a coach’s mouth?

That’s a sign it’s time to turn out the lights, because
there’s nothing left to accomplish.

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