According to the NHL standings, the Phoenix Coyotes are a playoff team.
That’s on March 5.
On March 4, they weren’t. And on March 6, they may not be again.
The lockout-shortened season has led to a bit of a cluster in the Western Conference standings, and while the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks are perched at the top, everyone else is grouped together.
To wit: No. 3 Vancouver has 26 points, while No. 10 Detroit has 24. Only eight teams make the playoffs, by the way.
The Coyotes have collected 25 points and are currently in fourth place.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan, as a guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday, said the only time the players check the standings is after a win.
“When you lose you know you don’t have to go and check because it’s not good,” he said. “And when you win it’s ‘OK, we won so did it help us at all’ and you get up and you check and you’re like ‘no, it didn’t, it didn’t really change anything, we have to win again.'”
Doan said the key is not looking back at games the team lost that it feels it should have won, which the Coyotes have had plenty of this season. He said they don’t do that so much, which he attributes to the coaching staff led by Dave Tippett.
Tippett, who has guided the Coyotes to the postseason in each of the last three seasons, rightfully gets a lot of credit for the team’s success.
And while they haven’t been as good defensively this year as the coach would like, Doan said Tippett isn’t exactly upset with the group.
“Maybe there’s a little bit of a letdown on our part on what it takes, and yet we’re still finding ways to get points,” Doan said.
Doan knows the team’s defense must improve if the Coyotes are to make another deep postseason run, but says Tippett does a good job of balancing the idea that they could be better but are not playing too bad.
“He points out all the things we’ve got to change, and yet at the same time he’s saying ‘but keep finding ways to win, that’s the nature of the beast. It doesn’t matter how, just make sure you win.'”