The NHL announced today that they're opening an investigation into a team it owns. The league, which took over ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2009, is looking at Coyote players for actions after their elimination from the playoffs.
“I am just looking at everything that transpired at the end of the game,” NHL V.P. Colin Campbell told the Toronto Star. “There were some comments regarding our officials and some actions that were less than acceptable. With the season over for the Coyotes it will take a little time with players dispersing in a hurry.”
Shane Doan: "Are you kidding me?
Coyote players in question were reacting not only to losing and being eliminated from the playoffs but to the winning goal coming in overtime after Dustin Brown hit Michal Rozsival knee on knee. Rozsival had to leave the game with assistance and such hits are usually dealt with severely, not just with a penalty at the time of the infraction, but often a suspension. Brown was not even given a minor penalty on the play, which happened after the whistle went for an offside.
“I mean, are you freaking kidding me?" Phoenix captain Shane Doan said in the dressing room. "I can't understand how you miss that. How do you miss that when it's after the whistle and it's a knee. How do you possibly miss that?" Doan also added that he did not want to take anything away from the Kings for playing so well in the series.
Others Campbell and the league may look at include Derek Morris, Keith Yandle and goalie Mike Smith, who threw his stick after Dustin Penner scored the winning goal and railed against officials in the dressing room later. Michal Hanzal flew toward a referee in the moments following the end of the game, looking as if he might physically confront him. The Coyotes may have also been primed to complain after an earlier play saw a high-stick by a King go uncalled.
Coyote Players: Suspensions possible
Campbell, who said it's possible he'll hand down suspensions to be served next season, will find emotions have calmed down, but is not likely to find Phoenix players who feel the lack of calls was justified. They were blatant infractions and the league has to expect players to react with their season on the line. Some went too far, saying the league wanted them to lose.
The NHL is trying to sell the team before the start of the 2012-13 season.