GLENDALE, Ariz. - An emotional Shane Doan and some of his Phoenix Coyotes teammates did not like the way their season ended on Tuesday evening.
Doan and Coyotes goalie Mike Smith expressed their frustration with the officiating in the Western Conference final finale, shortly after Dustin Penner scored his first career overtime goal to send his Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup final.
In particular, the Coyotes were upset that Kings captain Dustin Brown escaped a penalty for a knee-on-knee hit with Phoenix defenceman Michal Rozsival just inside the Los Angeles blue line after an offside had been whistled. Penner scored on the shift after Rozsival was helped to the dressing room with a knee injury.
"If [Coyotes forward] Raffi Torres gets 25 games for his hit during the play then this guy [Brown] ought to be done forever," Smith said after the 4-3 loss.
Doan, the Coyotes captain, also was upset with referees Kevin Pollock and Brad Watson.
"I bit my tongue the whole playoffs," Doan said. "I bit my tongue the whole time this series. I look back in the last two games and I still haven't found where I got my three penalties. I have absolutely no idea where they came from or what they were calling.
"It's hard because you don't want to take anything away from L.A. They played unbelievable and give them all the credit. Uncle. Are you freaking kidding me? Uncle. I can't understand how you miss that. You saw the game. It's 5-on-3 and they give a penalty to even it up.
"The guy crosschecks Marty [Hanzal] twice in the back. He chips it over the boards, it goes over the boards and there's no call? Marty gets a stick in the face and then the knee? I mean, come on. Like, come on.
"You don't want to do it because I don't want to take anything away from L.A. They played unbelievable and they beat us. Thank goodness their power play didn't score on all those power plays they were handed. It could have been really ugly. They beat us. There's nothing else to say about it."
While Brown did widen his stance to make the hit and appeared to hit Rozsival in the shoulder with an elbow, it was a bang-bang play that happened after the whistle had been blown. Doan was asked if the referees gave him an explanation.
"I have no idea," Doan said. "I have no idea what they could have possibly said. How do you miss that? Rosie's knee is blown out. How do 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?
"You know what? As player I get in trouble when I make a mistake. I get in big trouble. I get called out by you guys. I get called out be everybody. I get called out by my coaches. I have to be accountable to my teammates. I don't know how you miss it. I don't know how you miss it. I'm sure they'll have a great explanation for it. I'm sure they'll have a great explanation for it.
"I know that they try to do their best, I know they always try to do their best. They're going to make mistakes. It's just tough when you're on the short end of it I don't know how many times. You watch the last three games and you try and tell me where I got my penalties on my slashing penalty, or my roughing penalty or my holding penalty. The last three penalties I got, you tell me where I got them. It is what it is and they beat us."
Brown, who didn't touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl at the post-game trophy presentation, was asked for his side of the story.
``I saw him cut in the middle," Brown said. "I changed my path to meet him in the middle. I haven't seen a replay so I don't know, but I felt like I made contact [with] my whole left side with his left side. My shoulder hit his shoulder for sure. I hit him from toe to shoulder on my left side, full contact. He's trying to get out of the way and I'm trying to finish my check. My first thought is I didn't stick my knee out. He's trying to get out of the way and I finished my check.''
Future uncertain for 'Yotes
Only time will tell whether the Coyotes are finished in Glendale. As Greg Jamison and his ownership bid continues on there has been speculation that the conservative watchdog group, the Goldwater Institute, will make waves if the city of Glendale follows through on its plan to pay Jamison a $17-million annual arena management fee. The Goldwater Institute feels that anything more than $10-million is too high.
Meanwhile, the game-ending controversy overshadowed what the Kings have accomplished in their skate to their first Stanley Cup appearance since 1993, when Wayne Gretzky and Co. were beaten in five games by the Montreal Canadiens.
The Kings now will wait at least three more days - and possibly longer - to find out whether they will meet the New Jersey Devils or New York Rangers in the final, which begins next Wednesday in the East.
The week off should not hurt the Kings. They swept the St. Louis Blues after a six-day layoff from their first-round victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and eliminated the Coyotes following a seven-day layoff from the second round.
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