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Coyotes coach Tippett moves on without GM

Arizona coach facing roster rebuild after Maloney fired

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After seven years together navigating the Arizona Coyotes through some of the NHL's choppiest waters, Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett on Tuesday had his first day on the job without Don Maloney as his general manager.

"There are lots of emotions: disappointing, frustration," Tippett said one day after Maloney was fired after nine years with Arizona. "Don and I have been together a long time."

Despite inferences by Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc that Tippett will have more input in roster decisions with whoever the new general manager will be, Tippett said he is fine with things as they are.

"Coaches are always in discussion about some of that stuff. But I don't want to be the GM," Tippett said. "I never said I want to be the GM."

There was a time, when the Coyotes were owned by the NHL and Maloney and Tippett had more free rein than most front offices, where their unique relationship blossomed. But when the Coyotes found buyers, and a more traditional model of ownership returned, so did a more familiar hierarchy.  

"I think [the relationship] evolved as the ownership has evolved," Tippett said. "What they are looking for is a certain perspective. They are trying to evolve a structure they are comfortable with."

LeBlanc made it clear Monday that Maloney didn't fit that structure. But Tippett, with two years left on his contract and four years removed from coaching a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, remained. The Coyotes improved by 22 points in 2015-16 (to 78 from 56) but again failed to reach the postseason.

"When you feel like you are competitive and you don't get over the top and make the playoffs, it's disappointing." Tippett said. "We took a good step this year, but that was an easy step. Where we were coming from, it wasn't hard to step forward. The next step is much harder.

"There are things we can take from this year but there's lots of work to be done."

Tippett mentioned the goals allowed (244, third most in the NHL), the high number of penalties taken (395, second most), and a penalty kill ranked 28th as areas that need attention. The Arizona roster will undergo many changes; nine players are signed beyond July 1.

One player Tippett expects to have back is forward Shane Doan, although the Coyotes captain said he will discuss the idea of playing a 21st NHL season at age 40 with his family before making a decision.

"My gut feeling is Shane will play next year," Tippett said. "Why I say that is, the last game (against the San Jose Sharks on April 9), I put him on the ice with about a minute and 30 seconds to go. We were on a power play chasing a 1-0 game and when he got tired he came off.

"If that had been his last game he never would have come off that ice. He might prove me wrong, but it didn't feel like his last game."

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