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Coyotes' coach changes his tune on diving

Dave Tippett says his comments on 'embellishment' weren't directed toward Game 3.

May 18, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett has some words with officials during Game Two of the Western Conference Finals.
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett has some words with officials during Game… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

Phoenix Coyotes Coach Dave Tippett appeared to take a dive on his diving charge.

Thursday Tippett felt the Kings were well suited to be playing near Hollywood, given their acting abilities, saying "more than one penalty" against his team "were plays where there was embellishment."

Friday Tippett said his comments weren't "geared toward that game last night."

So was there embellishment by the Kings during the game or by Tippett after it? Either this is a coach who has had enough of players taking a dive or someone's team is down 3-0 in the Western Conference finals.

Playoff rants are a time-honored tradition in the NHL, like the team handshake after a series is over. Usually the chatter starts when a playoff series tilts in one team's favor. And Tippett's accusations Thursday night amused Kings players to some extent.

Said defenseman Rob Scuderi: "Whoever has more power plays that game is going to be happy, whoever has less is going to think some were embellished or what have you."

The Kings had five power plays Thursday. The Coyotes one.

The Coyotes have 17 penalties to 10 for the Kings through the first three games, though part of that came when the Coyotes got physical after falling behind, 3-0, in Game 2. The Kings had eight power plays in that game.

The only diving penalty in the series was called on the Kings' Dustin Brown in Game 2.

Kings forward Mike Richards said Tippett is "entitled to his opinion," but that "they have the best of the best refs here, as well as the teams. They know what is an embellishment and what's not."

Thursday Tippett said he was taking a stand to save the purity of the game, not just trying to plant a seed in referees' minds because the Coyotes are one game from elimination.

Asked if he was frustrated with referees, Tippett said, "If I told you what I really think, I think it would cost me a lot of money."

Then Tippett went on to say what he really thinks: "Personally, I've talked about this in a lot of meetings with Don [Maloney], our general manager, that the game is turning a little dishonest and it's embellishment by players. When it's done well, it's very hard for the referees, very hard, because if you fall down near the boards or you drop your stick or you throw your head back, you're putting the referee in a very tough situation."

But Friday Tippett had a different theory on what had hurt his team.

"I don't think we've played as well in this series as we have the two previous," Tippett said. "We're down 3-0 because of it."

Tough love

This is the third consecutive series where the Kings have taken a 3-0 lead.

"You get up 3-0 and everyone starts looking ahead," said Scuderi, who played in two Stanley Cup finals with the Pittsburgh Penguins. "But one of the good things is we've been able to stay grounded and focused on what we have to do, and that's hopefully to close out the Phoenix Coyotes sooner rather than later."

The Kings have had a little help in the focus area: Coach Darryl Sutter.

"He can bring you back to reality pretty quick if you are thinking ahead," Scuderi said.

Asked if he could explain how, Scuderi said, "not with language I can use right now."

Fraser back

Kings forward Colin Fraser, who returned home to Canada to handle a family matter after Game 1, skated with the Kings on Friday. Kyle Clifford took Fraser's place during his two-game-absence.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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