“Refuse to Lose”
There are many things in life that are unpredictable. Like Boston and Vancouver being knocked out in the first round in this years playoffs (Both were in the Stanley Cup finals last year). Like the ending of the movie the Sixth Sense starring Bruce Willis. Or, whether the City of Glendale, the Goldwater Institute, the NHL and the Jamison group will find a way to work out a deal to keep the Coyotes in Glendale.
Yet after watching the Phoenix Coyotes for years, there is something different this year. Something that you can predict. That something is their “Refuse to Lose” mindset. This type of mindset was once again demonstrated last night in Nashville when the Coyotes played the Predators in game four of their second round playoff series. It is hard to explain but easy to identify. This “refuse to lose” mindset is reflected in their intense win at all costs performance on the ice. Aggressive forechecking, hits, winning the puck battles, hustle, focused attention to detail all combine to create a very powerful force of team unity, execution and one for all and all of one attitude. This doesn’t guarantee a win however it does give the team a much greater chance of winning each and every night. It is an attitude that can overcome great odds, opponents superior talent and expectations from so called experts. Where did this “refuse to lose” attitude come from? Head Coach Dave Tippett set the standard, Captain Shane Doan created the example and Goaltender Mike Smith sent the message to other teams daring them to try to put the puck past him. This powerful trio has created an intangible that has been embraced by the entire team which is self perpetuating on and off the ice. After 10 playoff games in 2012, the Coyotes are 7 and 3. Only the Los Angeles Kings have a better winning percentage this year in the playoffs at 7 and 1.
Of course there are so many others that deserve credit like General Manager Don Maloney for acquiring players like Rostislav Klesla, Antoine Vermette, and a cast of others. The other coaches, the staff and the entire organization also deserve credit. Yet when it comes down to it, the Phoenix Coyotes are the ultimate team model. No superstars, no high profile players, no ego driven players, only a team made up of players who “refuse to lose”.