As you may recall, after the Phoenix Coyotes were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings, the two teams combined for one of the most uncomfortable handshake lines ever. Rather than shake quickly and move on (standard etiquette in handshake lines and at public urinals), Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan gave an earful to Kings' captain Dustin Brown, who had gone unpenalized on a borderline collision with Michal Rozsival just moments before Dustin Penner's game-winner.
It was a decidedly uncomposed, unsportsmanlike moment for the Coyotes, but if some of the stuff they said in the locker room afterwards was any indication, they weren't exactly thinking clearly. Maybe we should give them a couple days to calm down, we all thought.
Well, it's been a couple days, and sure enough, cooler heads have indeed prevailed. On Thursday, Shane Doan admitted some regret to how heated things became in the handshake line, and explained what was said between he and Brown. Doan, from NHL.com:
"We went to do the handshake and he was trying to explain and I said "Not now!' then he said 'Come on' and tried again and I said "No, not right now,' and that was it, Doan said. "That's really all it was.
Doan added that he didn't swear or say anything disrespectful. Still, he regretted losing his composure in the moment.
"But at the same time, everyone who has ever played in a playoff game has done the handshake line. Am I arrogant enough to think I'm the only player who felt bad? No. And in that situation, I have to be in better control of my emotions."
Doan also apologized for his postgame comments, where he suggested that the NHL was conspiring against the Coyotes (and before you suggest that it's laughable for a company to conspire against a property they own, consider that Warner Bros. released Catwoman.) Will his apology be enough to avoid a fine?
Speaking of things better left unsaid, Doan wasn't the only one regretting what went on after the game. Goaltender Mike Smith has shaved a couple games off that lifetime ban he felt Dustin Brown deserved for the hit.
"Obviously, a lifetime ban is little much," he told reporters. And then everyone had a good laugh (and somewhere, Pete Rose shed a single tear).
It's good to see the Coyotes getting some of the postgame silliness behind them, because they didn't need that stuff staining what was otherwise the greatest season in franchise history. It's a season that deserves to be remembered and commemorated, something Fox Sports Arizona will doing with the following commercial, beginning Friday:
UPDATE: Via the Globe & Mail, the NHL said it will investigate the Coyotes' action after Game 5:
Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice-president of hockey operations who handles discipline outside of playing matters, said he does not know when his investigation will be complete because contacting players once their season ends can be difficult. "Not sure ... [it's] tough when a player's season is over and to co-ordinate times [for interviews]," Campbell said in a text message Friday morning.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of suspensions that would take effect next season or fines. Campbell said in a text he wasn't sure what form any punishment would take since he has not started interviewing those involved. The maximum fine he can assess, according to the collective agreement, is $2,500 (U.S.).
So, in summary, the NHL is investigating the team it owns.