|Tippett instructing practice (photo: D. Sheehan)|
Dave Tippett played over 700 games in the NHL, primarily as a left wing for the old Hartford Whalers. Soon after his playing days were over he found himself as the head coach of the Houston Aeros (IHL), where he won a championship in 1999. The following year he stepped up to the NHL, as an assistant for the Kings under Andy Murray.
After a three-year stint in LA, he became the head coach of the Dallas Stars for six years, until being fired in the summer of 2009 when the team missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. Many questioned the move at the the time and some still do to this day. Tippett is one of the most respected coaches in the NHL and even though he won the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) in 2010, he might be doing his finest job yet with this year’s Phoenix Coyotes team.
Leading a roster that was thought not deep enough to contend for a spot in the post-season – especially after losing their All-Star goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadephia Flyers – he somehow has them right in the thick of the playoff race.
Following practice yesterday, I asked Tippett if playing the Kings still holds any special feeling for him or if too much time has passed since he was a part of the LA hockey scene.
“I have a lot of good friends here and my daughter lives in Los Angeles. So, there’s always good feelings coming back here. I really enjoyed my three years here too. We made the playoffs all three years and we had a real good group of players, including Luc Robitaille and some players who really had some history here. I like coming back and competing against them and I like to beat them,” he said, with a good chuckle at the end.
On any comparisons between his captain, Shane Doan, and the Kings’ Dustin Brown, he had this to say – “I don’t know Dustin as a person at all. But, their styles are very similar on the ice. They’re big strong right wingers who like to run into people and have a physical affect on the game. They have a tendency to score big goals at the right time. Just from coaching against (Brown) for some years now, they have a similar style, that’s for sure.”
Tonight will be the fifth time the Coyotes have met up with the Kings this season and they’ve managed just one win thus far. Yet, all the games have been extremely close, with three of the four being decided by only a goal.
And you can expect more of the same…
“The structure of their game hasn’t changed that much since Darryl (Sutter) took over,” Tippet commented. “But, you can see the added urgency in them.”
For more on the Coyotes players, please see the articles linked below. Still to come later today is an exclusive conversation with Phoenix forward Ray Whitney.
Four Kings play word association with Coyotes leaders – talking Doan, Yandle, Whitney, etc.
Interview with Andy Murray – he shares the good, the bad and the ugly from his time in LA