- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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The NHL is further investigating the postgame actions and comments of some Phoenix Coyotes players after their season-ending, overtime loss in the Western Conference finals, league executive vice president Colin Campbell told ESPN.com on Thursday.
The league is not pleased with some of what happened after Dustin Penner's overtime winner Tuesday night for the Kings, including Coyotes center Martin Hanzal skating aggressively toward a referee and making a gesture, goalie Mike Smith throwing his stick and Keith Yandle's postgame comment in which he suggested it was no surprise the calls didn't go his team's way given the similar colors of the refs' and Kings' uniforms.
"Their actions were unprofessional and unacceptable," Campbell told ESPN.com.
The Coyotes were upset and emotional after their season ended just moments after Kings winger Dustin Brown crushed Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival with a controversial, borderline hit. There was no penalty on the play.
The league may decide to do nothing, but also could fine some players $2,500 apiece, the maximum under the collective bargaining agreement.
On Friday, Dean Lombardi, the Kings president and general manager, also spoke out against the Coyotes' actions. Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times that Smith incited the crowd, and that European courts previously have blamed soccer players who incite fans.
"What the courts said was that because the players attacked the officials -- because the players showed such disrespect for the officials -- that incited the crowd," Lombardi told the Times. "They blamed the players. Because those players were conducting themselves like that, it incited the crowd.
"There's a lot to that. If those guys are acting in that manner toward the officials, it's a license for the crowd to do the same. What Smith did, he threw that stick at an official and then right after that, somebody is throwing a beer can at (Kings coach) Darryl Sutter and our captain (Brown).
"That's why Europe has that rule. You are responsible for that riot if you are going to show that lack of respect for officials."
Lombardi also told the Times that he thought Smith should be suspended multiple games for throwing his stick.