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Coyotes shut down questions on relocation after loss to Flames

Connor Ingram Connor Ingram - The Canadian Press

While a move to Salt Lake City may be pending for the Arizona Coyotes, the team shut down questions regarding it after their 6-5 loss to the Calgary Flames in their final road game of the season on Sunday.

“There’s lots of stuff going on around the league with every team," forward Alex Kerfoot said when asked about the outside noise. "There’s always distractions, always stuff that’s going on in peoples’ minds. This is no different.”

Head coach Andre Tourigny, meanwhile, wanted to keep the focus solely on the ice.

“It’s game-only related questions," Tourigny said. 

“I think our guys have shown a lot of character in the last week,” he added later. “We saw our last three games, really tight games… Really proud of them.”

The Associated Press reported Saturday that the Coyotes will likely be sold to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith shortly after the team's final game this week, and the deal will include a provision guaranteeing current owner Alex Meruelo an expansion team if a new arena is built within five years.

Noise around a potential move started to build early last week, though the Coyotes managed to pick up overtime wins over both the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers

Arizona has been eliminated from playoff contention. The Coyotes were in the fight for a wild-card spot early in the new year before a 14-game winless skid derailed their hopes. Tourigny said last week that the team first heard of a possible move at the same time that skid began.

"The first time that rumour came, it was January 24, and that's the day we started a 14-game losing streak, so we cannot pretend it did not affect our team," Tourigny said Wednesday.  "Unfortunately, that had a huge impact on our season.

"We did not deal with it the right way at the time."

The Coyotes will host the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday in what is expected to be their final game in Arizona.