Coyotes coach Dave Tippett circled the ice with captain Shane Doan by his side, words spilling out of the smile on his face as the two skated laps. .

After the conversation ended, Tippett blew a whistle and whacked the ice twice with his left-handed stick.

“Breakouts,” he called as players descended on the middle of the rink before fanning out in line rushes on both sides of him.

This was the scene only a few days ago as the Coyotes neared the end of their season – an 82-game odyssey that officially wraps after Saturday’s finale against the Sharks as the team’s fourth consecutive non-playoff finish.

A skid like that breeds disappointment, and this season isn’t an exception.

But another mood is also sweeping the franchise.