Longevity with one team is as ancient as leisure suits and 8-track tapes.
It’s beyond rare that a player remains with the original team with whom he first signed and appeared. The lure of mega-bucks, free agency and greater opportunities remain some of the factors which govern movement in the world of professional sports.
Does Doan remain loyal to the franchise that's kept him, or use his talents and leadership to help teams gain playoff position or help solidify playoff positioning.
“I’m still here, I guess, because they did not get rid of me,” Doan smiled. “Really, I can’t tell the future.”
Doan has made no secret he wants to finish his career in Phoenix with the Coyotes franchise. That’s right, in Phoenix.
Despite recent discussion on the future of the NHL’s franchise in the desert, no decision appears close to settling the fate of the Coyotes. Though Doan has expressed a strong desire to remain both with the franchise and in Arizona, nothing appears sealed with two-and-a-half months left in the season.
Since relocating to the desert from Winnipeg at the start of the 1996-97 season, Doan has settled in comfortably amid the saguaros and scorpions.
Active in the community and the face of the franchise, Doan has also emerged as a complete team leader.
When he scored his first NHL “hat trick” on Jan. 7 against the New York Islanders, after 38 two-goal games and 16-plus seasons of lacing up skates, his teammates were more than appreciative of both the effort and his stature as team leader.
“This could not happen to a better guy,” said Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. “Shane is just a great leader, and this was really a special moment for him, his family and his teammates.”
There’s no question as to Doan’s value and his part in the history of the franchise.
He remains the team’s all-time leader in games played, third in goals scored, third in assists, third in penalty minutes, fourth in power-play goals and, coming into the current season, tied for eighth in short-handed goals.
Doan is also dear to the heart of Dave Tippett, the Phoenix coach.
When Tippett became the Phoenix head coach at the start of the 2009-2010 season, his first remarks at the introductory news conference were praise for Doan.
Having coached the Coyotes' captain in the World Championship Games in 2009, Tippett lauded Doan for his leadership and guidance.
That was supported because Doan was named captain of Team Canada in both the 2007 and 2009 World Championship Games.
For all of his achievements and accolades, Doan remains humble. Still, the bottom line equates to his desire of franchise and personal stability.
“Everyone knows I’d like to stay,” Doan added. “Then again, we’ll see what happens.”
On the Ice
Despite dropping a 3-2 shootout to the Detroit Red Wings at home Jan. 16, consensus in the Coyotes locker room was that, if the effort against the Wings can be maintained, the Desert Dogs could be on their way to a date with postseason play.
Not that a sense of urgency has quite arrived; the calendar shows about 10 weeks left in the hockey season. That may or may not be enough time for the Coyotes to jump over several teams.
“These are the games we need to win,” said Gilbert Brule, whose second period goal at 14:08 tied the Wings game. “It’s really tough to let points slip away.”
The Coyotes had a great chance to put the Wings away in overtime.
When Pavel Datsyuk was called for tripping 1:41 into the overtime session, the Coyotes went on a 4-on-3 power play. With the man advantage, Doan missed in front of the net, and Keith Yandle fired wide of goalie Jimmy Howard several times, missing strong scoring opportunities.
In the end, the Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi flipped in a backhander against Mike Smith as the final shooter in the shootout, and the Coyotes came away with one standing point.
“If everyone competes that way every night, we’ll be all right,” said Smith afterward. “The effort was certainly there, but we also need to find ways to get more points.”
ELSEWHERE...Coyotes’ forward Martin Hanzal returned to the lineup after missing 12 games. “I felt good, actually,” Hanzal said after getting two hours of sleep following the birth of his first child, Martin, Jr. Hanzal played 18 minutes and had three shots on goal...Two assists by Kyle Chipchura marked his second two-point game of the season. The other was recorded at Colorado on Dec. 29…Daymond Langkow left the ice in the first period after being struck in the face by a puck. Tippett said he will know more about Langkow’s status and availability in the days following...The Coyotes were hit with three bench minors for too many men in the ice. Tippett said two were justified, but the third was called with Langkow trying to get off the ice with his injury. Hanzal stepped on the ice too soon, Tippett said, but thought officials should have blown a whistle because of Langkow’s injury. Tippett also said he had not witnessed three bench minors for too many men on the ice against one team in one game before.
EDITOR’S NOTE - Quotes in the story were obtained by the author after these games: N.Y. Islanders at Phoenix, Jan. 7, 2012, Colorado at Phoenix, Jan 16, 2012 and Detroit at Phoenix, Jan. 19, 2012.