Last year's playoffs didn't go as well as the upstart Coyotes had hoped. They came into the playoffs with home ice advantage on the legendary Detroit Red Wings who had struggled early in the year.
Shane Doan, an offensive power forward who is always a threat on the ice at 6'2", 230 lbs., is a stereotypical big western Canadian farm boy. He lives up to the stereotype by throwing punishing hits and being the star of multiple controversial moments during his NHL tenure.
Doan has become a household name throughout the league and basically the father of the Coyotes, dedicating his services to the franchise for 15 seasons. He is the only remaining Coyote to have played in Winnipeg for the Jets whom he was drafted by back in 1995.
Coming into the 2010 playoffs he was determined to win the Yotes their first playoff series since 1993 when they were the Jets.
After punishing the Red Wings for the first two and a half games by throwing huge hits on key Red Wings including a giant hit on Wings power-hitter Niklas Kronwall, Doan amped the Coyotes to a win in Game 1.
Midway through Game 3, Jimmy Howard would come out to cover a puck while Doan, pushing hard to the net as he always does, tripped over the Detroit netminder and crashed into the boards shoulder first, ultimately ending his season. This proved to be fatal for the Coyotes as although they pushed the series to seven games, the Red Wings prevailed, dominating Game 7 in Phoenix.
This year Doan vowed to dedicate himself to a Phoenix win. After implying during an interview that the Coyotes would have won last year if he would have played, he came out with a valiant effort in Game 1, throwing eight hits and putting up an assist on the opening goal of the series.
Things were looking good as they had multiple power-plays and chances but just couldn't convert. Then the Red Wings would strike...four times. A late goal would bring the Coyotes within two but would not be enough to knock the Wings as they rode to a 4-2 win in Game 1.
Game 2 saw the Red Wings come out hard. Doan would make his presence known slamming Johan Franzen into the boards face first on a controversial hit in which some saw as dirty while others saw as a "hockey play." I will keep my opinion to myself.
The Red Wings would eventually blast four pucks past Ilya Bryzgalov putting them up 4-0 during the second period. After an unbelievable return from the "Mule" (Johan Franzen), the Joe blew up with applause and seemed to bring enough energy to finish the game coasting.
But they underestimated the energy that the Coyotes relentless Shane Doan would bring. In a skirmish at the side of the net, Doan would show his lack of sentiment for what he had done by throwing his glove in Franzen's battle-torn face, maddening the Red Wings crowd.
After throwing a big hit in front of the net on Dan Cleary and another on Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, Doan would blast two pucks past Jimmy Howard on Coyote power-plays adding to his assist on the first goal. All his effort and determination would bring the Yotes within one goal...but that would be it.
The Wings would hold off the Coyotes and as hard as Doan worked to batter the Red Wings and put up a three point game, Datsyuk would put up four and one-up the Coyote pest.
Game 3 is tonight at Jobing.com arena and you'd better believe the frustrated captain will be out for blood. Doan is one of those guys that will do whatever it takes to win and you can be sure will be calling on the rest of the team to step up. Only time will tell if Doan's antics will punish the Wings enough for the Coyotes to pull this one out, or will the trend continue watching Doan put everything he has on the ice, just to come up short to a superior Red Wings team.