GLENDALE, Ariz. – The initial shock is subsiding, ever so slowly. The playoff beard is gone – a family project co-engineered by his two youngest daughters the morning after the Phoenix Coyotes were eliminated from the postseason three wins shy of their first Stanley Cup Final.
Shane Doan, who has waited 16 years to go deep into the playoffs and experience the thrill of advancing, the disappointment of falling short so close to the ultimate goal and losing to the Los Angeles Kings in five games will take some time to wear off.
"I was watching the Rangers-Devils game [Wednesday night] and I'm thinking 'I should be playing [Thursday] to see if I can play against them," Doan said Thursday as he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers at Jobing.com Arena. "You think that after waiting so long [to win two playoff series] that a sense of accomplishment would be there. But if anything, the frustration is worse.
"Your goal is to win, to win it all. We thought we had a shot at it. But we congratulate L.A. and wish them well in the Final."
Doan chose not to address the issue when asked if he expected to be fined for his postgame comments about uneven officiating during the playoffs. That included calls in the overtime period of Game 5, including Kings captain Dustin Brown's hit on Phoenix defenseman Michal Rozsival seconds before Dustin Penner scored the game- and series-winning goal.
On Thursday, he apologized for his postgame comments and for not being able to listen to Brown when he attempted to talk to him in the handshake line.
"We went to do the handshake and he was trying to explain and I said "Not now!' then he said 'Come on' and tried again and I said "No, not right now,' and that was it, Doan said. "That's really all it was.
2012 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
No guaranteesBy Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer
Facing the same predicament as in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils, there are no echoes of Mark Messier's famous guarantee coming from the New York room this time. READ MORE ›
"But there is so much respect for the handshake line in our sport, and I feel the same way, you want to control your emotions and handle it with class. As one of the leaders, you can act that way and I know that. I'm usually pretty controlled with that stuff.
"It just happened so fast … one minute [Rozsival] is being carried off the ice and the next, our season is over and you're getting ready to shake hands. There wasn't time for it all to sink in."
Rozsival was on crutches Thursday with knee and upper leg injuries, but general manager Don Maloney said the injuries were limited to bruises.
Doan is one of six veterans among the core of the team who will be free agents on July 1 -- a group that also includes Adrian Aucoin, Daymond Langkow, Taylor Pyatt, Rozsival and leading scorer Ray Whitney. Maloney called re-signing Doan, the franchise's all-time leader in games played, his top priority.
Both sides are waiting for the NHL and the city of Glendale to finalize a preliminary agreement with former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison to purchase the team, ending a three-year odyssey during which team has been run by the NHL.
"We plan to keep Shane. He's not going anywhere if I have anything to do with it," Maloney said. "Once we have our ownership settled, we will immediately go after Shane and do everything we can to keep him a Coyote for the rest of his career."
Doan said that he has been told everyone is confident the deal is close to completion and said it was important to keep the core of the team together and add pieces to improve.
"It would be awesome if all of that could get done before July 1," he said. "Don and Tip [coach Dave Tippett] have been always been so incredible to me so it's obvious I want to do everything I can from my end.
"As a player, this is where I've been and I've never made any secret where I want to be. It would be nice if I didn't even have to think about that."