It’s a Sunday afternoon in early December at the Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale, and Coyotes captain Shane Doan
is on the ice in his practice gear.
All of his teammates are in the locker room getting dressed after a tough on-ice workout, but Doan, stuck in a goal-scoring slump, is taking behind-the-net passes from Assistant Coach Doug Sulliman and one-timing them at an empty net as if Martin Brodeur is protecting it.
That’s all you need to know about Doan, who will play his 1,000th NHL game tonight at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
“It seems like a milestone for old players,” Doan, 33, said with a smile before quickly turning more serious. “I don’t feel old yet. But in that way, it’s kind of a fun milestone.”
Doan was chosen by the Winnipeg Jets with the seventh overall pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and moved with the team to Phoenix in 1996. He has played all 999 games – plus 13 playoff games -- for the same franchise.
After tonight’s faceoff, Doan will become the 42nd player in NHL history to play 1,000 games with one franchise and the 24th player to do it with the team that drafted him. Only Doan’s good friend Teppo Numminen has played more games (1,098) in Coyotes/Jets history.
“I really appreciate being able to play my whole career with this organization,” Doan said. “I am very grateful for the fact that my family has been able to live and grow in one place.”
Doan said a big key to his longevity is his passion for hockey.
“I love being at the rink, I love being on the ice, and I love competing,” Doan said. “Plus, I like to push myself to see if I can get better and understand the game better. I feel like I’ve got a lot more games to play and that I can definitely get better as a player.”
Doan notched an assist in his NHL debut on Oct. 7, 1995 vs. Dallas. He remembers feeling special that night, and he recalls thinking he would play for years.
“It’s amazing,” Doan said. “The night of your first game I think everyone thinks they’re going to play 1,000 games. And then, around your 100th game, you don’t think you’re going to get to 200 games.”
Asked which of his first 999 NHL games first comes to mind, Doan paused and started digging deep into his cerebral Rolodex. It’s a tricky question for a player who likely can remember at least one instance from all of them. After careful consideration, Doan smiled and then described the 17th game of his rookie season in vivid detail:
“It was against the Blackhawks in Winnipeg,” Doan said, “and I scored my first NHL goal on a one-on-two against (Chris) Chelios and (Brent) Sutter with about three minutes to go to make it 4 to 3 for Chicago. I was pretty excited about the fact that I had scored because Eddie Belfour was in their net and they had a great team. I remember I came down and kind of cut across the blue line in front of them and took a shot, a slapper off the post and in to make it 4 to 3. It was exciting but I was still disappointed because we were still behind 4 to 3. Then Teemu (Selanne) scored for us with 15 seconds left to tie it up. Then, in overtime, I got a pass from Darren Turcotte wide, and kind of drove in and got around the defensemen. Belfour came out and poke-checked me and I pulled it around him and he got my feet, and while I was in the air I slid in the net. That was a pretty special game. I’ll never forget that one.”
Doan is showing no signs of slowing down. Despite a recent scoring slump, he still co-leads the Coyotes with 19 points.
So, how many more games does Doan predict he will play?
“I’ll play as long as they’ll have me,” he said. “I want to win here. I feel that’s my job. That’s what I’m supposed to do.”
|MOST GOALS/GAME: ||MOST PIM/GAME: ||LONGEST POINT STREAK |
|2 - 33 times |
(last 10/24/09 v. LA)
|27 - 11/22/05 v. ANA ||11 games |
|MOST ASSISTS/GAME: ||MOST SHOTS/GAME: ||MULTIPLE POINT GAMES: |
|4 - 2 times |
(last 12/30/06 v. SJ)
|10 - 2 times |
(last 2/9/06 v. DAL)
(last 11/21/09 v. PHI)
|MOST POINTS/GAME: ||LONGEST GOAL STREAK: ||LONGEST ASSIST STREAK: |
|5 - 2 times |
(last 12/30/06 v. SJ)
|4 games |
|5 games |
| Maloney |
"If you were to build a hockey player to represent your franchise on and off the ice, you would be wise to use Shane as your blueprint for that player because he plays a real courageous, honest and hard-working game every game. Playing 1,000 games in this league is a real accomplishment. I hope he plays 1,000 more."-- DON MALONEY
“It’s a great accomplishment. That’s a lot of years and a lot of games and it couldn’t happen to a better man. He’s such a genuine guy and he loves to compete. Whether things are going well for him or not, he brings the same effort every night.”
-- ED JOVANOVSKI
"It's great to see him reach this milestone. We got to play together in Junior Hockey and have remained friends. I'm always happy to see him do well. It's great to see him still going strong because he doesn't play easy minutes."
-- JAROME IGINLA
| Burke |
"It's an impressive feat, but it's even more impressive because Shane is doing it at such a young age. He's just a class act. As a teammate, I always knew Shane was going to go out there and give it 100 percent. Now, as a coach, I see how hard he still works every day. We're lucky to have had him here in Phoenix his whole career."-- SEAN BURKE
"This will be special for him and it will be special for me to be a part of it. He's just a great guy. He's been great to me and my family, and every player that's come through this organization he's been great to. I wish everybody in the NHL had the opportunity to play with him."-- KEITH YANDLE
"It's quite an accomplishment, not only for himself but for the organization and what he means to the Winnipeg Jets and the Phoenix Coyotes. He's been a great leader for them, and when the game's on the line you know Shane will bring it. I feel honored to count him as a friend."
-- RYAN SMYTH
| Tippett |
"I've only coached him for a third of a season, but I've noticed him my whole (coaching) career in the NHL. It's such a great accomplishment for a guy to get 1,000 games, but to do it all with the same organization is phenomenal. What he has meant to this organization is something that can never be overstated."-- DAVE TIPPETT
"It's a great accomplishment, especially with one team. You don't see that too often. I'm so happy for him. He's done so much for the team and the organization and the city, and people love him here and respect him so much. He's a great captain and it's been my privilege to be on his team for a fifth season now."-- ZBYNEK MICHALEK
| Gretzky |
epitomizes all of the qualities of a true professional. He is a world-class player, and most importantly, a world-class person off the ice. There is no question he has given his heart to every one of those 1,000 games, and will continue to do so for the rest of his career. It was an honor to coach him.”-- WAYNE GRETZKY
"He can do it all. He can kill penalties, play power play, he can fight, he can hit, he can skate, he can play against the other team's top players and he can carry the load offensively. You just don't find that special type of package in players anymore. I'm excited for him and his family. Congrats to the Doaner!"-- KEITH TKACHUK
| Nash |
"The fact that he's played 1,000 games with the same team is remarkable. The best part for me is that he's a guy that has had so much success and yet he's never changed. I've said it a million times, but he's the nicest guy in the world, so much so that you almost think he's fake. I'm really proud of him for reaching this mark."-- TYSON NASH