On Monday morning, about a dozen players – some Coyotes, some not – skated together informally at the Ice Den in Scottsdale for 90 minutes.
Captain Shane Doan
, per usual, was among them.
“I feel good and I’m excited about the year,” said Doan, who will turn 39 years old on Oct. 10, the day the Coyotes will play their first home game of 2015-16. “Obviously last year wasn’t a very fun year and you look forward to having a better season.”
Doan said he’s pleased several of his teammates have joined him at the informal skates. Getting used to the Arizona summer heat, he said, is vital to players being ready for training camp.
“It’s hard going through training camp when you’re just coming into the Valley,” Doan said. “You lose so much water … you’re constantly sweating and you’re kind of dehydrated all the time. It’s important to keep that up and get acclimated.”
Doan said he likes the personnel moves the Coyotes made during the off-season, especially those involving past teammates Antoine Vermette, Zbynek Michalek and Boyd Gordon. He’s also eager to watch young prospects such as Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Brendan Perlini compete for roster spots.
“I’m really excited,” Doan said. “…We’re going to count on all 20 guys. There isn’t going to be one superstar … except maybe Oliver (Ekman-Larsson). He’s a legit superstar. It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be exciting, and as a group we’re going to enjoy it.”
Newcomer Steve Downie, whom the Coyotes signed as a free agent on July 1, skated with some of his new teammates on Monday. He and Doan, of course, swapped punches near the end of last season in a high-spirited fight when Arizona played at Pittsburgh.
Doan said the fight was just part of the game and he welcomes Downie to the Coyotes with open arms.
“You have feelings towards each other when you’re on the ice but in that situation, and in most situations, what happens on the ice stays on the ice,” Doan said. “It’s part of our sport and the way it is. People always find that hard to understand because it’s so physical and intense when it happens, but I’m a huge, huge fan of Steve.”
Other players who attended Monday’s informal skate included Mikkel Boedker, Martin Hanzal, Connor Murphy, Joe Vitale, Michalek and Domi.
Coyotes rookies report to training camp on Sept. 11. They will play two games against the Los Angeles Kings rookies on Sept. 15 and 16 in El Segundo, Calif.
Coyotes veterans will report to training camp on Sept. 17.
Shane Doan recently was voted the Valley’s Most Popular Sports Figure by fans in an online poll conducted by azcentral.com. Read more.
Follow Dave Vest on Twitter: @davest4yotes