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Doan Savors Season Finale

Captain Shane Doan notched an assist in what might have been his final NHL game

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE - Captain Shane Doan notched an assist and played 17:10, including the entire final minute, in the season finale of his 21st NHL season on Saturday night.

It was an emotional night for Doan, who is contemplating retirement after 1,540 NHL games.

"I truly haven't made up my mind yet and that is probably one of the reasons why I haven't, because if I had made up my mind it'd be a pretty emotional night and I didn't want that," Doan said after Arizona's 3-1 loss to Minnesota at Gila River Arena. "I don't know if that is the only reason but that is one of them. There is still a lot of me that wants to play. I enjoyed tonight though."

Video: Shane Doan discusses his future after finale

Doan, as he does after every home finale, thanked the fans at the arena for their support over the P.A. system. He did not make any dramatic announcement about his future, as some suspected he might.

"Two weeks ago, there was no way I was retiring," Doan told reporters during a lengthy post-game press conference. "Five days ago, I definitely was. Two days ago, I definitely wasn't ... I love the game. I love to play, and I want to keep playing. But I've also got to understand sometimes things move on, and it's sometimes better to leave when people think you can still play. Other times, it's better to play until they drag (your jersey) off your back. I go back and forth on that."

Doan broke into the NHL in 1995-96, the franchise's final season in Winnipeg before its move to Arizona. Only 13 NHL players have played more games than he has.

"If it is the end, it's a pretty impressive career to play for one organization for that long," goalie Mike Smith said. "It's tough to do these days and it just shows the type of person he is."

Doan's wife and four children attended the game. So did his parents, his sister, his brother and other family members. Many of the 17,089 fans in attendance brought signs to the game with messages of gratitude for his service. 

"I wish we won," said Doan, who took three shots on goal and delivered four hits. "But it was one of those nights where you can get caught up sometimes in the emotion of it."

Doan cradled the puck on his stick and flicked it deep into the Minnesota zone as the final horn sounded. He didn't retrieve what could become a valuable souvenir.

"I had the puck," Doan said. "I probably should have held on to that one. We lost so I didn't want to have it."

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