GLENDALE – Coyotes captain Shane Doan continued to practice with teammates on Thursday, but his status for Friday’s home game vs. Minnesota is unclear.
Doan has missed the past eight games because of a nagging lower-body injury. After Thursday’s practice, Head Coach Dave Tippett said Doan’s condition would be re-evaluated after Friday’s morning skate and then a decision would be made on his status for the game.
Doan, who last played on Nov. 21, told reporters he cannot believe he has been sidelined so long.
“It hasn’t gotten worse,” Doan said after being asked why his return has been delayed. “I am shocked right now that it’s been this long and really disappointed ... At the beginning we said ‘day to day.’ That’s probably the most frustrating part.”
The Coyotes have posted a 3-5-0 record without Doan in the lineup, including five straight losses.
Near the end of Thursday’s practice, Doan spoke to his teammates at center ice with the coaching staff away from the group.
Asked to explain the gist of his message, Doan said he encouraged all players to dig deeper.
“In order for the team to be better, you personally have to be better,” Doan said. “There’s an element to that that is personal accountability to yourself. Don’t take the easy way out and say ‘we’re not playing well.’ As much as it’s we, it’s you ... Individually you have to look in the mirror and recognize that you have to be better. To say that ‘we’ haven’t been good is sometimes an easy way out.”
Doan hasn’t missed this much action since he sat out 13 games because of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2013-14. He said this situation, while frustrating, is nothing like that one.
“That was different,” Doan said. “I wasn’t even thinking about hockey. I wasn’t around.”
Arizona plays home games on Friday and Saturday this week and that may cause the team to opt on the side of caution and keep Doan on the shelf until the home game on Dec. 17 vs. Columbus.
“If he’s ready to play he’ll play,” Tippett said. “If he’s not up to the speed we think he can get to then why would we risk it?”
He added, “I think he’s certainly struggling with the fact that he’s been hurt and he can’t have the impact on the ice,” Tippett said. “He sees what’s going on.”
Doan is nearing a major milestone. He has scored 374 goals as a member of the Coyotes. That’s five short of tying Dale Hawerchuk for most goals scored in the history of the Coyotes/Jets franchise.