GLENDALE -- Captain Shane Doan will not re-join the Coyotes as they play out the last two games of a four game trip vs. Eastern Conference teams over the next four days.
“Shane is receiving antibiotics for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever symptoms and he’s showing improvement,” General Manager Don Maloney said Friday.
RMSF is a tick-borne bacterial disease that affects the cells in the lining of blood vessels. Doan may have been bit by a tick while riding a horse over the Thanksgiving holiday, Maloney said.
“Shane’s actually begun light workouts in Glendale but his status, as of today, is ‘week to week’ versus ‘day to day,’” Maloney said. “Everybody responds differently to medications so there’s still some uncertainty. The good news is he’s progressing and we’ll continue to monitor his progress.”
Maloney said Doan, who skated lightly at Jobing.com Arena on Friday, is disappointed that he’s not with the team on this critical trip, which continues with a matinee vs. Ottawa on Saturday and ends Monday at Buffalo.
“He’s disappointed but he’s in good spirits,” Maloney said. “The good thing is he’s feeling better every day. If he was stuck in neutral that’s different, but he isn’t. He’s getting more energy each day and becoming more active. Hopefully that trend continues.”
Doan, who leads the team with 12 goals, last played Dec. 4. The Coyotes have posted a 2-2-2 record without him.
“We miss him on and off the ice,” Maloney said. “He’s still our leading goal scorer and we’ve scored only three goals in the last three games. So, there you go. With Shane, he can play the inside heavy game, and what I’ve found lately is that the majority of chances we’re getting are from the outside. To me that’s where we miss him more than anything on the ice.
“Off the ice, he keeps people honest and focused on the job at hand and prevents our players from getting too far ahead of themselves. We really miss his presence in these tight games where we need somebody beside the coach telling people that we’ve got a period here to win a game or tie a game. So, the sooner we get him back the better.”
Meanwhile, Maloney confirmed that defenseman Zbynek Michalek reinjured his lower-body injury from earlier this season in Tuesday’s game at Montreal.
“We’re still in a stage of evaluating the severity of his injury so the length of his absence is undetermined,” Maloney said.
On the plus side, Maloney said forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has been sidelined since Nov. 16 because of an upper-body injury, could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday.
“Like Shane, we’re really missing ‘Korpi’ in these tight games,” Maloney said. “He touches many areas of the game so it will be good to get him back. Hopefully he gets in the game tomorrow, stays healthy and helps us. We can certainly use the help.”