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Teammates Sad to See Hanzal Depart

Martin Hanzal is leaving many friends behind in Arizona

by Jerry Brown @FrozenRubber / Correspondent

GLENDALE -- For the past 10 years, Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal have been friends, teammates, admirers of each other on the ice and the scourge of card games on the Coyotes team plane.

A decade of good times on and off the ice ended just before Arizona's game with the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Hanzal was traded along with Ryan White to the Minnesota Wild for three draft picks to help the rebuilding Coyotes.

Before he left Sunday, Hanzal said his toughest goodbye was with Doan, with whom he has played all of his 608 NHL games. Doan nearly choked up during a first intermission television interview when asked about the trade. Arizona's come-from-behind 3-2 win against the Sabres didn't make things much easier.

"I don't know how many times I've said he was our most important forward," Doan said. "For 10 years, being able to play with him and see everything he does … I sure appreciated it.

"You can search a long time before you can find a 6-foot-6 centerman that's kind of mean and effective on both ends of the ice and makes your power play better and is probably your best penalty killer. You don't find those guys too often, and when you do you try to hold on to them.

"I'm very disappointed in the fact he's not with us anymore. I have no control over it as a player so you just have to deal with it."

Video: Shane Doan discusses Hanzal trade, Sunday's win

Radim Vrbata scored the game-winning goal on his 600th NHL point in the final minute, but when the questions turned to his close friend and Czech Republic countryman he took several seconds and attempts to formulate his thoughts.

"You know it's going to happen, but when it happens … it's not a shock, but it hits you even though you know it's coming," he said. "We kind of started here together (in Arizona) and it's been 10 years. He was a rookie back then. Now I have seen him grow into the player he is today, into the leader he was for this team. He was so important to this team every single season.

"It's tough to lose him as a friend and a linemate for me. He made my life a lot easier and I'm going to miss him."

Doan and Vrbata have been mentioned in trade talks as well. Doan would have to lift a 'no-move' clause in his contract.

"Obviously nothing's really changed for me," Doan said. "I've said all along that it wouldn't change depending on what they did with Marty. It will probably be the same-old, same-old."

Vrbata, with team-best 46 points, doesn't have same protection.

"There are a couple of days left. I haven't heard anything so far, so we'll see how that plays out," he said. "I said all along, if this is the last season I would like to finish it here. That's why I signed here. But you never know. We'll see."

Video: Radim Vrbata discusses Hanzal trade, Sunday's win


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