may lead the Phoenix Coyotes
in scoring, but if he doesn't put up another point and the team keeps winning -- well, he won't be happy, but he'll deal with it.
That's because after a seven-year absence, the Coyotes' captain is just happy to be back in the postseason.
Doan leads the Coyotes with 53 points, but he has just 1 point in his last seven games, and hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 31, a span of 23 games. Not scoring is a foreign concept for a player ranked among the franchise's all-time leaders in goals (third, 275), assists (fourth, 401) and points (third, 676).
"It's been incredibly frustrating not to have scored, yet incredibly nice to know that we continue to win and we're continuing to be successful," Doan said. "And Tipp (coach Dave Tippett
) has continued to stress to me not to worry about it. But I can do other things and help out in other ways."
To that effect, he's a plus-4 since scoring his last goal, and he's taken just two minor penalties while leading the team's forwards in ice time at 19:11 per game.
Rather than worry, Doan is focused on the real season, which starts next week. And with the team winning, he's even able to smile about his offensive slump.
"I think we're to the point we're joking about it now," Doan said. "There is not a lot else you can do. I mean ... it's as frustrated as I've ever been with scoring goals. I've never had anything like this. But we'll just keep on working. I can do a lot of other things. I've got to make sure I don't let that focus take away from anything else I can do.
"We all start over at zero here in three games. I've got to make sure I'm ready for that."
Besides figuring things out on the ice, he'll also be tasked with explaining what the Stanley Cup Playoffs are like to a team filled with players who never have been through the postseason crucible. He's the only player left from the 2002 team that lost to San Jose in the first round. Only six players from the current Coyotes roster were even in the NHL in 2002, and goalies Ilya Bryzgalov
and Jason LaBarbera
had played just one game each.
Besides the uptick in physical play and emotion, Doan said what he remembers from his last playoff experience was how quickly momentum can change.
"We went into San Jose and beat them in Game 2, and they came back here and beat us in Game 3," Doan said. "We were so high after Game 2 and how quickly things can change if you let them get away from you."
"I think we're to the point we're joking about it now. There is not a lot else you can do. I mean ... it's as frustrated as I've ever been with scoring goals. I've never had anything like this."
-- Shane Doan
Doan said his team -- young and old, experienced and newbies -- will be well-prepared when the postseason starts.
"I think one of the things we look at as a group is we're definitely not happy with just making the playoffs," Doan said. "We think we've got a team that's capable of being a very hard out. And as a group, I think this whole year has been preparing us ... it's been moments throughout the year where things could have went the other way, and guys have always responded. And we're kind of taking the same type of approach to the playoffs.
"We're just going to play it one game at a time and not try to get too far ahead of ourselves and worried about anything that's going on around us. That is probably the best preparation that we've had for going into it."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com