-- Shane Doan
has never been traded, never been waived, never turned down a contract offer from the team that drafted him 16 years ago. But Saturday night, he's facing his old team.
The Phoenix Coyotes
, who arrived from Winnipeg in 1996, tonight welcome the new Jets – not the same as the old Jets – in a weird situation when the Jets who came from Atlanta this year face the Coyotes, who still have a few old Jets like Doan, equipment chief Stan Wilson and Director of Public Relations Rich Nairn in the organization now with firmly entrenched lives in the Arizona desert.
Doan, who had seven goals and 17 points in his first and only season in Manitoba, said he was "incredibly glad" to see a team back in Winnipeg. But he's also glad that team didn't come from Arizona, where the ownership situation remains in flux, the team continues to bleed red ink and the future remains uncertain.
was drafted by the Jets in 1995 and moved with them to Phoenix the following year - and tonight, he faces the new incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets
. (Photo: Getty Images)
He is in the final year of his contract, and he and general manager Don Maloney
have agreed to table extension talks aimed at having him finish his career as a Coyote in hopes that one of two interested suitors complete a deal to buy the team from the NHL.
Meanwhile in Winnipeg, there is a packed building, a hue waiting list for tickets and as healthy a hockey situation as you can find in the league with new ownership.
"You look at the emotion, the attachment, the passion … the opportunity (for Winnipeg) to get a team back is special and for them to have that chance is going to be a lot of fun," Doan said. "Our team and our organization is connected to them and that makes it pretty special. They gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL and I will always be grateful for the incredible opportunity to play there."
Doan is also one goal away from 300 in his career after getting three in the first three games, all on the road this season. He capped a 5-2 win in Nashville on Thursday with an empty-netter to give Phoenix a 1-1-1 road trip and spoil the Predators' home opener.
Now the skate is on the other foot. The Coyotes will be dealing with the pomp and circumstance of a home opener and must compose their emotions and channel it into a good start. Phoenix scored three times in the first period against Nashville and never looked back.