|The Red Wings know what they're up against when Shane Doan leads his Coyotes into Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. |
– Shane Doan exemplifies all of the necessary qualities in a team leader.
Doan has delivered for the Phoenix Coyotes since the franchise was in Winnipeg 14 years ago. And again, the veteran forward led the Coyotes on scoring compiling his 10th career 20-goal season coupled with 40 assists.
He has also been a loyal standout to the franchise that drafted him away from the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League in 1995.
“Yeah he’s a great leader, a great guy you feed off of. He’s an emotional and physical guy,” Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler said. “There’s no one else we’d rather go to battle with, especially with him being our captain. He’s a great guy to be around and lots of fun to play with.”
Doan, 34, was having an impressive opening playoff series against Detroit last spring. He was physically punishing and an offensive presence with two points in three games, but a Grade 3 shoulder separation cut short his playoffs to just three games, a series Detroit eventually won in seven games.
“I think it’s something that was a little disappointing for sure and at the same time it’s a little ironic,” he said. “Looking forward to go back and try it again. For myself I have to be physical, I have to be physical on everybody and if that creates turnovers good, because that’s a huge part of our game.”
Does Phoenix coach Dave Tippett see this series as a chance at redemption of sorts for Doan?
“No, it’s just the playoffs,” Tippett said. “Before last year he went eight seasons I think without playing a playoff game and it didn’t matter who we were going to play, he wanted to play hard. It happened to be Detroit and he had a freak injury half way through the series and he couldn’t finish the series.
“So he’s excited to be back in the playoffs, that goes with out saying, he’s no different than any other player on our team. I think the history he has with our organization and missing the playoffs for so many years really fuels his fire right now.”
Doan’s teammates saw what losing their leader did, especially in a series that they were ahead in the series, 2-1.
“He’s huge to our team and in the locker room and on the ice,” all-star defenseman Keith Yandle said. “He’s a great player and works harder than anybody.”
One thing is for sure, the Red Wings know what they will be getting when the puck drops on Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
“We expect him to play the same physical style,” said Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
, referring to Doan. “That’s the way he plays during the regular-season as well. He’s going to try and use his size to his advantage. It’s something we know going into this series.”