Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/7/13

DALLAS - JANUARY 31: (L-R) Sami Lepisto #18, Shane Doan #19 and Keith Yandle #3 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrate a goal against the Dallas Stars in the third period at American Airlines Center on January 31, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. With reporters and cameramen crowded around him in a tight hallway Monday at the Ice Den, the Coyotes' practice facility, Shane Doan was asked just how contentious labor negotiations got between the NHL and the NHL Players Association over the past few months. "It was actually just a great big kumbaya," Doan said with that familiar, innocent grin. Everyone was happy. With that, it was tempting to believe that normalcy had returned to the Valleys favorite hockey team. Doan was cracking jokes, Mike Smiths hair was still a talking point and Boyd Gordon was putting himself in harms way on the ice, colliding with Kyle Chipchura and getting his bell rung. But this will be anything but an ordinary hockey season -- and thats saying something when youre talking about the ownership-starved Coyotes. With just one week of training camp and just 48 games to decide who goes to the playoffs and who goes home, there is a sense of urgency already present before the coaches, players and management team are even allowed to gather in the same space. From a fans perspective, it will be exciting because everything means something, general manager Don Maloney said. It may not be playoff hockey, but its not far off. The challenges are myriad with so little time to prepare. The coaches must install their systems in a week. The players must get in game shape and build chemistry with their teammates. The management team must decide if any personnel moves can andor should be made. In one sense, the Coyotes may be in better shape than many teams because a lot of their players have been skating together throughout this protracted lockout. Skates here were pretty competitive, reacquired defenseman Zbynek Michalek said. When you talk to guys from different teams, different cities, they only have a few guys skating (together). Here we had 10 or more guys all the time. You get to bond with the guys, get together, go for lunch, skate together, play golf -- thats very important. Plus the core of our team is the same, Maloney added. We still have the majority of that group that went to the conference finals, so its not like we have to integrate a whole lot of new faces. Maloney said Monday that training camp will be a bare-bones affair, with no junior players and few minor leaguers who dont have an obvious chance to make the roster in attendance. Early in most seasons, you might try some things, experiment a little with the lineup, he said. But now, you cant dip your toe in the water. You have to be ready to go. A bad start can seal your fate in such a short season. That doesnt preclude a deal or two, Maloney said, noting vaguely that there are a couple things hed like to do if the opportunity arises and makes sense. Anybody who follows this team knows it is deep on defense and has an All-Star-caliber goaltender in Smith, so forward help -- specifically scoring help -- would be the obvious thing to look for. But there is much work to be done in other areas, too, including some off the ice. Some analysts have warned of a fan backlash that could lead to lower attendance figures, but the Coyotes may be helped by the fact that the Cardinals just wrapped up a 5-11 season and the Suns are hovering anywhere between a high and mid-level lottery pick. The Coyotes are the best team in town -- a club fresh off a Pacific Division title and berth in the Western Conference final -- so they have an obvious advantage, even if they arent taking it for granted when speaking to their fan base. Were going to do everything we can to earn back their appreciation of the sport, Doan said. Theres no use saying whose fault (it is) or who did what. I think we all owe them an apology. As for fears that this long layoff hurt whatever momentum the Coyotes had built from a long-awaited playoff run, Doan was realistic in assessing the road ahead. Weve got to try to get that momentum back as an organization, he said. Raising a (Pacific Division) banner -- hopefully that helps. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance


Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker