Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/14/11
Forgive Shane Doan if he experiences a moment of uncertainty Saturday night. The Coyotes open the home portion of their schedule against the Winnipeg Jets, Doans former and current franchise -- if that makes any sense. Its really weird considering Ive never been traded and Ive never turned down a contract but Im going to be playing against my old team, Doan said. Its pretty confusing. It kind of makes your head spin. Thats nothing new for the Coyotes captain given the ongoing ownership uncertainty of his current club. But there is one thing on which Doan has complete clarity: He wants to remain a Coyote for life. And there is no P.R. spin to be found in that statement. I think my track record speaks for itself, Doan said. I love it here. The organization and the city have been great to me. Ive never wanted to play anywhere else. Doan is entering the final year of his contract, one that will pay him 4.55 million this year. He was drafted by Winnipeg with the seventh overall pick in the 1995 NHL Draft, moved with the team to Phoenix in 1996 and is the only Coyote who has played all 15 seasons with the club in the Valley. But Doans value to the organization runs far deeper than simple longevity. Once the Coyotes traded Keith Tkachuk to St Louis and allowed Jeremy Roenick to walk away as a free agent, Doan became the face of the franchise. He makes countless community appearances, his face has graced billboards, he was the Coyotes representative at the NHLs annual preseason media tour in New York this September, and hes the rare athlete whom the media can call a family man without winking or crossing their fingers behind their backs. Hes everything we want our team to be, general manager Don Maloney said. Aside from the fact that hes one heck of a hockey player, Shane is a great teammate and a good man. Doan and the Coyotes have agreed to table discussions about a new contract until the Coyotes ownership saga has been resolved -- assuming its resolved before his contract runs out. But Maloney has the same goal in mind as his rugged winger. I fully expect to sign him to be a Coyote for the rest of his career, Maloney said. Contract numbers are usually the main sticking point in negotiations, but with Doan, thats hard to envision given his humble approach. Im getting up there in years, so they have to decide if Im the kind of person they want going forward, he said. Thats a no-brainer for Maloney. I think he could play four or five more years, he said. The thing about Shane is his versatility. He doesnt have to be your top scorer or play on your top line to be effective. He could be a third-line, forechecking, 30-to-40-point guy and still play at a high level. Doan is fine with that idea, but there is a caveat that fans should keep in mind. If the Coyotes move to another city, if the ownership saga drags on or if the team is not in contention for a Stanley Cup later this season, Doan hasnt -- he cant -- close the book on other possibilities. Im not blind to something like that -- the ramifications of the team moving or ownership being in limbo for another year, he said. But I really hope were competing for a Cup right here. Doan has never played for a Stanley Cup. Hes never even won a playoff series. Before last season, he joked that he just wanted to experience the feeling of getting eliminated in the second round. Nobody wants to see Doan go. Not his teammates, coaches or management. Not the fans and, truth be told, not the media. Hes one of those all-around good guys to whom people gravitate. Its pretty simple, said Coyotes goalie coach Sean Burke, Doans teammate in Phoenix from 1999-2004. Hes a quality guy who comes to work every day and always goes the extra mile. It was pretty easy for him to become a leader, because hes always been there for his teammates anyway and hes the type of guy that always leads by example. But if the opportunity arises -- if the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Flyers or Bruins come calling at the trade deadline -- nobody should begrudge Doan if he reaches for one last chance to sip from hockeys Holy Grail. Every athlete deserves that chance, but certain players put more effort into an organization over a long period of time, Burke said. Those are the guys where you really want to see that hard work translate into success like a Stanley Cup. "Youd have to respect whatever decision Shane makes, because nobody deserves it more than him.
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