GLENDALE, Ariz. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett keeps his line combinations written on a grease board in magic marker. All of the players' names were written in black this week at the teams informal skates, signifying their permanence.
All except one. Shane Doan was written in red, and man, was that color choice appropriate. Had the Phoenix Coyotes lost their captain and the unquestioned face of the franchise in free agency, it would have set off a five-alarm fire within this organization and within the Valley hockey community.
"There weren't any contingency plans, Tippett said. If you lose a guy like that, it makes a big impact."
Fortunately for the Coyotes, the first of three big dominoes fell in their favor on Friday when Doan agreed to a four-year, 21.5 million deal with a 2 million signing bonus that will keep him in Phoenix through the 2015-2016 season.
"I dragged this thing on as long as I possibly could, Doan said to a chorus of laughter during his...