A deal to end the NHL lockout was finally reached after an arduous 113 days on Sunday. The league and players' association agreed on a new 10-year deal to end the latest labor stoppage which cost the league 34 games.
A shortened season has now been tentatively set to begin on January 19, and no one is happier to return to the ice than Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan.
Doan, who served as an instrumental part of the players' union during the labor negotiations, told Arizona Sports 620's Doug & Wolf Monday he feels the lockout did indeed leave a negative mark on the NHL.
"As a player you work your whole life and you give up everything you can and sacrifice a lot to become a National Hockey League player and right or wrong you take pride in that when you accomplish that and you are very proud to say ‘I am a member of that' and I believe that during the lockout it's tarnished," Doan said.
"It bothers you that you've worked so hard to achieve something that's being tarnished and I think it's good that it's over and that we can move on and we can forget about it because it eats at you."
The Coyotes' captain said he felt a sense of embarrassment about the length of the lockout but at the same time he truly believed the cause the players' union was fighting for was critically important and he's satisfied with the deal they were able to obtain.
"I believe the pension we got is so instrumental to our union and our group," Doan stated. "So the pension was a major thing we couldn't have gotten three months ago but at the same time I really wish we didn't have to go three months."
Doan said the players are now committed to winning back potentially disgruntled fan bases, who he feels are owed an apology.
"Our goal is to prove that it hasn't [been tarnished] and bring back that pride and bring back that honor that goes along with being a player and I think we will," Doan said.
Doan acknowledged it will be hard for players, like himself, who haven't been in Europe or in the minors getting regular game action to get back into playing shape and use to the daily grind again.
"You might be able to skate ok and you might be able to do everything okay, but the physicality of the game you just can't practice that. You have to have games to do that and it might take a couple of games to get that kind of rust knocked off and back going again," Doan stated.
It may take a few games to get back into the swing of things for Doan and the Coyotes but he is confident the team will still be able to build off the momentum of last season's enthralling playoff run.