Shane Doan isn’t sure how fans will greet him when he and
the Coyotes take the ice inside the MTS Centre on Thursday
night for a game against the “new” Winnipeg Jets. Phoenix
beat the Jets, 4-1, in Glendale earlier this season, but
this game will be the franchise’s first in Winnipeg since
the Manitoba city returned to the NHL this past off-
Doan, of course, played one season for the “old” Winnipeg
Jets, aka the Coyotes, when he was a rookie in 1995-96. He
scored seven goals that season, including his first in the
NHL at the now demolished Winnipeg Arena on Nov. 14 vs.
“I don’t know how I’ll be received,” Doan told me with a
smile. “I’m sure it won’t be overly positive. We’ll just
have to wait and see. They’ve got their team now and
they’re very passionate about their own team so anybody
that comes in there on another team, I don’t think they’re
going to be too excited about.”
Doan had two assists for the Coyotes in a preseason game
against Calgary played at the MTS Centre on Sept. 24,
2008, but Thursday’s game will be his first meaningful
game in Winnipeg since he and the Jets lost to the Detroit
Red Wings, 4-1, in Game 6 of a 1996 Stanley Cup
Doan said once the puck drops on Thursday it will likely
be just another game. But, he said he expects the pre-game
experience today and tomorrow to be somewhat surreal.
“It’s a unique situation in the fact that Winnipeg is the
city that drafted me,” Doan said. “It’s a totally
different organization, but it’s the same city. It will be
fun to play where there’s a connection like that.”
Thursday’s game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona at 6:30
p.m. (Arizona time).
• The NHL is scheduled to announce its Three Stars of the
Month for November on Thursday. I will be shocked – and
disappointed – if Coyotes goalie Mike Smith isn’t one of
Smith posted an 8-2-1 record and stopped 346 of 366 shots
(.945 save percentage) in November. He posted two shutouts
in those 11 games and allowed more than two goals only
twice in the other nine.
• The Coyotes next home game is Saturday vs. Philadelphia.
The first 10,000 fans at the game will receive a Coyotes
Fleece blanket, courtesy of Gila River. Visit
phoenixcoyotes.com for ticket information.