Doan’s slow start: A repeat of past years or end of the line?
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Shane Doan knows the focus this season is on the growth and consistency of the Coyotes’ youth movement. That’s not where his focus lies.
“I’m more frustrated with myself than I am with the team,” he said. “I think I can be a lot better. I think we’ve lost four games by a goal and I haven’t really done much. I have not even been close. I’ve been terrible.”
One season after leading the team with 28 goals, Doan has one goal, three assists and he is minus-4 through 13 games. He had a tough-luck turnover in the neutral zone on Winnipeg’s first goal on Thursday when the puck hit the linesman on his attempt to chip it up the boards to Christian Dvorak.
The question on everyone’s mind: Is this just another slow start in a career that has seen many, or is age finally impacting Doan’s ability to play in the NHL?
“Not in my mind, it doesn’t,” he said. “That really hasn’t been something that I’ve even thought too much about. I’m more than capable of being better than I’ve been.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett agreed.
“He’s probably a little like our whole group: up and down a little bit,” Tippett said. “He just has high expectations for himself.
“I remember last November he was struggling a little bit and then he scored 28 goals. Some guys just have that make-up where they need to get up and going and it takes a little while.”
The Coyotes knew what kind of player Doan was when they gave him a one-year deal this summer with a base salary of $2.5 million that includes a deferred signing bonus and deferred incentives that could bring it just under $5 million. He has never been the fastest guy on the ice, but at age 40 he is even less so.
While the fear may be that Doan is set for a precipitous slide from last season’s production, the Coyotes knew he had an unusually high shooting percentage (16.5) and a drop-off might be coming. They also knew how much else he brought to the table as a leader and ambassador for the team.
Doan knew that he would have to take a lesser role this season as the Coyotes groomed younger players for their future. He is averaging 15:43 of ice time compared to 17:36 last year. That doesn’t sit well with the captain, but he knows change is in his hands.
“You never want to feel entitled to anything,” he said. “It’s hard to make sure that you keep that in check you have to keep that in check. If you’re good, you make it so that you can be given that opportunity and if you’re not good you don’t get given those opportunities.”
Whether Doan earns a larger role or not, Tippett believes the slow start will be forgotten.
“He’s chugging along,” Tippett chuckled. “I thought he played very well in Colorado (Tuesday). He’ll get going up and going here soon.”
Bruins at Coyotes
When: 6 p.m., Saturday
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Records: Coyotes 5-8. Bruins 8-6.
Injury report: Coyotes — G Mike Smith (left knee) is on injured reserve and is week to week. D Michael Stone (upper body) and C Martin Hanzal (lower body) are on IR and are day-to-day. Stone is likely to play. Hanzal left the ice early on Friday and won’t play. Bruins — F Noel Acciari (lower body), F Frank Vatrano (foot) and D Kevan Miller (hand) are out. G Anton Khudobin (upper body) is travelling with the team.
Scouting the Bruins: F Brad Marchand leads the team with 15 points (five goals). F David Pastrnak has a team-high nine goals. G Tuuka Rask has regained his form with an 8-1 record, a 1.76 GAA and a .938 save percentage. The Bruins biggest offseason addition was former Blues captain David Backes. Boston recalled forward Sean Kuraly from Providence on Friday to replace Acciari in the lineup.
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