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Coyotes’ Shane Doan: I don’t regret coming back for this season

Arizona Coyotes right wing Shane Doan skates during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Doan has been a franchise cornerstone since the Coyotes moved from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996, a stabilizing force through the good times and the bad. Auston Matthews grew up watching the Coyotes, went on to become the first Arizonan to be drafted in the NHL and a budding star with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Matthews returned to the desert Friday for his first game as an NHL player in his home state, the same night Doan played his 1,500th NHL game and scored his 400th career goal. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Shane Doan, Coyotes' Captain

The Arizona Coyotes are struggling. Badly.

Including a 3-0 loss in Vancouver to the Canucks Wednesday, they have now dropped eight straight games, and their 27 points are the second-lowest total in the NHL, with them ahead of only the Colorado Avalanche.

For the team’s many younger players, the struggles may be disappointing but a bit easier to handle because brighter days may very well be ahead. But for Shane Doan, who at 40 years old is the elder statesman on the team and closer to the end of his career than the beginning, the team’s struggles could lead to a bit of regret.

After all, Doan chose to re-sign with the Coyotes last offseason on a one-year deal, forgoing a chance to perhaps join a contender for maybe even a little more money.

“I know I can contribute to our team and help our team offensively and in a lot of areas,” he said back in July, when he signed. “The Valley has been incredible to me and it’s become home. To be able to continue to play for the Coyotes is something I didn’t expect and didn’t dream of at 40.”

Doan never gave any indication that he wanted to play anywhere else, and would instead like to finish his career with the very organization he started it with.

That’s noble and welcome, of course, but at the same time, with the Coyotes struggling and Doan himself not having a great season with just 11 points and a -3, it stands to reason he may be feeling a bit of regret over returning.

No one would blame him if he did, but as a guest of Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, prior to the team’s loss to Vancouver, he said that was not the case.

“No, I don’t, I love it,” he said. “I really don’t at all…I love to play; I hate losing and it makes you feel kind of — it can ruin your day if you’re in a position where you keep losing and it makes it tough — but at the same time, I’m still playing in the NHL and I love it.

“Like, that doesn’t take away the joy of playing; I just hate the losing side of it and I hate the side of feeling like you’ve got more to give and not being able to give it, not being able to do your job the way you think you should be able to.”

Last season, Doan had a bit of a renaissance season with 28 goals and 47 points for a Coyotes team that missed the playoffs but was mostly competitive. He understood that his role might be diminished a bit this season as the team’s younger talent began to mature and earn greater roles, but the theory was that would lead to more wins.

It hasn’t and now Doan, who is in his 21st NHL season, is in the unfortunate position of being an older player on a bad team.

Still, even if he knew ahead of time that was going to be the case, the captain said he would have done everything the same.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “I think that I can help. I thought I can help and I think I can help.”

Doan was hopeful the turnaround would begin Wednesday, when he went on to notch two shots on goal and two hits in 13:36 of ice time in the loss.

“As bad as the team is, as bad as we’ve struggled, if I’m better we have a better chance to win, so I’ve got to be better,” he said.

How much a better Doan would really impact the Coyotes is uncertain, and he is aware he is not the only player on the team who is struggling.

“But at the same time, I’m not holding up my end of the bargain so I’m not upset with anybody for that,” he said. “I wish I was being better and I was scoring and contributing more than I am right now.”

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