Doan’s uncertain future won’t stop some fans from honoring him

Mar 29, 2017, 10:16 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

Arizona Coyotes right wing Shane Doan acknowledges the crowd during a ceremony honoring Doan for hi...

Arizona Coyotes right wing Shane Doan acknowledges the crowd during a ceremony honoring Doan for his 400th NHL goal and his 1500th NHL game played prior to an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shane Doan has left Coyotes fans in limbo. The team will play its final four home games of the season over the next 11 days. They could also represent the final four home games of Doan’s 20-season career in the Valley, and 21-season run with the franchise. Nobody knows for certain.

It’s no one’s fault. Doan hasn’t decided yet if he’ll retire, and that decision is entirely up to him and his family.

“I want be sure,” he said before the Coyotes’ recent five-game road trip. “I don’t want to make a decision and then get to a point in the summer where my body feels good and I’m feeling like I could still contribute.”

That’s Doan’s right. He doesn’t owe anybody a heads up, but it has put fans in a frustrating state of uncertainty. Should they honor the longtime captain or should they hold off?

“I really wish he would offer some direction because we all love the guy and appreciate him and would like a chance to show him,” said Cave Creek resident and eight-year season ticket holder, George Fallar. “Without that, our problem is we could appear to be rushing 19 into a retirement that he isn’t ready to embark upon.”

Doan’s lower-body injury has complicated matters even more. He has missed the last six games and remains day-to-day, stoking fears that he will appear on home ice for even fewer games, or none at all.

“It’s frustrating and that comes from a place of love and respect,” said Gilbert resident Katrina DeVinny. “If this is it, we as fans want to cherish every minute. This subject tugs at the heartstrings and the uncertainty does make it worse.

“I wholeheartedly want to see the fans be able to honor Shane. I am not sure that these last four games are the appropriate time though. I feel we should wait until a final decision from him is made, then plan something.”

Despite Fallar’s and DeVinny’s concerns about rushing Doan into retirement, some fans aren’t going to risk the captain announcing his retirement this summer and then holding a press conference that is not open to the public.

The Coyotes have nothing planned because of Doan’s indecision, but Gilbert resident Matt Smith and Avondale resident Michael Albaugh have concocted a plan. During minute 19 of each period, they will start a chant of “Thank You, Shane Doan” set to the cadence of “Let’s go, Coyotes.”

“I think a lot of us are worried he will just ride off into the sunset and we won’t get to say thank you until they retire his number,” said Smith, a season-ticket holder since the Coyotes arrived in the Valley. “If he comes back, it’s great. If he doesn’t, I just want to say thank you in a way that befits Doan.

“I’m taking each of my boys to one last game to see Doan because he is the biggest reason they are hockey players.  He has grown hockey here, often without fanfare and without stability.”

The duo is spreading the word on social media, but Albaugh hopes the chant won’t be the only form of celebration for a real Valley icon.

“I think seeing a lot of personal signs and pictures in the crowd would be good to pay tribute,” he said. “I want Doan to see and feel the passion that fans have for everything he has done both on and off the ice. He has had such an impact on us, and is so humble. I think it’s the least we can do.”

Blues at Coyotes

When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale

TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Records: Blues — 41-28-6. Coyotes — 27-40-9.

Season series: Blues lead, 2-0

Injury report: Coyotes — RW Shane Doan (lower body) is day-to-day. D Kevin Connauton (upper body) is day-to-day. C Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) is on injured reserve. Blues — LW Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body) is day-to-day and skated Tuesday. C Paul Stastny (lower body) is week-to-week. C Jori Lehtera (upper body) and LW Robby Fabbri (ACL) are out.

Scouting the Blues: St. Louis is 10-1-1 in March, helping it jump within striking distance of Nashville for third place in the Central Division and a chance to avoid Chicago in the first round of the playoffs. … In the 14 games since D Kevin Shattenkirk was traded, the Blues’ power play is 7 for 32 (21.9 percent), slightly better than it was with Shattenkirk (21.7 percent). … F Vladimir Tarasenko leads the team with 35 goals and 68 points. … G Jake Allen is 8-1-1 with a .951 save percentage in 10 March games.

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Doan’s uncertain future won’t stop some fans from honoring him