The fears of Valley hockey fans were quelled Monday night when our own Craig Morgan reported that the Arizona Coyotes and Shane Doan had agreed to terms on a one-year contract.
At the age of 39, Doan is coming off a season in which he led an improved offensive club in goals scored with 28, so this signing was more than a sentimental maneuver to ensure that the captain ends his career in a city he’s called home for 20 years. The guy can still play.
North of the border, the deal was met with a little less enthusiasm — at least from one member of the Canadian media.
Dean Blundell, a host on Sportsnet 590 The Fan, talked about the signing Tuesday morning.
“I just read a couple of minutes ago that Shane Doan has re-upped with the (Arizona) Coyotes. I don’t really care whatsoever. But this was running through my mind when I read it this morning prior to going on the air. Have you ever in your life seen a guy in any professional sport that likes losing as much as Shane Doan?,” Blundell said. “I don’t know that there’s another man who’s been as good as he’s been in his sport that’s been not just OK with sucking, but looked forward to it, preferred it, took pay cuts to do it and is staying and finishing his career in a place where he knows he can’t win. David West in the NBA, who has gone from the Spurs’ veteran minimum to the Warriors’ minimum — David West looks like a genius compared to Shane Doan. I don’t get it whatsoever.”
Do our friends north of the border not have a grasp on the concept of loyalty?
“This is why they’ve sucked as long as they’ve sucked,” Blundell continued. “They’ve got a guy who loves sucking. He looks forward to it — every season. I read this the other day. Shane Doan said ‘I’m not going anywhere.” And I said ‘no kidding, because you love to suck and that’s the center of the suck universe when it comes to the NHL.’
“He has no clue. He has no desire to win. I have never in my life seen anything like it.”
In this sports landscape where “chasing a ring” is more and more accepted (David West a genius? How’d that work out last season?), Doan is a throwback to a time when representing a city and a fan base meant something. Through all the ownership tumult and relocation rumors of the last eight years, one thing has remained constant. Shane Doan.
He’s repeatedly shunned flirtation from other organizations with better chances to win a Stanley Cup than the Coyotes. That doesn’t mean he enjoys losing. It means he’s not willing to take the easier path to winning. It means he wants to see some completion to what he’s been a part of for two decades.
Chances are, this is the last hurrah for Doan. He admitted to our own John Gambadoro that, at one point, he was almost certainly retiring at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. And despite the improvement the Coyotes have shown in the last year and the collection of young, talented players they’ve acquired, Arizona is not likely to hoist the Cup next summer. Doan has undoubtedly considered this and has prioritized loyalty over ring chasing.
This thinking that a career is only validated by winning a championship has reached laughable levels. Blundell is suggesting that a two-decade career of being a rock-solid member of an organization and community means nothing without winning a championship. I couldn’t disagree more.
Canadian media members taking shots at the Coyotes is nothing new. They’ve been looking longingly at the Coyotes to relocate since then-owner Jerry Moyes entered the team into bankruptcy in 2008. You can’t blame them, really. Adding another team to the stable of Canadian NHL franchises would only increase the country’s chances of winning a Stanley Cup — something that hasn’t happened in 23 years, by the way.
And let’s face it, if Shane Doan truly enjoyed losing, like Mr. Blundell suggests, he could have very easily gone to Toronto.
Hear Dean Blundell’s rant on Doan below: