The post-series handshake line is a time-honored tradition in hockey, and rightfully so. It demonstrates that while emotions run hot and viciousness occasionally occurs, you respect that your opponent went through the same struggles that you did, and survived to talk about it. Hockey’s a battle – we respect those who don’t quit.

That’s not to say that when the game is over you like every guy on the other team. Hockey, like life in general, has a fairly high asshole-to-nice person ratio. Especially when you’re after the same thing.

But for that brief moment, you’re supposed to bite your tongue, buck up, and say “good series.” It’s not that hard.

When Shane Doan (and Martin Hanzal, but nobody seems to care about that) didn’t offer up niceties and a hug to Dustin Brown after the series, we were all caught a little off-guard. This is one of the league’s classiest players, or so we thought. The problem is, he’s also one of the NHL’s most passionate. So what happened there? There shouldn’t ever be dickishness in the handshake line.

Apparently…Shane Doan agrees?

The Arizona Republic caught up with him, and here’s how it was explained:

Shane Doan feels sheepish, as he should.

But he wants to make something clear:

“I didn’t swear at him. I didn’t say anything rude or disrespectful,” Doan  said of his postgame dust-up with Kings’ captain Dustin Brown. “I just wasn’t as cordial as I should’ve been.”

No kidding.

He added:

“Brownie wanted to explain himself, and at the moment, I wasn’t ready to hear  it,” Doan said. “I said, ‘Not right now. Are you kidding me? Not right now.’  That was my expression. That’s all I’m saying.

“But at the same time, everyone who has ever played in a playoff game has done the handshake line. Am I arrogant enough to think I’m the only player who felt bad? No. And in that situation, I have to be in better control of my emotions.”

For sure.

But the question is, do you believe him? Do you think it was him being the bigger man, and not him just chirping at a guy he was mad at?

The last paragraph offered some good self-reflection, but it’s always tough to know what’s just a good recovery and what genuinely came off worse than it seemed. While Ryan Lambert doesn’t believe him…

…I kinda do.

Despite the fact that they’ve fought in the past, despite the fact that they battled all series, despite the borderline hit on Roszival just before Penner’s OT winner, I think that these are two captains, and Brown genuinely wanted to explain himself. You can hate an opponent and still crave their respect.

If he did want to do that, when else would he get a chance? And Doan was running a whole lot hot, so…the whole thing just makes sense to me. We debated what went down there on the podcast, but we never thought of this possibility.

The handshake line is a time to be civil, and not discuss the times when things weren’t. I think Doan knows that, wasn’t ready to get into, and ended the chat quickly. I believe him.