In the time I’ve lived in Phoenix – almost three years to the day – the Phoenix Coyotes have been what’s technically known as a clusterfuck. They’ve been owned by the NHL, they’ve been rumoured to be relocating, and they’ve been on the wrong end of a lot of jokes, not to mention vitirol from some Canadians salivating at the prospect of bringing another NHL team north of the border.
Sure, the on-ice product has been better the past few years which has been a pleasant change from when I moved here and wrote this for the Arizona Republic (in short, attendance sucks cause the team always has), but it would be one gigantic leap by mankind to claim the Coyotes are Cup contenders next season. (Yes, I’m aware they made the Conference Final last season.)
So Shane Doan…what the hell is he thinking, waiting for this ownership situation to play out in Arizona?
The long-time Coyotes’ captain has proven his loyalty. From Winnipeg in 1995 to the upcoming 2012-2013 NHL season, he’s stuck with a team that has never been a particularly huge threat, at one point missing playoffs six consecutive years during his prime. He’s amassed nearly 1200 games and 800 points, he’s been through one franchise relocation, and still never seen the Stanley Cup Final.
He’s given all he has without getting much in return, aside from the undying love of the fans. That’s no small thing, of course, but there comes a time where you have to, as rappers say, do you.
Guys like Doan are excused from cries of traitor when they leave – take a look at Ray Bourque, a man I’m sure has no regrets about leaving his first and only team. A fresh start wouldn’t be guaranteed to play out like Bourque’s story, but Doan should at least give himself the best possible chance for it to happen.
Even recently, another loyal-to-a-fault guy, Steve Nash, said “to hell with this, I’m going to go play for the Suns’ most hated rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, because I think I’ve earned the right to give myself a legit chance at the Larry O’Brien Trophy.” And like Doan, he has.
It’s so bizarre to me that a guy as fiercely competitive as Doan wouldn’t be salivating at the thought of playing alongside some of the best players in the League after years of skating alongside second and third liners. I’m not trying to tear down the Coyotes current roster, just saying it’s been 16 seasons of playing with mediocrity for the majority of the time.
Today Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal wrote an article that explained the situation Doan is waiting to play out before signing anywhere: potential new owner Greg Jamison might not have enough money to buy the team. And if he can scrape together the funds, he’s going to need more money for operating costs, like say, keeping the ice frozen and people paid. Basically, if things go well, the guy is buying a car but can’t afford gas or insurance.
Isn’t he sick of playing for an owner like that? I could see Doan going to another team and thinking “Gol-lee, free sticks and everything!”
Shane, you’re a Canadian – go be loyal to the country and play in your backyard. You want a Cup shot, go to the defending champs. You want to play with the biggest superstar in the league, join Crosby in Pittsburgh. Whatever you choose, just go.
While I admire the loyalty, he has to see that he has a myriad of options he has that’ll all come without having to take a hometown discount, and do the right thing.
At this point, if he doesn’t choose a new team, I’ll stop feeling bad about the bum luck that’s resigned him to never winning a Cup. They’ll still love him here regardless, so if he really wants it that bad, he should ride off into the sunset like the cowboy he is.