A defiant Shane Doan spoke with Fox Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh today in advance of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, asserting that the Coyotes — down 2-0 after a pair of home losses — were far from finished.
“Everyone’s picking LA to go on now with the situation that we’re in. That’s fine by us,” Doan said. “The experts have not picked us for a long time and continue to pick against us.
“The last three years we’ve found ways to prove them wrong — we’ll be worried when they start picking us.”
Walsh followed with this:
Doan also spoke emotionally about being ejected from Game 2 and having to watch the Coyotes lose 4-0 in front of the Phoenix faithful.
“It was pretty hard, very difficult — one of those things that didn’t seem real,” he explained. “It was so frustrating, but there was nothing to do about it after it happened, just kind of hold onto that and contain it for the next game.”
For the first time in this playoff run, Doan has come under scrutiny. His hit on Trevor Lewis drew negative reviews from a number of pundits and, as the Coyotes’ captain, he’s shouldering the weight of an 0-2 series deficit and a team that lost its composure badly in Game 2.
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett says Doan needs to rally the troops tonight, and believes he’s up to the task.
“We expect him to be better,” Tippett said of Doan. Tippett later added, “He’s our leader. He wants to come back and have a strong game.
“I expect him to come in and have his best game of series.”
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.