Shane Doan

‘Healthy and stable,’ Doan leading Phoenix’s offensive charge

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The Phoenix Coyotes are the NHL’s fourth highest-scoring team this year (3.22 goals per game), and they have their grizzled veteran leader to thank.

Shane Doan, the club’s 37-year-old captain, is putting up some of the finest offensive numbers of his career, posting 19 points through 22 games while leading the ‘Yotes in goals, with 11 — putting him on pace for what would be a career-best total of 41.

It’s a pretty big development for a guy that’s never scored more than 31 but, the way head coach Dave Tippett sees it, these results aren’t totally surprising.

“He’s come to the rink every day with a smile on his face,” Tippett said on Monday, as per the Coyotes’ website. “I think ‘healthy’ and ‘stable’ are two good words to describe [Doan].”

Doan admitted the ’13 campaign was extremely difficult, as he played all 48 games despite two sports hernias. The pain and discomfort saw him score just 13 goals and 27 points as Phoenix missed the playoffs for the first time in three years.

“Last season was a tough one where you felt like you were chasing it the whole year,” Doan told the Arizona Republic. “You can’t be as physical. You have no jump, and it hurts to get up.

“It hurts to move.”

Now healthy — he underwent offseason surgery using a new repair procedure — Doan is at the forefront of the NHL’s most balanced offensive attacks. He sits tied on points with Martin Hanzal (19) but is being chased by the likes of Radim Vrbata (18 points), Mike Ribeiro (17) and the club’s high-scoring defensemen, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle (17 each).

According to Tippett, though, it’s Doan that stirs the drink.

“Shane’s the one guy that, consistently game after game, goes out and creates chances for us,” Tippett explained. “He’s hard in front of the net, and five-on-five and on the power play he’s led our team in chances for.

“It doesn’t matter where you put him, he gets the job done.”

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

Mike Richards

When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”