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.”