Shane Doan

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Coyotes to retire Doan’s No. 19 before Winnipeg game

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Shane Doan holds numerous franchise records, was the epitome of what a captain should be and led the Arizona Coyotes on their deepest playoff run.

Those accomplishments only tell part of the story of how he became one of the most revered athletes in Arizona history.

Humble to a fault. Deeply connected to the community. Loyal. Generous with his time, whether it was for a cause, casually chatting with a fan or media inquiries following a difficult loss. Always the hardest-working player on the team.

Perhaps more than any of it, a good person.

”I don’t know a better human being on this planet. I really don’t,” said Tyson Nash, Doan’s former teammate and current Coyotes TV analyst. ”He is everything that you want to be and more. I want my kid to be like him. I want to be like him.”

The Coyotes will celebrate Doan’s career by retiring his No. 19 jersey during a pregame ceremony before Sunday’s game against Winnipeg.

The guest list will include NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, multiple former Coyotes teammates, friends and family. The Coyotes and the Jets will wear ”Doan No. 19” on the warmup jerseys prior to the game and fans will receive a Doan bobblehead.

”That’s the part that I’m really excited about: to get to share it with the fans here in Arizona and to have friends and family around for it,” Doan said. ”It’s something that you never, ever dream of and to get to experience it is pretty amazing.”

From Halkirk, Alberta, Doan was the seventh overall pick of the 1995 NHL draft by the Winnipeg Jets and came with the franchise when moved to the desert to become the Phoenix Coyotes.

Doan guided the Coyotes through four years of uncertainty while the franchise was operated by the NHL and led them to the 2012 Western Conference Finals. He earned the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership on and off the ice in 2010, and took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2012.

Doan retired in 2017 as Arizona’s career leader in games (1,540), goals (402), assists (570), points (972), game-winning goals (69) and power-play goals (128).

He spent his entire 21-year career with the organization, spurning chances for a better chances to win the Stanley Cup out of loyalty for the NHL team that drafted him.

”There’s no player in our team history that meant more to this franchise than Shane, and no player our franchise history that has meant more to this community than Shane,” Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen said. ”So it was a pretty easy decision.”

At 6-foot-1, 223 pounds, Doan played with a combination of power and finesse. He also was driven to wring the most from his talent, always the last person off the ice after practice, huffing and puffing while dripping sweat after getting in a few extra laps or tipped shots.

”This is a guy who spent 21 years in the NHL and his last year he was still out there,” Nash said. ”He was always working on the nuances of his game to get better. It was remarkable, but that’s what good pros do, they try to get better every day.”

Nash has known Doan since he was nine when he visited the Doan family’s Christian summer camp for kids at their ranch. The pair met up again eight years later as teammates in the Western Hockey League and were Coyotes together from 2003-06.

Through the years of their friendship, Nash has seen first-hand Doan’s generosity, from taking the extra time to talk with fans after a game or give back to the community.

He’s also seen the competitive side of Doan that raged anytime anything was on the line.

Playing hockey, cards on the team plane, golf, wrestling in the basement, Doan wanted to win no matter what, his eyes widening into a maniacal look that belied his easygoing nature away from competition.

”He’d take out his grandma to win at something,” Nash said. ”The guy just never wanted to lose and if you beat him at something, you better be ready to go 10 rounds or whatever because he was going to get redemption.

The Coyotes have a ring of honor that includes Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Teppo Numminen of the Coyotes, and Bobby Hull, Thomas Steen and Dale Hawerchuk of the original Jets.

Doan, fittingly, will be the first player to have his number retired by the franchise.

”Unexpected, maybe a little uncomfortable,” Doan said. ”At the same time, so excited to have so many people coming, people that are close to me. It’s going to be so much fun.”

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PHT Morning Skate: Columnist argues Berglund’s injury isn’t a big setback for Blues

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Jeff Gordon doesn’t see losing Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery) for at least four months as a big blow to the St. Louis Blues. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

What does the Los Angeles Kings’ decision to sign Christian Ehrhoff tell us about the Slava Voynov situation? (Puck Daddy)

Sidney Crosby is enthusiastic about the prospect of playing with Phil Kessel for a lot of different reasons. (DK Pittsburgh Sports)

Shane Doan is happy with the moves the Arizona Coyotes have made over the summer. (Coyotes.nhl.com)

Pavel Datsyuk’s recovery from his ankle surgery seems to be going well. (MLive.com)

Auston Matthews, who might be taken with the top pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, said that the prospect of playing with older competition and for coach Marc Crawford are two of the big reasons he decided to sign with the ZSC Lions. (Arizona Republic)

Doan isn’t in a rush to retire

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Brace yourself if you’re opposing the Arizona Coyotes: it doesn’t sound like Shane Doan is pondering retirement just yet.

Yes, the hard-hitting captain of the Coyotes does turn 39 in October.

He’s also an “old” 39; Doan has a whopping 1,394 regular season games* and 55 postseason contests under his belt. That’s a lot for any player, especially one who emphasizes such a physical style of play.

While it’s probably worth noting that he’s saying these things during the low-impact month of August, it’s still interesting that Doan told Fox Sports Arizona that he might want to play even after his contract expires after the 2015-16 season.

“I always want to approach it that way until I know I’m done,” Doan said. “I’d like to have a good year. If I feel I can still help the team and they still want me, we can go from there.”

Doan seems fairly happy about Arizona’s off-season, too. He believes that they’re going “back to that old pack mentality” that suited them well a few years ago.

One would assume that signs of progress would make Doan want to play quite a bit longer for the Coyotes … assuming that the feeling is mutual.

* – In case you’re wondering, Doan currently is tied with Stan Mikita at 35th place all-time with 1,394 games played. If he managed to appear in all 82 contests in 2015-16, he’d end that campaign ranked 20th overall.

Poll: Will the Coyotes be the worst team in the NHL next season?

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Arizona GM Don Maloney thinks his Coyotes are “going to be a better team” than the one that finished 29th overall last year.

In fact, he says they’re “entering the season to be a playoff team.”

“I look at our roster and say, ‘OK, we may not have the most pure talent as some of the teams in the West,” Maloney told NHL.com, “but with a great coach and a great game plan and a stable center ice and a better blue line and solid goaltending, we should be able to compete every night, whether it’s the Chicago Blackhawks or the Stanley Cup champions or the bottom of the Western Conference.”

Others look at Arizona’s roster and wonder how anyone can be so optimistic. Shane Doan is 38 now. Sam Gagner and Keith Yandle, their second- and third-leading scorers from last year, are gone. The goaltending remains a big question mark. Besides Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the blue line isn’t overly impressive. Sure, the Coyotes have some excellent prospects in Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Dylan Strome, but their combined NHL experience is practically nil.

At online bookmaker Bovada, the Coyotes are the longest shot on the board to win the Stanley Cup, at 150/1. The Leafs, Sabres, and Hurricanes are next, each at 100/1.

OK, time to vote.

If you don’t think the Coyotes will be the worst team in the NHL, feel free to add your pick below.

Pens’ Letang expects to be ready for training camp

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Since being cleared for workouts earlier this month, Kris Letang says he’s been in his normal offseason routine.

Letang suffered his latest concussion on a hit from Shane Doan on March 28 and missed the final six games of the regular season and all five Penguins’ playoff games.

“I would say since I got fully cleared, I’ve done everything I wanted and I would say I’m at the same level in training that I was a year ago,” Letang told reporters in Las Vegas on Tuesday. “I didn’t go on the ice yet, but I’ve been in the gym going all out and no restrictions and everything went well.

“Without a doubt, I think I’m going to be ready for training camp. No doubt about that.”

The blue liner is a finalist for the Masterton Trophy along with Devan Dubnyk and Andrew Hammond.

Letang set career highs in assists (43) and points (54) while averaging 25:29 a night in ice time in 69 games during the 2014-15 season.

Despite his health issues, he suffered a stroke in February 2014; Letang says he’s not concerned about returning to the game.

“If today I’m working out, it’s because I have no fear of that,” he said. “For sure it’s in the back of my head, but I want to keep going and be a part of the Penguins and play at the level I can play at because I have no fear.”

As for the next step in his offseason workout, Letang says he plans on hitting the ice next month.

“Usually I target around the end of July, beginning of August,” said Letang. “I don’t want to go on the ice too early, but honestly it’s not something I’m looking for… ice is kind of like the same thing as the gym, I think when I reach a certain level in the gym, I know if I’m ready or not.”