Doan signs five-year deal with Coyotes
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If team captain Shane Doan serves out his new five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, he could be one of the few professional athletes to spend his entire career in the same organization.
It's a franchise, though, with scant success throughout his 12 years with the team.
After peppering team officials with questions at a long dinner Monday, Doan said he came away satisfied that the Coyotes were making the right moves and that the last prime years of his career won't be wasted in a losing cause.
"I guess it's a little bit of trust because I would have left if I didn't think it was possible, I didn't think it was capable of turning it round and going in the right direction," he said Thursday at a news conference announcing his new contract.
"I truly want to win, and I want to win sooner rather than later," Doan said, "because I know how short the window is and how quickly it's closing for me personally."
The 30-year-old right winger from Halkirk, Alberta, was the first-round pick of the then-Winnipeg Jets -- the seventh choice overall -- in the 1995 NHL entry draft. He ranks third in games played in franchise history (775), fifth in goals (191), second in game-winning goals (33), fifth in power-play goals (55) and sixth in assists (261).
Since his rookie season, the franchise has made it to the playoffs six times, most recently in 2002, but has never advanced past the first round.
Coach Wayne Gretzky said that "10 or 15" teams would have tried to acquire Doan if he had decided to leave, most of them NHL contenders. But Doan said it would mean more to him to succeed with the Coyotes.
"This is my home and I want to win here," he said. "I really don't want to go somewhere else and just be a player that's brought in to win. Here I know I could be a part of something special."
With the Coyotes languishing 15 points out of the West's final playoff berth, Gretzky said the team needs more offensive speed to help Doan succeed.
"We need to get guys who first of all play at as consistent a level as Shane does, work-ethic-wise and effort-wise," Gretzky said. "Defensively, we have a pretty good core back there, especially our young guys. We need to get people up front who are going to help guys like Shane become a better hockey team."
Doan, a member of Canada's 2004 Olympic team and 2003 gold medal world championship squad, is the only player on the Phoenix roster who was with the franchise when it moved from Winnipeg in 1996. His decade in Arizona was a factor in his decision.
"I've got four kids that love it here. My wife loves it here," he said. "I wanted to stay here. I don't want to move. I felt that it was important to know that for the next five years this is their home. They don't know anyplace else."
Gretzky said it's an example of the kind of player Doan is that he wouldn't tell anyone about his back problems early this season because he felt he needed to play through the pain for his team.
Finally, Gretzky sat Doan down and basically ordered him to get his back checked by doctors. Doan was out for several weeks but has returned to play, in Gretzky's words, "the best hockey I've seen him play."
"That just shows you the character of the person he is," Gretzky said. "He takes care of his teammates. He's very protective of his teammates, and more importantly, he's really well respected by his teammates."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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