If you, as a hockey fan, find it difficult to imagine Shane Doan actually pulling on another team’s sweater, imagine how his Phoenix Coyotes teammates must feel.
“It would be a very eerie feeling going in there and getting ready for games without Shane Doan coming in the middle of the room,” says Paul “BizNasty” Bissonnette, the most famous fourth-liner in the league. “Without him in the locker room, it would be a big change.”
Ironic, then, that after his most successful season in the desert, Captain Doan, an unrestricted free agent, is fielding offers to go elsewhere. Doan’s agent says at least 16 teams have expressed interest in getting a jolt of leadership (not to mention goals) via Arizona, and a reported six teams not named Coyotes have submitted formal offers.
All this when the on-ice situation in Phoenix, boosted by youth and a breakout performance by netminder Mike Smith, has never been better. The 35-year-old Doan has just helped the only franchise he’s ever known to its deepest playoff run, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the semifinal, and posted his 11th 20-goal season.
Bissonnette says he had “a good conversation” with his captain, who’s still weighing his options, a couple days ago.
“He’s more or less waiting for (clarification) on what’s going on with the ownership in Phoenix, not so much going for more money. He’s a very honest guy, and I know he’s the type of guy who would take a pay cut to remain with the Phoenix Coyotes,” Bissonnette says. “You can see why teams are offering him (contracts), because leadership is hard to come by, especially with guys like Shane Doan.”
Doan can’t quite put his finger on when he knew he had what it takes to lead other players.
“You just gotta be real and genuine,” he says. “If you try to be those things, then naturally things are going to come from that.”
Great with a story, Bissonnette and the ever-humble Doan – this year’s winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award – speak on his unspoken example in the video above.