The Canadiens, we’re informed, are one of a dozen teams that have inquired about the intentions of Phoenix right winger Shane Doan.
Doan is a reluctant unrestricted free agent. He has made no secret of the fact that he wants to remain with the Coyotes with whom he has played for his entire sixteen season career. Doan’s problem is, the team may no longer be the Phoenix Coyotes.
Doan has stated that he is going to make a decision about his future tomorrow (Monday). That’s when signatures are due for a petition to make the Glendale City Council lease agreement with potential owner Greg Jamison part of a November referendum. If there are enough signatures to delay and perhaps cancel the offer to purchase the team, Doan will likely opt for free agency.
The question that has to be asked is, “Should the Canadiens jump into the bidding with both feet?” The 6’1”. 223 pound Doan will be 36 before next season begins. Signing him now will just get him under the CBA salary cap complications that come with signing long term contracts to players over 35 .
Anyone who watched this year’s Western Conference playoffs, knows the kind of leadership he supplies. He’s a steady, if not spectacular player who has scored 20 or more goals in eleven of his last twelve seasons. Last season he scored 22 and added 28 assists.
Doan has interesting Montreal connections. At the 1995 NHL entry draft the Canadiens, who were to draft 8th overall, had their sights set on Doan who was playing junior hockey in Kamloops, B.C. Winnipeg, picking just ahead of the Canadiens, grabbed him up and the Canadiens settled instead for Terry Ryan, which did not work out very well.
On December 13th 2005 at the Bell Centre, Doan was assessed a gross misconduct by referee Stephanne Auger for making culturally insensitive comments against the French Canadian officials. The league reviewed the incident and concluded that the charges were baseless. The whole affair wound up in the House of Commons with then Minister of Sport Denis Coderre slamming Doan’s character as part of a criticism of Hockey Canada for including him on Team Canada at the Turin Olympics. Doan sued Coderre for slander. That, and a Coderre countersuit were settled out of court two years ago. It became common knowledge that it was another player, one of European extraction, that made the comment that got Auger and ultimately, Coderre’s shirt in a knot.
Water under the bridge, as they are wont to say in hockey. If Doan, in fact makes himself available, and all of that business of seven years ago, is also forgotten and forgiven by Doan himself, he would be a very good fit for the Canadiens. All Marc Bergevin has to do is find the money.