VANCOUVER - Phoenix Coyote captain Shane Doan kept the hockey world waiting all summer. Would he take his free-agent talents somewhere else? Or would he remain with the Coyotes, the only franchise he has played for since breaking into the NHL in 1995?
He was waiting for the Coyote ownership situation to be resolved – he's still waiting – but cast his lot with the team anyway, signing a four-year contract worth $21.2 million on the eve of the September lockout.
Doan was admittedly crushed when the Greg Jamison (potential ownership) deal didn't pan out. It was another kick in the rear end.
“I'm disappointed, incredibly disappointed, it didn't get done,” Doan said. “I wanted that deal to be done and obviously that was a huge part in me signing there. That being said, I love our coaching staff, the management and players we have here. It probably came down to that. It was a little tougher decision than I ever anticipated and it went longer than I ever anticipated.
“It comes down to the fact I think we have a great upside," he added. "We have the ability not to just win but to win everything. I know people smile and laugh at that because we're down in Phoenix but we've got a great nucleus and I think we've got the right mix.”
DOWN ON THE FARM: Amid reports, since denied, that the Calgary Flames were planning to move their Abbotsford Heat farm team to Utica, N.Y., Chicago Wolves GM Wendell Young was left wondering Monday about his American League affiliation with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks and Wolves are in the final year of a two-year agreement and Young doesn't want to be left at the alter if something happens in Utica, where people there are actively pursuing an affiliation, and a pile of dominoes begin to fall. There are 30 AHL teams and each has an NHL affiliate.
“With all the rumours out there, I've probably already had 8-10 inquiries on whether we're going to be an open affiliate in Chicago,” Young said. “Vancouver is not saying 'no' and they're not saying 'yes.' I don't want to be sitting here in June and have to take what's left. I'm antsy myself.
“If we're back with the Canucks, then I kind of have a read on who's coming through junior, who has a possibility of being on my team and what would be needed from a veteran or free agent standpoint to complete the roster. It's hard to plan ahead when there are so many uncertainties. It's a little frustrating from my side.”
The Flames admit they have been approached by Utica interests but issued a statement saying they were “committed to Abbotsford and have made no alternate commitments.” They are in the fourth year of a 10-year deal in Abbotsford. If the Flames opted to sell the Heat franchise to the Canucks, who would then place their farmhands there, they would themselves need to purchase another AHL franchise. The Canucks don't own the Chicago Wolves.
Canuck assistant GM Laurence Gilman was guarded Monday when asked for a comment.
“We've had a very good relationship with the Wolves, their ownership and their management over the last two years and we are currently in discussion with them about what the future holds,” Gilman said. “As of this point, I'm not sure how it's going to unfold. With my experience in the American Hockey League, there are times when affiliations don't get sorted out until the summertime, as was the case last time.”
TWITTER TIME: Canuck netminder Roberto Luongo, who allowed all eight Detroit goals Sunday, was again poking fun at himself Monday on twitter @strombone1. He wrote: “I apologize to all the people who had to replace their Budweiser Red Light bulbs after yesterday's debacle. #LUON8O."
While twitter has brought Luongo some new fans, Shane Doan has always been a fan.
“I've got to know Louie, I've played with Louie and I can't say enough great things about the guy,” commented the Coyote captain. “He's just one of those guys who you enjoy having on your team and you can build around. If I'm a Canucks fan, I'm ecstatic I still have Roberto Luongo here.”
QUOTABLE: “Zack Kassian maybe doesn't have the body to be an expert at it but he's trying.” – Daniel Sedin on how some of the players fared during Monday's yoga session at Rogers Arena.
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