October 15, 2011
Doan praises Jets return
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
GLENDALE, ARIZ. - Before taking an enjoyable stroll down memory lane, Shane Doan wanted to make one thing clear — he’s thrilled to see the Winnipeg Jets return to the NHL.
Plenty was said about the Phoenix Coyotes captain late last season when he spoke out in support of keeping the team in its present location after rumours of a move back to Winnipeg started to accelerate.
It wasn’t an indictment on Winnipeg as much as his desire to remain in the place he’s called home for all but one of his 17 NHL seasons.
“I’m incredibly glad (for Winnipeg),” said Doan, who had seven goals and 17 points in 74 games during his rookie season with the Jets in 1995-96. “You look at the emotion, the attachment, the passion that the fans have for their team. It’s fun to watch it as an outsider, let alone to be involved in it.
“The opportunity to get a team back is special and for them to have that chance is going to be a lot of fun.”
Now that the Jets are in town for the Coyotes home opener, Doan was asked about facing them for the first time since the previous incarnation of the franchise drafted him seventh overall in 1995.
“It’s a unique situation in the fact that it’s Winnipeg,” said Doan, who has 299 goals, 444 assists and 743 points on his resume in 1,122 NHL games. “Our team and our organization is connected to them and that makes it pretty special. They gave me the opportunity to play in the NHL and I will always be grateful for the incredible opportunity to play there.
“Being from Western Canada, it meant so much for me. It’s pretty unique to have a chance to play against them. I signed every contract, never asked to be traded and have never been traded. Now I’m playing against the team that drafted me. But it’s different now, they’ve got a whole different organization. A great group of guys that are in there, the management and you hear such rave reviews about it and it’s exciting for the city I’m sure.”
Speaking of seventh overall picks, Doan was asked what advice he would give Jets rookie Mark Scheifele, who is pointless in his first two NHL games after a pre-season that saw him produce four goals and eight points.
“I was watching the draft and you appreciate the connection, I think everyone does,” said Doan. “As an 18-year-old, it’s fun to come into the league early and play as a young guy. You realize it’s a lot different than what you expected, a lot better in a lot of ways.
“I had some great older guys with Keith Tkachuk and Kris King who helped me out.”
Doan also cautioned those who are jumping off the Scheifele bandwagon.
“It’s two games and you have a long way to go,” said Doan. “You have to enjoy it. You get drafted for a reason. He’s a great player. You can’t get caught up in that, you’re going to struggle a lot worse than that. I struggled last year and that was 16 years into the league.
“It took me 17 games to score my first goal and you remember all kinds of things. I don’t think you ever really get that comfortable until you get a year under your belt where you understand what to expect. (Jets captain) Andrew Ladd is an unbelievable guy and a great player and he’ll be able to help anybody like that on their team.”