The Doan Side of Winning The Derby

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not doing this because I necessarily care about you, nor am I doing it because I have a heart of gold. This is solely being done to fill my quota for charitable acts in 2013. Some people live really busy lives, and resort to giving money. Some people, take a more hands-on approach and help out at local shelters.

I guess you could say I’m stuck somewhere smack dab in-between those two. I’m leaving my – climate controlled, may I add – mom’s basement, to help out. For those interested, I’ll be volunteering at the local YMCA over the weekend, operating the cold showers. Don’t try to be a hero, and get through this on your own. Let me in. And let me ease that ‘Doaner’ of yours with some cold water, and some cold, hard facts.

As you’re likely aware of, the Shane Doan sweepstakes are set to come to a resolution, with the Canucks being one of the two finalists. Let’s say he chooses to stay in Phoenix. What does that mean for the Canucks, and the fans?

Unlike the other times the Canucks swung and missed – specifically on Justin Schultz – this one shouldn’t sting. Don’t get me wrong, because Shane Doan would be a useful asset to any team. By all accounts he’s a great teammate, and an all-around stand-up person. But most of the appeal of signing him is misguided. In fact, most of it can be attributed to the PR juggernaut that his handlers created.

The hype was caused moreso by the circumstance (he waited his turn, until he was the last impact free agent on the market), the strategy (not rushing to sign a contract, but instead creating a build-up), and his agent (creating a bidding war by letting offers be made public), than his actual ability as a player these days.

And we haven’t even gotten to the meat of it all yet – the myths surrounding the mythical beast:

Myth number one: "Shane Doan will provide leadership"

That’s what [however much he’s rumored to sign for] gets you these days? I remember the good ol’ days, when that kind of money could net you something that had tangible value. The only factual thing you could point to in an attempt to provide reasoning to the idea that he’ll provide leadership is that he’s kind of old. Old guys that have been around usually get placed with that tag.

Leadership is a great thing, but it’s also something that has the most positive gains when added to a young team that hasn’t really won anything before. The Canucks, unfortunately, are anything but young. They’re a veteran team that has been together for years, and was one win away from lifting the cup.

Doan is a player that leads by example, with his play. Which is exactly what the Canucks already have in the form of the Sedins. If anything, the Canucks would have a greater benefit from another voice in the room. Also, it’s not like Shane Doan’s world class leadership skills prevented the team he captained from becoming a whiny, undisciplined mess in the Western Conference Finals last season…

Myth number two: "Shane Doan’s true impact will be felt in the playoffs"

This is truly my favourite argument. And by favourite, I mean the one that elicits the most laughter from me. Here’s a little pop quiz:

Player A – 55 career playoff games, 28 points, 36 years old.

Player B – 55 career playoff games, 27 points, 26 years old.

Who’s who? Player A is that playoff warrior Shane Doan. Player B? That’s none other than the much-maligned "playoff choker" Alexander Edler. And Edler has been as productive as Shane Doan has in the same number of career playoff games from the backend! That’s pretty shocking, no?

Sure, Doan certainly could make a difference in a playoff run. Unfortunately all that is at this point is a hypothetical, since we have never really seen it. I tend to feel more comfortable going off of things that have actually happened in the past, to use as an indicator for the future.

Myth number three: "Term isn’t that big of a deal, Shane Doan takes great care of himself"

You know who has the best winning percentage of all-time? Father time.

I have long been an admirer of Shane Doan from afar, which is why it wasn’t very fun witnessing his decline this past season. We have seen players such as Martin St.Louis, Ray Whitney, and Teemu Selanne produce at a high level while making their way through their late 30’s. They’re also completely different players than Doan.

What’s going to happen to Doan once he inevitably loses another step – if not next year, then the year after? Suddenly he’s a split second late on delivering that big hit, and he’s not winning the puck battles in the corners.

Personally, I don’t want to be around to witness that on a daily basis. There’s nothing sadder in professional sports than seeing a formerly great player be a shell of himself. And that’s where we’re headed with Doan.

Myth number four: "Shane Doan gives this team fresh life, and hope"

The Vancouver Canucks have accumulated 228 points in the past two seasons. They were 60 minutes away from winning the Stanley Cup, and have lost to the last three champions. As currently constructed, they have (in my opinion) one of the most well-rounded rosters in the NHL. And all of their top players are currently in the prime of their career’s.

I’m well aware of how tortured the fans are, and how desperate they are to see them be the last team standing. I’m right there with all of you. At some point, the heart can only take so much, right?

But there’s still reason to have hope, considering the Canucks are going into the 2012-13 season with a clean slate, and another chance at redemption. Now isn’t the time for the whole doom and gloom routine. If you want to shut yourself into a dark room, while playing love songs, go for it. Don’t drag me into it, though.

I’m not ready to project my feelings regarding the lack of news in the Roberto Luongo saga, onto a potential Shane Doan signing. There’s no ‘quota of big moves’ that Mike Gillis needs to fill, for me to be satisfied.

Shane Doan will be of use to whatever team he signs with next season, and maybe even the year after. I’m sure that he will be a fun guy to root for, and his teammates will enjoy his presence – partly because he’ll no longer be on the other team elbowing them in the head. For the right price, I could probably talk myself into being a fan of signing him. He would probably slot nicely onto the second line right wing, allowing my dream third line to come to fruition.

But you know what I’m a bigger fan of? Reality. Facts. And not letting the hype machine take over. Sometimes you just have to sit back, and let someone else bite the bullet.

  • LiamTheShark

    I may not be a smart man, but I always wanted Doan so he could play with the Sedins. This would move Burrows down to the second line and make that line amazing. Then it would move Higgins down to the third line with Hansen and Lapierre and make that line amazing.

    Basically I thought Doan was a good idea because he would help balance out the rest of the lines. Am I misguided?

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      He certainly would help balance the lines, and provide the Canucks with a winger that can play in their top-6. The problems are his price-tag (and more importantly, the term that accompanies it) and the expectations that fans seem to have of him. He’s not the player he used to be, and will only continue to get worse.

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      a) Sounds like the Canucks won’t be beating the buzzer with an Edler extension, but I still believe that he’ll be a Canuck for many years past this coming one. And yes, they will be opening the cheque book in a big way for it.

      b) Never got the connection with Arnott. He’s a third line centre, who has been sheltered in recent years. The Canucks have a far superior option in-house already. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to bring him in on a veteran’s minimum type of deal to see if he has anything left, but not signing Doan doesn’t affect that.