If Shane Doan didn’t score 50 points a year, and if he wasn’t such a good quote, people would see him for what he is: A dirty player who has little respect for his opponents, who dives to draw calls, and who if he were a lesser talent would regularly be run down in much the way Patrick Kaleta is today.
The long history of Doan intentionally trying to hurt his opponents is fairly well-documented. Just last March he was suspended three games for elbowing Jamie Benn in the face only a week after being fined for boarding Mark Giordano, both of which were less than 18 months after he threw a dirty, late, lateral headshot on Dan Sexton. No one really cares about any of that, though, because none of those guys were in any way injured on the plays, though they easily could have been.
When you talk about guys who don’t have respect for their opponents, it’s easy to excoriate the ones who suck at hockey, or the ones who do it without “backing it up.” But because Doan is willing to fight, and because he’s a captain, and because he’s seen as a good guy for sticking with Phoenix when he could have cashed in elsewhere with considerably more franchise stability this summer, no one really cares about that. Certainly, a Ryan Miller-type on the Coyotes would never say he has to get his act together.
The latest incident for which Doan completely escaped any sort of blame despite being hilariously antithetical to the general decorum of the sport was last night, when he and Kings rookie Jake Muzzin accidentally collided knee-to-knee because both were watching the play, and not each other. Admittedly, this is a scary kind of play under the best circumstances because you never want to see someone get their ACL blown out, but Doan was crouched on the ice in the fetal position for a few seconds before getting up and charging at Muzzin. In attempting to get to Muzzin who may have stuck his leg out on purpose for all Doan knew since he, like the defenseman, wasn’t paying attention. Only a linesman’s preemptive intervention stopped Doan from taking a few pops in on Muzzin before the kid even dropped his gloves, and despite the fact that he threw off his gloves while wearing a visor (a no-no in the NHL rulebook, you’ll remember), he was inexplicably not even assessed a penalty.
Doan and his teammates also spent the remainder of the game trying to fight Muzzin every time the kid came over the boards. Which was odd because, unlike Doan himself, his teammates no doubt had an actual look at what happened on the play and could likely see that it was innocent, but you have to stand up for your captain and so forth.
This is blatant reputationism from the officials and the people covering the game, who, had it been, say Brad Marchand or Raffi Torres doing the same, all we’d be hearing about today was how this is the kind of stuff that needs to be run out of the game immediately, and is yet another sign that NHL players don’t take safety seriously.
But because it was Shane Doan, and he was in The Heat of the Moment, and also playing his ass off in that game (he finished with both of Phoenix’s goals. on 11 shots and 13 hits in just under 19 minutes!), it barely warranted a tongue-clucking. I suppose I should get used to that. He’s way too honest a player to ever get called out by anyone.
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