Just when it appeared there was absolutely no chance that we’d see NHL games this year, the two sides struck a tentative deal to end the lockout over the weekend. If and when the deal is finalized, it sounds like we could be seeing games very quickly, which may sound great to fans, but Phoenix Coyotes’ Shane Doan worries what the physical play will be like for players who have been away from the ice.
Shane Doan joined KTAR in Phoenix with Doug and Wolf to discuss the difficulty of the lockout, the deal not getting done sooner, what has been tarnished by the lockout, if the players thought they’d be playing games this year and his expectations on the quality of play once games start up.
How difficult was this lockout for you?:
“As a player, you work your whole life and give up everything you can and sacrifice a lot to … play for the NHL. Right or wrong, you take pride in that when you accomplish that and you’re very proud to say, ‘I’m a member of that.’ During the lockout, it’s tarnished, and it bothers you. It bothers you that you’ve worked so hard to achieve something that’s being tarnished. I think it’s good that it’s over and we can move on and forget about it, because it eats at you.”
Did you look at the deal as a success or maybe question why something like this wasn’t agreed to months ago?:
“I think there was a deal where everyone thought it was going to end up and it’s probably close to what it is right now. And we accepted at the begin, as players, as much as you hate to accept it, it’s concessionary bargaining. We’re going backwards because the landscape of professional sports has swung with the cap era. And as football and basketball went down, it left really no option for hockey to not go down. So we understood that. I believe that the pension we got is so instrumental and so vital for our group. … The pension is a major thing that we couldn’t have got three months ago.”
What do you feel has been tarnished?:
“You don’t want to say it’s embarrassing, but it’s close to that. I’m a fan of sports, and I’m particularly a fan of hockey. And you look at the amount of money that’s available to each side, and the amount of money to be divided up and handed out is incredible. And so you think, ‘Let’s just get it done.’ … Yet, at the same time, the amount of money is what causes the lockout because there is so much that it brings in business, and business, in this situation … trumps the sport whenever the CBA comes up. You’re idealistic as a player when you first come into the league. You think, ‘This is the greatest thing in the world. I’m playing the sport I love to play and I’m playing it at the highest level.’ … As the business of the game works into the equation, you sometimes feel it gets tarnished. … Now, our goal is to prove that it hasn’t [been tarnished], and bring back that pride and bring back that honor that goes with being a player.”
Did you and the other players think there was going to be a season?:
“I was starting to lose points and lose arguments when saying we were going to play against other people. I did believe we were going to play again, and yet that argument was getting harder and harder to make as we went along. I think, with players as well. Players were resigning to the fact that they were going to go play in Europe. That was getting more and more difficult.”
What kind of impact will this have on the quality of play when the season starts?:
“The guys that are playing in Europe, I think it’s going to be OK. And then there’s another group of players playing in the minors that are going to be OK. The other group of guys — unfortunately I fall into that group — it’s going to be difficult. … You can’t simulate running into anybody with the desire to run them over. You can’t simulate the energy it takes to do that, and you can’t simulate having someone do that to you. There’s just no way you can train for that.”