The Coyotes’ Olympic hopefuls are now 1-for-3. Captain and right wing Shane Doan became the first Phoenix player to be chosen to participate in the upcoming Winter Games in Turin, Italy, when he was named Wednesday to Team Canada. It is the first Olympic selection for Doan.
"As good days go, this is one of the better ones," said Doan, who has struggled this season (six goals, 22 points in 34 games), but has come up big in recent international competitions.
"Hockey is what I do and to have the opportunity to represent your country, it’s hard to put into words. Growing up you always want that chance. As a Canadian, you always want that chance to wear the maple leaf. To be given the opportunity to do it at the Olympics, which is bigger than hockey, is huge."
Doan scored the winning goal in the championship game of the 2004 World Cup and a late goal to force overtime in the title game of the 2003 World Championships, which Canada won. The former of those highlights carried a lot of weight with the Canadian selection committee.
"He played extremely well for us at the World Cup," said Kevin Lowe, the assistant executive director of Team Canada.
"He’s a great leader. He’s a guy that can play any type of position."
Goalie Curtis Joseph, who is having a renaissance season — he ranks in the top seven in all major goaltending categories — was passed over. Instead Martin Brodeur of the Devils, Roberto Luongo of the Panthers and Marty Turco of the Stars were picked.
"I’m not going to talk about players we didn’t select," said Lowe, when asked about Joseph. "We just feel that it’s a difficult decision. We feel we have three strong goaltenders."
When asked Wednesday about possibly being selected before the roster was announced, Joseph said, "I’m really not thinking about it. I’m still thinking about last night’s loss."
As for the Coyotes’ other hopefuls, defenseman Paul Mara wasn’t included on the U.S. team which was announced Monday; left wing Ladislav Nagy is expected to be named to Slovakia’s team today; and forwards Oleg Saprykin (Russia) and Zbynek Michalek (Czech Republic) have outside chances of making their countries’ squads.
Also announced Wednesday was Germany’s team which includes forward Eduard Lewandowski, a 2003 draft pick by Phoenix who is still playing in Germany.
Rumors have been circulating that Coyotes associate coach Barry Smith is a candidate to replace Larry Robinson, who resigned Monday as New Jersey’s head coach.
Smith squelched those rumors, saying he’s not interested in the job.
"I’m not going. I’m staying here no matter what," Smith said.
"Right now we have a job to do, and I love the coaching staff I have, and I’m with a situation that we want to improve as much as we can, game by game and get to the playoffs and see how it goes. This is my job. I’m not looking actively to try to go elsewhere."
The team recalled right wing Tim Jackman from their AHL affiliate in San Antonio.