Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Make no mistake, Shane Doan didn't really want to be a Vancouver Canuck. He wanted to close out his long career with the only franchise he has ever played for. But as we're all about to witness first-hand - yet again! - come tomorrow's CBA expiration, sports is a business and business isn't always fair. In Doan's case, he waited until the last possible minute (thanks for that by the way) before deciding what the "cost of certainty" means for his career.
Cost of certainty meant staying the course. Kudos Terry Bross.
The build-up around Doan wasn't surprising. It is free agency after all and he's an attractive asset: a strong, durable winger who can slot in anywhere on the top nine and provide that ever illusive "veteran leadership" and the even more illusive "final piece of the puzzle" attributes that are batted around so often during the long summer months.
Vancouver has stubbornly been done this road before. Mark Messier (puke) rode into town at 36 years old. Mats Sundin (oy) at 37. Mathieu Schneider (ugh) at 40. All had similar shadings in respect to their "leadership" and "final puzzle piece" qualities. With no disrespect (well not a ton anyway) to the trio just mentioned, each time these grandiose plans failed.
Back when this all started we brought up what GMMG said at the summer conference: he wanted Vancouver to get "younger, bigger and stronger", two-thirds of which signing Doan doesn't accomplish. His numbers are bound to level off as is his durability and his overall contribution to the team. But even that doesn't matter; GMMG can contradict himself all he wants. What's significantly more important is that the terms had to make sense. At a little over $5.3 per year, that would have put Doan - who as the potential oldest player on the team could have very well ended up on the checking line - behind only the Sedins in terms of a cap hit. To do that in the same summer when Salo wasn't offered a two-year deal because of age and dwindling performance? That dog won't hunt.
The search for another top six/top nine option rolls on. There's still Luongo to trade, Edler to re-up and - looking forward - Raymond, Lapierre, Higgins, Malhotra, Alberts and Tanev to deal with at the end of next season. There's Jensen screaming from hilltops he wants to be the rockstar RW on the team. There's a lot more in motion here that could have been upset with Doan at $5.3 per.
Good on Gillis, Bowness and Gilman for chasing him like they did. Good on Phoenix for keeping their heart and soul player until he hangs 'em up. Good on Doan for being loyal. Everyone wins.
(Except, you know, all of us by this time tomorrow)