Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan doesn’t have too far to look for inspiration.
In fact, Doan made the short trek on his own as the 39-year-old reflected on Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald’s scintillating performance in the NFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 16. Fitzgerald reeled in eight receptions for 176 yards, with 75 coming on the first play in overtime and the final five on the next to seal the Cardinals’ 26-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
“You learn so much of sports is mental. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you can see it with Fitz.
“Look at that playoff game against Green Bay. He made a play. And then he made another play. And all of a sudden, he's 25 again, outrunning people, stiff-arming people. We all know Father Time eventually wins. But as an older guy, you see that, and you realize it's all mental.”
While the 32-year-old Fitzgerald recorded a career-high 109 receptions last season, Doan can see a personal-best campaign on the horizon as well. Doan has collected a team-high 21 goals to reside just 10 shy of his high-water mark in 2008-09.
The Coyotes’ all-time points leader, Doan has 33 this season to sit fourth behind defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (44), Mikkel Boedker (37) and rookie Max Domi (36).
A mark of a cagey veteran, Doan has no issue reaching out to athletes in other sports. Case in point, Doan was seen picking the brain of Josh Collmenter when the Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander paid a visit to practice this week.
Shane Doan on tonight's game vs. @DallasStars: "We've got to make sure we stay within our system & we don't get caught running & gunning."
All of that knowledge could pay dividends as the Coyotes have positioned themselves in the mix for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Arizona (26-24-6) has rebounded from a five-game skid to win two of its last three heading into Thursday’s home contest versus the Dallas Stars (37-15-6).