Captain Coyote: OEL takes the reins

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On the brink of the new season, new Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson discusses the role, following Shane Doan and what he's looking forward to this season.

- So what does the C mean to you? You've got it now.

- It means a lot. First of all, it's a privilege and a big honor to be the captain for this organization, and especially after some good captains and been playing with probably one of the best captains in history of hockey. Just to be around a guy like Shane Doan and learn from him, I think that means a lot to me. And it was actually nice to get to talk to him a little bit before the was going to name me captain. And he just said, like, be yourself. And that's why they're picking you. So that was kind of nice. It felt good after I talked to him.

- Do you appreciate it more because you didn't "get it," quote unquote, a year ago?

- I think I do. I mean, I didn't really expect to get it last year. I knew they talked about it a little bit, but just coming off a tough season, personally, like off the ice and on the ice, I thought it was the right thing to do, especially with bringing a new coach in, get to know his players and see what type of guys he had around him. I think they made the right decision last year. And like I said now, I'm happy to get the chance to be the captain and lead this team and I'm up for the challenge.

- Are the rumors true? I hear you're the first one in the meetings now sitting in the front row. You bring an apple for the coach every meeting. But you're--

- Well, I always have been doing that.

- OK, just wanted to make sure. The apple or the front row?

- Oh, front row. I have to pick up on the apple part.

- A quick word on Shane Doan, though, you brought him up. He had to carry the weight of an entire franchise, and sometimes the entire market. I mean, what did you see in that time, Oliver? You were here when it was, you know, one pack, us, against the world. All those things were going on. And he was more than just the captain of the team on the ice, wasn't he?

- Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think I appreciated him even more now, when I can know a little bit more of what he went through and how he was handling himself when things wasn't going great on the ice. He was always happy and treated everybody around him with respect. And I think that's something that I want to keep doing and keep for myself to think about, because it didn't matter if he had a bad day, he was always so respectful and treated everybody around him with a lot of respect.

- Your coaches said over and over that nobody's dwelling on last year, but it is something that all of you collectively got through together. Is there strength in that, do you think?

- I think it's a huge part of the game, when you can be able to get through hard times and when stuff is not going good on the ice. It's how you stick together and get through times like that. And I thought we did that really well last year. And that's something that we have brought with us coming into this season. And everybody's excited.

And there's going to be times that we go through something like that. Hopefully not that long, but there's going to be tough times out on the ice and around the team. So that's when you need to stick around and help your teammates out and be a good team.