GLENDALE, Ariz. — When Coyotes coach Dave Tippett announced this week that captain Shane Doan would be out for the foreseeable future, it set off a wild run of rumors among the Coyotes fan base.
General manager Don Maloney sought to dispel those rumors on Thursday. Doan is not going to miss the rest of the season. He does not have a terminal illness (this idea was actually circulating), and he is not dealing with an injury the team is trying to conceal.
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“It’s an illness, he’s getting treatment and he’s feeling better,” Maloney said Thursday. “Whether he’s out another day, a week or a month, I can’t really say right now.”
Maloney said that when the team arrived in the Valley from its game in Vancouver late on the night of Dec. 6, Doan checked into a hospital and spent about a day having tests. The team believes it will receive all the results by Friday.
“We expect to be in a position (Friday) to at least tell people what it is,” Maloney said. “But there’s no sense saying anything until we know what it is.”
Doan was at the Ice Den on Thursday (the team practiced there), and Maloney said he was feeling a little better. The Coyotes GM understands that fans want to know what is wrong with the captain, but aside from the lack of certainty surrounding the illness, the team wants to respect Doan’s privacy.
Maloney attended the NHL Board of Governors meeting this week in Monterey, Calif. Aside from the two major announcements — that the salary cap will rise to about $71 million next season and that the $5.2 billion Canadian TV deal with Rogers had been ratified — Maloney said the meeting was productive in other ways.
“There were 17 managers there, so it’s always good to be there when a group of us is around,” he said. “I find you get the best dialogue going then.”
Like other GMs, Maloney wanted to see what the cap would be. Since co-owners George Gosbee, Craig Stewart and Anthony LeBlanc were also in attendance, Maloney got a chance to discuss the ramifications for the franchise next season and down the road.
“It’s all good; it’s very, very positive,” said Maloney, who declined specifics but did note that the team is spending more this season than it anticipated due to a fluid offseason market. “That type of economic deal only strengthens this franchise and makes us more viable.”
There has been some speculation that cap clarity would ease the purse strings of teams around the league, making the re-signing of their own free agents or trades more likely. Maloney isn’t so sure.
“It may, but right now, Florida and Buffalo are the only teams where you can say they may be ready to move players,” he said. “Every one of those other teams down near the bottom still feels that with a good run, they can get back in it.”
Despite the oft-mentioned need for another forward, Maloney said there is no urgency to make a deal before the new year or even the Olympic break.
The Coyotes will have all of their pro scouts in town over the next weekend to dissect their own roster as well as those of other teams. They’ll also talk about the impending unrestricted-free-agent market and do some preliminary rankings of those players.
But he doesn’t anticipate anything happening soon, and that includes re-signing some of the team’s own UFAs, such as forward Radim Vrbata, whose agent has made it clear he won’t be coming to Maloney with any new ideas during the season.
“As we stand here today, on Dec. 12, that’s the way it looks, but we will continue to evaluate our team,” Maloney said. “I’m not crazy about negotiating midstream, midseason, but let’s see where we are closer to the deadline.”
Coyotes assistant GM Brad Treliving’s name surfaced recently as a candidate for the vacant GM position in Buffalo. Now you can add another suitor to the mix.
Calgary fired general manager Jay Feaster and assistant GM John Weisbrod on Thursday, and Treliving’s name is already being mentioned in several reports.
Maloney was reluctant to comment when asked if he would allow Treliving to speak to either team during the season if they expressed interest.
“Brad is very important to us, and for us to make a move midseason would be very difficult,” Maloney said.
A source close to the situation said the Sabres do have interest in speaking to Treliving. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Tuesday that Buffalo will take into the new year, and maybe closer to the Olympics, before a general manager is named.
McKenzie reported there are somewhere between six and 10 names that Sabres president Pat LaFontaine is looking at and that he’s probably spoken to between two-thirds and three-quarters of that group.
Maloney said defenseman Derek Morris was expected to arrive back in the Valley on Thursday night and would hopefully practice with the team on Friday. Morris has missed the past three games while dealing with a family matter.