Doan savors long-awaited moment

It’s been a satisfying season of firsts for Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

First

division title. First playoff series win. And now this: In a couple

day’s time, Doan will officially be sporting the longest playoff beard

he’s ever grown.

“I’m working on it,” Doan said with a grin as he

took in the thousand or so fans who turned out at Cutter Aviation for

the Coyotes’ triumphant arrival back home on Tuesday afternoon following

their series-clinching, 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the

first round of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Doan

received a host of text messages and voicemails Monday night from

friends, family and former teammates, who couldn’t resist jabs like this

at the Coyotes’ most notorious practical joker.

“Now that you’ve won, we can rip you about your (failed) breakaway (in Game 5),” Doan said, laughing.

Doan hasn’t had a chance to absorb the full feeling of what has just transpired.

“I

think getting ready for the game tomorrow will be really when you start

to understand, ‘OK, we’re moving on to the next one,’” he said.

But the significance of this first-ever Coyotes playoff series win is certainly not lost on him.

“I

remember my first year in the league we played Detroit (in the

playoffs) and it went six games. I was like ‘OK, we have a pretty good

team. We’ll be all right.’

“The next year we were in the playoffs

and (the first-round series) went seven. All of the sudden, it’s 15

years later and you still haven’t done it.”

Doan said he doesn’t even try to explain this feeling to younger players.

“You can tell people as many times as you want, but until they experience it, they don’t appreciate it,” he said.

And

that is why he took that step back from the celebratory pack

surrounding goalie Mike Smith after Game 6. He wanted to drink it in.

“It

was cool to see how we got to celebrate. You want to enjoy it,” he

said. “You appreciate it so much more because it’s been such a long

time.”