Sullivan's hat trick gets Doan going
Jan. 24, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Steve Sullivan reacted to his first Coyotes hat trick on Wednesday like a kid who had just opened his most coveted Christmas present. His eyes were wide, his grin was wider and his arms strained skyward as if to offer thanks to a greater, unseen force.
The only reaction better than Sullivan’s? That of captain Shane Doan, who, as every Coyotes fan knows, finally notched his first career hat trick last season in his 16th year of NHL service.
As the media concluded its postgame interviews with Sullivan, I turned to Doan and deadpanned a question: “Shane, you know how many hat tricks Steve has?”
“Yeah, he has eight,” said Doan, who was just getting warmed up. “I know he did it in his third game as a Coyote, too. Anything else you want to throw at me? I thought we were friends. Maybe you can take the knife out of my back!”
Todd Walsh got some similar reactions from Doan and other Coyotes.
Satisfied with the reaction I got, I turned to leave the locker room as Doan continued his humorous rant to a mostly empty locker room. As for Sullivan, he admitted that the hat trick served as relief valve for the pressure a player feels when he joins a new club -- particularly when he’s viewed as the key replacement for a team’s departed leading scorer, as Sullivan is for Ray Whitney.
“You’re brought in for a certain reason, and you don’t want to disappoint,” he said.
It helped matters that Sullivan was facing the Blue Jackets. With his performance Wednesday, Sullivan has 48 points in 48 games against the Jackets. He’s at a loss to explain his point-a-game performance against them.
“I have no idea,” he said. “Especially when I’m probably a 0.7-point a game kind of guy. To be that big a difference against one team, I’m not sure.”
It’s safe to say that Sullivan will never accept a trade or a free-agent deal with the Jackets.
“No, no,” he said, laughing. “I need to play against them.”
-- Craig Morgan