Shane Doan had only played 18 games for new head coach Dave Tippett back in the 2009-10 season, but it was after a 3-2 win at home by his Phoenix Coyotes that he saw something he says now, “was one of the things I’ll never forget.”
The Coyotes beat Dallas 3-2, and Doan had shed his gear, dispensed with the media interviews, showered, and was walking out of the Coyotes dressing room, headed fort his car.
“I was walking out of the dressing room and there was, like, 13 of his ex-players from the Stars, waiting to go into his coaching office. All waiting to say hi to him. And he was excited to see them all.”
All signs point to the Edmonton Oilers head coaching position being Dave Tippett’s, if he chooses to accept the mission. So, we spoke to a couple of ex-players, and a few other folks around the game, to get a vibe for what kind of coach he would be. Particularly as it pertains to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, two of the NHL’s top four scorers who would surely trade some regular-season points for the chance to pile up a few in the post-season.
“I would tell them, be prepared to have to play a full 200-foot game,” began Ray Whitney, who played two seasons under Tippett in Phoenix. Whitney tied his second-best points total ever, with 77 points for the Coyotes in the 2011-12 campaign.
“I think Tipp has learned that the game has changed. You’re going to have to give those types of players the time and space to do what they’re going to do. And Connor and Leon, they’re going to get their points no matter what,” Whitney said. “What they’ll have to buy into is, Leon, if you don’t score 50 goals and 100 points — but you get 40 goals and 85 points and we make the playoffs — is that going to be good enough? If they buy into it, they still might get to their 100 points, but they will be much better at both ends of the rink.
“Dave’s is a team where everybody is asked to play the same way — within reason.”
Doan was the captain for every one of the eight seasons Tippett coached in the desert. He chuckled at the mention of Tippett being known as a “defensive coach.” As if there are any NHL bosses who aren’t concerned with what’s happening in their own end.