GLENDALE Ariz. – Coyotes captain Shane Doan was back on the ice Thursday, but departed before practice ramped up and did not test the upper-body injury that kept him out of Game 4 of Phoenix's Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Detroit and threatens his status for Game 5 Friday night.
"It was more just to get the feel of getting my legs, twirling around and seeing how it felt," said Doan, who suffered what appeared to be a right shoulder injury when he crashed into the end boards on his first shift of the second period in Game 3. He immediately skated to the bench, headed into the dressing room and hasn't spoken with the media since. "You skate so much, and then to go 4-5 days without skating … I didn't want to wait any longer. We'll hope for better tomorrow."
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek also missed practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett called it "a maintenance day." Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski also skipped practice before Game 4 and suited up for the Red Wings.
When asked if he could have played if Game 5 were on Thursday, Doan said, "Well, (the game) is not today, so I don't have to worry about that. I'm hopefully for tomorrow, and that's about it. I'm hoping tomorrow is a little bit better than today. And then we'll see."
Doan was racing toward the net and tried to avoid a prone Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard when he tumbled to the ice, hitting the boards without bracing himself and taking the entire impact around the shoulder area.
"(Howard) was kind of in a vulnerable position there on his hands and knees and I didn't want to clip him in the head. I tried to avoid him as best I could," Doan said. "I want to hit them all I can, I've wanted to the whole series … but I don't want to hit anyone in a vulnerable position."
Tippett said there were certain drills Doan didn't want to try "because he didn't want to have any setbacks," but thinks Doan will be a game-time decision for Game 5. He made a similar comment about Doan before Game 4 and about Vernon Fiddler before Game 3 -- and both players were scratched.
But Tippett added, "One of the best pain-killers to have is adrenaline. One you get in the game, it can really take over."
Doan, who hasn't played in the playoffs since 2002, said he will do everything possible to get on the ice.
"I've waited a long time to have a chance to play in these," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed playing in (the first three games) and loved every minute of being out there, so it's tough to watch. It's a best-of-three (series) now, and (Game 5) is going to be a huge game we all want to be ready. I missed not being in the (dressing) room for (Game 4). I love being in the room, so today is better,"
During the Coyotes brief and checkered playoff history -- five appearances and no series victories since moving from Winnipeg in 1996 -- key injuries always seem to bite the Desert Dogs.
The Coyotes had a 2-1 lead over the Red Wings in 1998 before both goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and Teppo Numminen went down with injuries in Game 4. Detroit swept the next three games.
A year later, the Coyotes secured home ice in the first round but lost forwards Bob Corkum and Greg Adams during the series and star center Jeremy Roenick just before the postseason with a broken jaw courtesy of Dallas' Derian Hatcher. Roenick returned for Game 7, but Phoenix blew a 3-1 series lead and lost in overtime.