Last week when the Dallas Stars were in town we had a chance to catch up with longtime MayorsManor supporter, Ray Whitney. He’s been on the site a number of times through the years, including a ‘heart on his sleeve’ look at what might happen in the days leading up to last year’s trade deadline.
But, the 20-year veteran is still going strong at the rip old age of 40. This season, after signing a two-year deal with the Dallas Stars last summer, he’s playing for his ninth NHL team.
“They were willing to give me the two year contract,” said Whitney. “And then, obviously, the financial part of it was quite a big difference too.”
Ah, so it is about the money – even though athletes say it isn’t?
“It can always be about the money, yeah,” he said with a chuckle. “It not necessarily is. If the money was the same where I was, I would have stayed.”
Which gets to the heart of this story.
“I probably would have been (offered) a one year deal, at least,” Whitney said, referring to what might have happened if it wasn’t for the ownership uncertainty in Arizona. “I feel bad for the guys there though. It’s a bad situation. I feel bad for Shane (Doan) because he wants to be there the rest of his career, and he went and signed a five-year deal. That next stop could be Seattle. Even though that would be closer to Kamloops, where he spends his summers, that’s tough.”
Doan, the Coyotes captain, looked like he was about to leave the only club he’s ever known. There were even rumors last summer of the Kings having some interest in the unrestricted free agent and Doan did meet with at least three other NHL teams.
In the end though, on the very last day of publicly announced deadline, Doan signed an extension to stay with the Coyotes.
“Knowing Shane, I wasn’t surprised,” said Whitney. “I thought if there’s one place he wants to be, it’s there. He’ll take that organization as far as it will take him. If it moves to Seattle, I think then it might be a question mark as to whether he goes. I imagine, if he wants out of Phoenix, Don (Maloney, Phoenix GM) will take care of him. He’s done enough for the organization to warrant that…I think a lot of times, the information Shane gets is optimistic by the people telling him that. I think Mr. Jamison was close, I really do. I think a couple investors backed out at the wrong time. But still, it makes you think, can it really work there if so many people are not willing to pull the trigger? I think it could work there, if the building was somewhere else.”
On a personal note, ‘the end’ of Whitney’s time in Phoenix came on May 22 of last year, 17:42 into overtime.
But, the real story started to unravel several minutes prior.
“You know how when you kick a hornet’s nest, or a bee’s nest, you see how discombobulated they get?” asked Whitney. “They just kind of fly off the handle and go everywhere. I think when the call wasn’t made on (Dustin Brown’s) hit on Rozsival, I think our team got focused too much on the non-call.”
The play in question was hit by Brown on Coyotes’ defenseman Michal Rozsival. It’s been replayed to death. But, if you’ve never seen it, click here (you’ll also see what Brown told MayorsManor immediately following the game).
“Coming out of it, we weren’t focused and prepared to move forward,” he explained. “The Kings just went about business as usual, and you could almost sense it. You knew what was gonna happen after. Something always happens after – whether it was a missed call, or I think it was just a non-call. Our focus wasn’t (what it) should be. Once they drop the puck it’s over and done with and you have to be ready to go. Unfortunately, because it happened so quick after that, emotions just took over the guys who went after the ref. You know, calls go both ways. I know Doughty got called in overtime, on a penalty on me, when he flipped out. We could have easily scored after that, but (the Kings) regained their composure quickly after that, and killed the penalty and moved on. That’s one thing we didn’t do very well, we didn’t gather our composure as quickly as we should have.”
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