GLENDALE – Shane Doan has been given the green light by his doctors to return to the lineup and the Coyotes captain is expected to play on Saturday when Phoenix hosts Philadelphia at Jobing.com Arena.
"I think I've got enough (energy) and feel good enough that I can go," Doan said after Friday's practice. "I want to play... I want to be able to help out. Guys are battling hard and doing everything they can to find ways to win. You want to help. That's what we're supposed to do and that's what I'm paid to do. I want to get out there and try to do it."
Doan hasn't played since Dec. 4 as doctors treated him for Rocky Mountain Fever symptoms. Despite missing nearly a month, Doan still co-leads the Coyotes with 12 goals.
"I'm going to do as much as I can and go as hard as I can... I know I can contribute and help," Doan said. "I'm sure I'll be a little rusty and a little winded but I'll get over it."
The Coyotes posted a 4-3-5 record in the 12 games Doan missed.
"We kind of targeted next week (for his return), but the way he looks out there and he's got the green light by the doctors so I would think it would be hard to keep him out of the game tomorrow night," Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
RMSF is a tick-borne bacterial disease that affects the cells in the lining of blood vessels.
Doan said the symptoms he had been suffering included joint aches and headaches.
"I don’t know how else to explain it other than I hurt," Doan said. "You get hot and cold. You get frail."
Doan said his doctors still aren't sure how he got RMSF. On Friday, he speculated it may have come from ticks on his dog.
Center Antoine Vermette, who assumed a leadership role during Doan's absence by wearing an 'A' on his sweater, said the players are glad Doan is ready to play.
"We have great group as far as leadership, but you can't replace a guy like Shane," Vermette said. "It's going to be great to see him (on the ice) again."
*Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who left Thursday's 2-0 loss to Columbus early in the first period with an upper-body injury after absorbing a hit from behind into the boards by Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie, did not practice Friday.
Tippett said Ekman-Larsson was feeling better on Friday than he was on Thursday night, and he labeled him as "questionable" for Saturday's game vs. Philadelphia.
MacKenzie was not called for a penalty for the hit, but on Friday the NHL suspended him for three games, without pay.
Meanwhile, defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who hasn't played since Dec. 17 because of a lower-body injury, skated for about 20 minutes on Friday.
*Prospect Max Domi, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has been named the Ontario Hockey League’s Player of the Month after leading the league in scoring with 23 points in 10 games including 11 goals and 12 assists.
Playing for London, Domi notched a point in the Knights’ final nine games of December and is currently on a 10-game point-streak.
Domi, 18, made a strong bid to make the Coyotes roster at training camp, but near the end of camp the team decided it was best for him to return to the OHL for a third season.
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