RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 03: Phillip Di Giuseppe #34 of the Carolina Hurricanes and Shane Doan #19 of the Arizona Coyotes battle for to control the loose puck during an NHL game on March 3, 2017 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

…And The Belt Goes To: Carolina Edition

Published On March 4, 2017 | By Jason Harrison | B-Sides

Shane Doan powered the Arizona Coyotes past the Hurricanes and was rewarded for his three-point night afterward.

It hasn’t been the easiest season for Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

The team fell short of expectations and hovers near the bottom of the standings. He’s watched veterans and friends like Martin Hanzal be traded for a future that he won’t be a part o f. Most of all, he’s followed up a 28-goal campaign with just 23 total points.

Nothing has gone his way and it’s not a stretch to say he’s been a step slow on some nights. That doesn’t mean he’s completely lost it, however. Some nights that same old Doaner takes the ice and shows the kids exactly how it’s done.

Friday night was one of those nights.

The greatest player in Coyotes history had two brilliant setups which led to goals, and ultimately capped off the night with an empty-netter to seal the victory.

His offensive game looked closer to the one we’re used to seeing, and boy is it fun when the captain is having fun.

For his effort in Raleigh, Radim Vrbata – a newly minted alternate captain himself – rewarded his captain with the player of the game belt.

Right now the Arizona Coyotes are performing better than they were in the first three months of the season. That isn’t saying a ton considering how bad they were, but it’s progress no matter how small.

The progress has come with the team’s youngsters finding their sea-legs, Max Domi returning to the lineup, and some key contributions from veterans.

Doan had no goals and just two points in his previous 10 games leading into last night, so you could say he was due.

It (presumably) hasn’t been the storybook ending anyone wanted for Shane Doan, but that noise off camera as Vrbata hands Doaner the belt still rings true.

“Baaa, baaa,” mimed a voice sounding suspiciously like Jordan Martinook.

Whether it’s the fans or the players in the locker room, everyone knows who the greatest Coyotes player of all time is. If these are the final 18 games of Doan’s career, we’d do well to enjoy them.

There won’t be another quite like him.