I just had a quick phone chat with Drew Doughty about his experience playing for Canada in the World Championships, plus some other pertinent issues…
Question: Even though I’m sure you would have liked one more victory, it seemed to be a great tournament for you all around. How did you feel things went?
DOUGHTY: “Overall it was a lot of fun. It was great to meet some of those world-class players and it was a great experience to be able to play with them. Obviously, playing with them made it a lot easier for me.”
Question: Obviously, you’ve had international experience at younger levels. Did this feel different, playing internationally against more established players?
DOUGHTY: “For sure. It’s a lot more difficult to play against guys like Frolov and Kovalchuk, like we did in the finals. I mean, I see Fro every day and practice against him, but you don’t realize how strong he is, especially down low, until you play against him like that.”
Question: As you said, you played a lot, and in a lot of situations. Did you have expectations for yourself going in?
DOUGHTY: “Going in, I didn’t expect too much. I was the youngest D-man on the team, so I knew I would have to do some work to get my spot in the lineup. Things worked out really well and I ended up playing a lot of minutes in all situations. Overall, I kind of exceeded my expectations.”
Question: Did you get some good feedback from your coaches, or from teammates?
DOUGHTY: “It was pretty cool, with some of the other guys complementing my game. It doesn’t get to my head or anything, but to have guys like Heatley and Spezza and Doan say nice things…those some of the best players in the game, so that’s nice.”
Question: It’s been quite a year, from being drafted to playing a full season in the NHL to the World Championships. Have you had a chance to put it in some perspective yet?
DOUGHTY: “Not yet. I’ve just been going and going. It seems like the (Kings) season didn’t finish too long ago, and then it was off to the World Championships. It’s nice to be home and take a week off just to relax.”
Question: What is the plan for the near future? Back in L.A. at some point?
DOUGHTY: “For the next two weeks, I’ll just take a little break and get my legs back and get my body back to normal. After that, I’ll be going to the gym hard. I’m sure I’ll be in L.A. a couple times a month, and my main goal is to get in great shape and really have the right conditioning.”
Question: Going forward, what are your thoughts about the Kings’ defense and how you might be able to improve?
DOUGHTY: “I think we did have a good D core last year, and there is always room for improvement. I think it’s been good. We jelled together, and in order to be a good team, I think we know that starts with the defense. You have to have a good defense in order to make a winning team.”
Question: Have you heard the talk about your possible candidacy for the Olympic team?
DOUGHTY: “I’ve heard a few things. It’s going to be one of the hardest teams to make. Canada is going to be one of the better teams at the Olympics, with so many great players, unbelievable players. Even to be mentioned, or to be thought about for a tryout or something like that, is pretty overwhelming.”
Question: Most importantly, how hard will you be working on the ping-pong skills this summer?
DOUGHTY: “I already had one match yesterday. My friends told me they got better, that they were practicing, but I think I got a little better too because the results were the same.”
Question: You won?
DOUGHTY: “Yeah. I’m going to work hard. I have to take the title from Army (Derek Armstrong) for best player in the room.”