Drew Doughty adopts a new role as a mentor for the Kings

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty spoke at some length Thursday about helping to ease Brayden McNabb’s burden during his debut with the team in Wednesday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks. Doughty and McNabb formed a defense pair with Doughty’s regular partner, Jake Muzzin, sidelined by an injury. Muzzin could be sidelined a while longer after suffering what he said was a “freak accident” earlier this week.

“He’s got all us veteran guys who are trying to help him as much as we can,” Doughty said. “(Assistant) John Stevens is a great coach. He teaches you a lot of little things you wouldn’t know coming up from the AHL or showing him whatever it might be. Brayden has a huge upside. I could see him continuing to get better as the season progresses. Like I said, I’m going to try to take him under my wing and do everything I can help him and get him into the lineup permanently. I like being in that spot. I’ve got to make a move. I’m not the kid anymore. I’ve got to do some things differently.”

For the record, Doughty is 24 and McNabb is 23.

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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty plays a waiting game after an injury

 

 

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty skated with his teammates Saturday and then offered this update on his recovery from a unspecified upper-body injury that kept him off the ice for about a week, including the first few days of training camp:

“Everything’s well. Everything’s good. No problems. Good to go whenever. I’m sure it’s going to be soon. I don’t know exactly (when). I haven’t really talked to anybody about it. I’m sure if I’m not in on Sunday (against the Ducks at the Honda Center) then hopefully I’ll be in on Tuesday (against the Sharks in San Jose).

“It (sitting out) is not that bad. It was frustrating when I wasn’t skating and all the guys are skating in camp and I wasn’t able to partake in that. That’s when it was really bothering me. Missing exhibitions games, as much as I’d like to get in a few to kind of get in my groove again, as long as I get two or three then I’ll be fine. I’m not too worried about it. (The layoff was) maybe, like, a week. Something like that.

“Good to go. Good to play. I think it’s just safe and making sure I’m perfectly ready to go when the time comes.”

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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty won’t play against the Ducks

Drew Doughty, left, celebrates with Dustin Brown during the playoffs last season.

Drew Doughty, left, celebrates with Dustin Brown during the playoffs last season.

 

Drew Doughty joined his teammates for the second of two practice sessions Wednesday in El Segundo. He was with a more veteran group, which isn’t expected to play in Thursday’s exhibition game against the Ducks at Staples Center. Doughty isn’t ready to play, anyway, after suffering an unspecified upper-body injury before the start of training camp Friday. Doughty said he wasn’t sure when he might make his exhibition debut. The Kings also play against the Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday.

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Weekend links

Typewriter

Here is the best of the best writing on the Kings from the opening weekend of training camp, starting with Los Angeles News Groups columnist Mark Whicker’s look at Stanley Cup playoffs hero Alec Martinez: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140920/alec-martinezs-journey-with-los-angeles-kings-becomes-legendary

My look at the moves the Kings’ rivals in the West made during the summer: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140919/anaheim-ducks-the-west-bulk-up-to-challenge-los-angeles-kings

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times takes a look at defenseman Drew Doughty and his goal of winning the Norris Trophy here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-kings-drew-doughty-20140920-story.html

Dillman also catches up with captain Dustin Brown here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-dustin-brown-kings-20140922-story.html

In the Orange County, er, Los Angeles Register, Rich Hammond previews the Kings’ No. 1 goal in Monday’s split-squad exhibitions with the Arizona Coyotes: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/kings-635851-monday-home.html

 

 

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Keeping up with the Kings isn’t easy, just ask Ducks general manager Bob Murray

The Ducks are expected to be active in trade discussions over the next few days at the NHL draft, trying to upgrade their roster in an attempt to match the Stanley Cup champion Kings. The Ducks want help at center and on defense. Here’s what Ducks general manager Bob Murray said about keeping up with the Kings, or trying to catch up to them, anyway:

“They won the Stanley Cup and they deserved to. They were the best team. They had a good series with Chicago after our series (a second-round win for the Kings) and the Rangers stepped up, too. So, we’re chasing a bunch of teams. That’s why we have to step up, (because) we’re behind a few teams.”

Here’s Murray on finding someone like Kings defenseman Drew Doughty:

You watch the Kings and you watched how Drew Doughty emerged as a superstar in the playoffs. Do we have someone who is that guy? Can you afford that guy if you find someone like that? It’s a huge decision, but how long do you wait?”

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Pre-NHL Awards Show reading: my ballot

Here’s my ballot, cast in the middle of April:

Hart Trophy: Sidney Crosby, PIT, Ryan Getzlaf, ANA, Claude Giroux, PHI, Semyon Varlamov, COL, Jonathan Toews, CHI.

Norris Trophy: Drew Doughty, LAK, Shea Weber, NSH. Duncan Keith, CHI, Ryan Suter, MIN, Zdeno Chara, BOS.

Calder Torphy: Nathan MacKinnon, COL, Jacob Trouba, WPG, Hampus Lindholm, ANA, Ondrej Palat, TBL, Frederik Andersen, ANA.

Byng Trophy: Ryan O’Reilly, COL, Matt Duchene, COL, Patrick Marleau, SJS, Tyler Seguin, DAL, David Krejci, BOS.

Selke Trophy: Anze Kopitar, LAK, Patrice Bergeron, BOS, David Backes, STL, Jonathan Toews, CHI, Andrew Cogliano, ANA.

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Willie Mitchell talks about what makes fellow Kings D-man Drew Doughty special

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty figures to get plenty of votes for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the 2014 playoffs. Here’s what teammate Willie Mitchell had to say Wednesday when asked what makes Doughty a special player: “His passion for the game. I’ve said it all along, there’s people who kind of thought he didn’t care enough or was too lax. But he just loves the game and loves to compete. … That’s his No. 1 attribute. He loves to come to the rink and he wants to make a difference every game and I really respect it.”

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Kings say they’ve learned from 2012 and will keep distractions to a minimum

The Kings had the New Jersey Devils down and out going into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 at Staples Center. The Kings led the series three games to none and were primed for a sweep. The Devils rallied with victories in Games 4 and 5 against the distracted Kings, who finally secured their first championship with a resounding victory in Game 6. The Kings vowed to avoid a repeat after taking a 3-0 series lead over the New York Rangers.

“Just basically the distractions last time were trying to get tickets for certain people, there weren’t enough tickets, stuff like that going on,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said Wednesday. “Basically, we just talked about it as a group and just said let the families deal with it. Get your mom in charge, get your wife in charge, whatever it needs to be, and just completely forget about that rather than having to go out for breakfast with them, something like that.

“Just focus on the team.”

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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty says he’s ready to play Game 4 right now

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty seemed calm, cool and collected as he slumped in a folding chair during a formal news conference Tuesday. He answered questions with his customary honesty, admitting that he was a bundle of nerves with Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final more than 24 hours away.

“I can’t wait to get out there,” Doughty said. “It kind of sucks that the game is at 8 p.m., waiting around during the day. You just want to get out there. You don’t want to get overanxious at the same time. But it’s fun to play in these types of games. When the pressure’s at a high (level), you just want to go out there, play your best as a team, win games. Yeah, I just can’t wait to get out there, get warmups over, drop that first puck.”

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Kings captain Dustin Brown likes to see an emotional defenseman Drew Doughty

As long as he harnesses it the right way, Kings captain Dustin Brown said he likes it when defenseman Drew Doughty plays with emotion. Brown has spoken to Doughty about learning how to channel his anger in the right direction and making it work for him rather than against him. Here’s more from Brown:

“I think the emotion is awesome. He’s still learning how to use that emotion the right way. Sometimes people blow it up and say, ‘Oh, he’s so emotional.’ I think it’s great. There are other times and I’ve had talks with him. He understands it’s not an easy thing to do. He’s learning it. It’s something all players learn. I’ve learned.”

Here’s what Doughty had to say about playing mad and yelling at the referees at they missed seeing him get hit in the face with a stick in Game 1:

“I’m going to be upset if I get hit in the face. Maybe instead of yelling at them, I should just be talking to them or completely ignoring it, to be honest. I got frustrated. I probably wouldn’t have snapped if we didn’t get a penalty right after that happened. It may be that showing frustration to my teammates isn’t a good thing, but it makes me play better. I’ve got to fix it, but I like it at the same time. I’ve learned that. Losing it on the refs is the wrong thing to do. I don’t know why I still do it. I’ve got to fix it.”

 

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