Drew Doughty has a fan in Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. A big fan. That’s not surprising, given that Doughty was a big reason why the Babcock-coached Canadian national team won the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Babcock gave Doughty some big minutes, in big situations, during that tournament — Doughty was on the ice for Sidney Crosby’s “golden goal” — and when asked about Doughty this morning, Babcock couldn’t have been much more effusive in his praise.
BABCOCK: “He’s just better and smarter than everybody else. He’s just been touched by God and been given a gift and he seems to like hockey. What I like about him is, when he creates offense it’s not foolish. He’s not a risk-taker; he’s a game-breaker. He waits for the right times and he can play against the best people defensively, and he can play a ton of minutes. And he’s got a big, heavy (rear end). Butt, sorry. [laughs] So he can box people out and play the game.”
Told of Babcock’s praise, Terry Murray silently blinked a couple times, perhaps having an instant recall of a couple of Doughty’s recent poor penalties. Doughty and assistant coach John Stevens had a little chat in the stands this morning while the Red Wings skated, but as Murray pointed out, there’s little reason for long-term concern about Doughty.
MURRAY: “Well, there’s a lot of inherent skill there, there’s no question. Whether it comes from God or his parents, I’m not sure, but he’s a very talented young man. I think, when he went to the Olympics last year, he showed that he’s able to elevate his game to a very high level, play with high skill and at high speed with the best players in the world and against the best players in the world and contribute significantly to that gold-medal game, in particular. So we’re excited to have him, happy to have him. Now we want to get him to that level, playing for the L.A. Kings. I think his game has been good recently. The points are not going up the way we anticipated, I suppose, at the start of the season, but he’s getting some attention here that comes with the territory of being a good hockey player. To me, and that’s the conversation I’ve had with Drew, that he’s just going to have to find a way, as a hockey player, to play the game with that attention, to still get the result that we need, as a hockey club.”