The flip side of Anze Kopitar’s selection to the All-Star Game is the discussion of the Kings who didn’t make it. A good argument could be made for Jonathan Quick, who ranks fourth among NHL goalies in goals-against average (2.18) and is tied for fourth in wins (19), but Quick’s numbers have been trending downward of late, and that probably hurt him. (It’s curious, though, that five of the six goalies selected are from the Eastern Conference.) A case could be made for Jack Johnson, whose 31 points rank him sixth among all NHL defensemen this season. But the elephant in the room is the fact that nobody is surprised at the omission of Drew Doughty. A total of 12 defensemen were picked for the All-Star Game, and Doughty was not among them. Last season, he finished third in voting for the Norris Trophy, given to the league’s top defensemen. At the start of the season, it’s safe to say that most league followers would have considered Doughty’s selected to the All-Star game to be a slam dunk. Alas, it wasn’t. I asked Terry Murray today for his thoughts on Doughty’s omission, and what it means.
MURRAY: “Last year, he had a lot of recognition for his performance in the regular season and then, obviously, with the Canadian Olympic team, and then with consideration for the Norris Trophy. So I’m sure there are a lot of people out there in the hockey business, in the hockey world, that are wondering why. To me, stuff like this happens often. He’s a very young player, 20 years old, that is searching for a different way, sometimes. You go through the (increased) attention of the opponent now. You’re being talked about in their presumes. You’re being checked closer. You’re being played, physically, harder and more often now. As a player, you’ve got to find a way to break through and get the same kind of results that you had in the past, through finding different ways. It’s a process that you have to learn. We’re not disappointed in him. We see the hard work that he’s putting in, and the effort that he’s trying to focus on, to get his game to be that kind of game that everybody wants him to have. Next year will be another year for him.”