April 27, 2011 2:55 pm

Lombardi, Murray discuss Drew Doughty

Question: What do you tell Drew Doughty going into the summer?

LOMBARDI: “He can start working into getting into the top… What’s the most important thing, the growth from within? Yeah. If he’s going to take the leadership role, he has to start preparing to compete. Nobody questions this kid’s ability or (that) he competes when he walks through the doors. But he’s got to learn that when you’re preparing, you’re competing. And a lot of kids go through this. I’m looking for much more improvement than we had this year, when we had to put him through the (strength and conditioning) test again. It’s not surprising, given the way most of these kids are, but that’s what I want to see. My feeling is, you can’t lead until you’re trying to be the best you can be, and your best players have to take charge. You don’t have to be the vocal guy, or whatever. It’s the guy that gets out there and gets it done. I think, what he found out too — and this is the other thing that happens — to reach that level you talk about, whether it’s Tom Brady or Jeter or Gretzky, that top level, you’re not going to be allowed to just go out there. You’ve got to learn to work.

“I saw a thing on Brady there last week, and it was just incredible, talking about how hard he has to work to be prepared for those situations. That, i think, is a huge thing for (Doughty). So all I’m going to do is look at those (strength and conditioning) scores. That will tell me a lot. Stamkos figured it out last year. Stamkos was the same way last year. He had a bad season the previous year, he got ticked off and went to Gary Roberts and then took off. Problem is, Drew didn’t have the down. Stamkos, great scorer, first pick in the draft, he’s not scoring for two years so he says, `That’s it, I’m going to go get in shape.’ And he goes and spends the summer with Roberts and now you’ve got a 60-goal scorer.”

LOMBARDI: “I don’t know if it’s a down year, per se. I wouldn’t say it’s a down year. Early in the season it was (up and down) and then it came back. He was a big part of us, certainly, when we got out of that second slide. It’s kind of like a sideways thing. It kind of went like this [up and down]. I wouldn’t call it a down year, no.”

Question: What were your thoughts on Drew Doughty’s season?

MURRAY: “Drew was a lot better in the second half of the year. The start of the year was not where we needed it to be. He will disagree with that, probably, as I mentioned before, but as coaches we have very high expectations when you come out of the previous year and you won a gold medal with Team Canada and he was one of the premier players on that (team). He’s being mentioned as a Norris Trophy candidate, finalist, and to end up playing well in the playoffs, you want that right away, right now. In my opinion, it wasn’t there, but he certainly came to being that kind of player as we got to the middle of the season. His contribution was tremendous, and we saw it in Game 2. He stepped up. He showed the kind of leadership and the kind of player he is, and that’s what we need all the time.”

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