Here’s what Drew Doughty said about agreeing to his eight-year, $56-million contract with the Kings. Doughty said he has a 6 a.m. flight out of Toronto tomorrow morning — lots of packing, not a lot of sleep tonight — and will be in Los Angeles in the morning for his physical and to officially sign the contract.
DOUGHTY: “I definitely didn’t want to miss that (trip to Europe). This was never in mind, even being out for this long at all, but I knew I had to be there for the start of the season. I missed the boys a lot, and missed being in L.A., and this just felt like time to get it done and I’m really happy and really excited.”
Question: What kind of shape are you in? You’ve been skating with the London Knights, but are you in shape to play Saturday or is that too soon?
DOUGHTY: “No, I think I could play. I haven’t skated with an NHL team or anything like that yet, but I think I’m in great shape. I worked really hard this offseason, in the gym and on the ice. If they want me to play on Saturday, I guess I’ll play.”
Question: Did you hear from any of your teammates in the last couple days? Anyone tell you, “Come on, we need you,” that kind of thing?
DOUGHTY: “I talked to a lot of the guys throughout this entire time. All the guys, they all were wishing I was there obviously, but they also knew I had to do what I had to do. I know they’re really excited that, finally, this is done, because I know they were missing me as much as I was missing them.”
Question: Have you been following what’s been going on in camp, with that Voynov kid who has been playing well?
DOUGHTY: “I checked the scores out, with the few exhibition games there. I’ve heard Voynov (is doing well) and that’s great. He’s a young guy who, I think, has a lot of potential and hopefully he can be a part of the team.”
Question: It seems like this ultimately came together quick, maybe even in the last 24 hours, maybe even less. Can you talk about what today was like for you?
DOUGHTY: “Today was an exciting time. There were many calls made, back and forth. I felt like I was on the phone all day, but that’s what it took to get it done. I know both parties are glad that this is finally over with and that I can finally get out of Canada and come back and get the season started. We want to go all the way this year.”
Question: There was a lot of talk, from you and other people, about what was most important to you. What was it, ultimately, that you were sticking to? What was most important to you in this process?
DOUGHTY: “You know, to be honest, what happened there is in the past. I think, as of now, I’m just excited to get this deal done with. I’m going to forget about everything that happened before and just move on. I’m really excited to be a part of the Kings. I never wanted to leave the Kings. That was never an issue. I’ve always wanted to be here. My heart (is with) all the guys in the room, the organization, the fans and everything. I think everyone is just really happy to get it done and we’re going to put everything in the past.”
Question: Eight years is not a short period of time. I guess you’re comfortable with committing for that long…
DOUGHTY: “Oh yeah. As I said, I’ve been a Kings fan since I was a kid, and I was never thinking about going elsewhere. I knew it was just a matter of time before it got done, and I’m really excited to be a part of that team for eight years. I hope we can win many Stanley Cups in that time, and I’m going to do everything I can to help lead us to that.”
Question: A lot of fans were frustrated. The team added Mike Richards and other pieces but you were the one piece that was missing. What would you say to the fans right now?
DOUGHTY: “Obviously, it was tough for me, being home here and not being with the guys and with the team, but hockey is a business and things like that happen. I know that we have a great team this year and that we made some great offseason additions. Our team is going to be great this year. I really just can’t wait to get there, and hopefully everyone can put this in the past. I know some people are probably pretty angry at me, but things happen and I’m just really happy.”