It’s a question similar to the one a child might ask from the back seat at the start of a family vacation: is Drew Doughty there yet? In this case, “there’’ means back to the elite level he showed in 2009-10 and in parts of last season. So far, reviews have been mixed. Doughty missed most of training camp because of a contract dispute, then had an early-season injury, and has two goals and five assists in 15 game so far. That’s similar to his 15-game start last season, when he had one goal and six assists. Asked for his assessment of Doughty’s recent play, Terry Murray was not entirely complimentary.
MURRAY: “I think Drew, he gets his game to a pretty good level for a game or two, and then there’s a little bit of a lull there that kind of takes over. We’re just trying to get him into the games, playing lots in critical situations, and get his game to the level that we want it to get to. He’s a very determined guy. He’s a very positive player. When you have conversations with him, there’s real good feedback coming from him. Just keep pushing it along. Missing training camp is a big deal. It takes time, and then unfortunately you have an injury and it’s a setback, so you’ve got to work through it and stay positive with it and, on the other side, good things will happen.’’
The much-anticipated pairing of Doughty and Jack Johnson on defense hasn’t led to much so far, at least in even-strength situations, but Murray seems inclined to stay with it for now, with other pairings of Willie Mitchell with Slava Voynov and Rob Scuderi with Matt Greene.
MURRAY: “I didn’t like much of what happened in the Detroit game. That includes everybody, though. It was one of those games where Detroit came out with a lot of determination. They lost three in a row, and they’re coming with everything they’ve got, and pushed things to where we were kind of standing and watching, I felt. So it’s tough to evaluate any one pair, because when you play a team like that, you have to have all 20 guys on board, and the five guys on the ice at that time have to be playing very well. So we’ve got to regroup here and get back on track, ready to go tomorrow.’’