April 16, 2012 6:20 pm

Sutter shows trust in Doughty

Drew Doughty has now played 15 career NHL playoff games, and he has led the Kings in ice time in 13 of them. That’s not bad for a 22-year-old defenseman. There’s been plenty of debate about Doughty’s development, particularly this season, but two coaches — Terry Murray and Darryl Sutter — have thought enough of Doughty to give him major ice time, in all situations, in the team’s biggest games in the past three seasons. Doughty seems to have responded well to the midseason coaching change, and Sutter seems to be a fan of Doughty.

SUTTER: “I think he’s going to develop into a top defenseman. He plays a lot of minutes for a young guy. You just don’t instantly become that great player, or top player. You need experience. It’s going to be how he handles it all. He’s done a good job so far in the playoffs.’’

Question: He had that season where he put up a lot of points, but now he’s learning that it’s not just about points…

SUTTER: “You’ve got to learn it. You just don’t learn it in half a season, or two or three years. That’s a big package. There’s guys that are good offensively or good defensively. There’s guys that are penalty killers or good power-play guys. There are guys who can play against certain players but not against top players. Until that’s all managed and manifested at once, that’s how they learn. I don’t know anybody that steps in and does that. Drew Doughty is an awesome kid, and he’s a very coachable kid.’’

Doughty seems invigorated by reaching the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Even during the intensity of this first-round series, he has faced the media with good cheer…

DOUGHTY: “Playoffs is the best. Seeing teams once every couple months, or whatever it may be throughout the season, is definitely a lot different than continually studying the other team over and over and over again. It seems like when we make an adjustment, they’re changing something up too, and we have to make another adjustment. That’s the fun of it. The competitiveness and the rivalry we’re creating with this team right now, it’s great to go out there every night and know that the other team is trying to get under your skin and you’re trying to get under their skin, and it’s just a complete battle out there. It’s tough, and it’s rough on your body and whatnot, but it’s so much fun.’’

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