June 5, 2014 2:20 pm

Sutter describes how Doughty will continue to improve

Drew Doughty has drawn more of a spotlight than any other participant in the Stanley Cup Final it seems, and in Game 1 plenty of eyes were focused on the Kings’ world class defenseman. He was pickpocketed by Benoit Pouliot when trying to create a shooting lane at the top of the key in the first period in a play that resulted in a breakaway and a Rangers goal, and midway through the second period dangled the puck brilliantly between his legs and around Derek Dorsett before beating Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game at two.

Amongst the rest of his near-27 minutes on the ice, Drew Doughty did as Drew Doughty does – he faced the opposition’s top players, he started a heavy amount of shifts in the defensive zone, he blocked a pair of shots and he spent six minutes and 52 seconds on special teams duties.

Of course, before Game 1, Sutter said that Ryan McDonagh, a terrific soon-to-be 25-year-old versatile defenseman, “is the Rangers’ Doughty.” It’s hefty praise derived from McDonagh’s heavy usage against the other team’s top players and his poise, comfort and leadership in all situations.

It also brought about this article:

And these hitting-the-nail-on-the-head responses:

To be fair, the original article more or less came to a similar – if not as forceful – conclusion.

Some common requests Sutter receives are to compare Doughty to previous periods in his development, and discuss ways in which he has matured, or grown, or developed his leadership qualities.

“He plays a little more, probably, for sure,” Sutter said when a similar question was asked on Thursday. “He didn’t kill penalties. Now he kills some penalties. He still plays against top players a lot. He’s a young player. When you do all the analytics on athletes, he’s a long ways from being as good as he’s going to be, just because of his age.”

A “long ways” from reaching his potential? When asked to expand on that, Darryl hit a stride on one of his familiar stream-of-consciousness scouting reports.

“You learn to manage your ice time better, you learn to manage what’s going on on the ice, you become a better shot selection guy, you become a better penalty killer, you become a better power play guy, you learn the league better, you learn players on the other team better, you learn nuances of star players, you learn to handle the schedule better in terms of your practice habits and your nutrition and what you do on game days, all that stuff. What can you do better? As I said, there’s a big difference between being 25 and 35.”

Good news, Kings fans! There’s still plenty of room between Doughty’s head and the ceiling at Staples Center.

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