Our man Alex Kinkopf is in the ground in Columbus, putting stories together and chirping me about the Blue Jackets’ terrible, terrible cannon. He and several other reporters spoke with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty earlier today – Darryl Sutter was scheduled to arrive this afternoon – and passed along several quotes from today’s media day.
The schedule of events this weekend:
Friday, 5:00 p.m. PT
All-Star Game fantasy draft
Saturday, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. PT
All-Star Game skills competition
Sunday, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. PT
Drew Doughty, on whether he thinks three-on-three overtime is good for the league:
We actually played 3-on-3 maybe two games ago, or last game, it was tiring, it was really tiring. You come back on defense and you make a play, and then you’re trying to get up on the play and it’s just continuous 3-on-2 and 3-on-2 and it’s exhausting. I think it would make overtimes finish quicker, and with the way our team has done in the shootout this year, I could go for 3-on-3 overtime. Shootouts are kind of cool for the fans, but it’s kind of a crappy way to lose a point, losing in a shootout, especially when we’ve lost like 11 of them this year.”
Doughty, on why he mentioned this has been his “best season”:
I think my production, I’ve finally been getting some points, which I haven’t been getting since my second year in the league, but I’m playing well both ways. I’m put in all situations, I’m more physical, I’m better defensively, just having more experience I just feel better on the ice. I’m making better plays with the puck, and without it. I feel like I’ve been playing my best.”
Doughty, on how he’s stepped up his physical game:
Basically, that’s because of our coaches. Darryl wants every single guy on our team to play that way, he expects every guy to be a hard checker, to be working as hard as they possibly can. Now that I’m a little older, and more of a leader on our team, I need to show the younger guys and the younger defensemen how to play, and playing physical is one of our team’s mottos.
Doughty, on whether there are there any kinks hockey players use to gain an advantage during a game, stemming from the controversy surrounding the NFL:
No I don’t think so, they have pretty strict rules. Like I know in the past goalies used to have little cheaters on their gear and stuff like that, but now they have it pretty strict and they check the goalies gear so they’re not able to do that, but no, there’s nothing. [Reporter: Not even like cheating on face-offs or something like that?] Oh yeah, they definitely cheat on face-offs, and cheat throughout the game, like I’ll hold someone’s stick or doing something like that. That happens, it’s just part of the game though.
Doughty, on whether he’s “ticked” that he didn’t win the Lou Marsh Award for Canada’s Athlete of the Year:
I wouldn’t say I’m ticked, obviously I would have liked to win, I don’t know what else I really could’ve done to not win, but the person that won it was obviously very deserving at the same time. But no, I’m not ticked, but I would have liked to have won the award.
Doughty, on the possibility of an NHL team in Vegas:
I think that would be cool. I’m not sure how good their fanbase would be from Vegas, but I’m sure people going there to visit would be there and I know the visiting teams would enjoy it a lot. They’ll probably have the best home record in the league over there.
Anze Kopitar, on the Kings’ fatigue:
We’re all professional, we have to get ready for each and every game. This is going to be a good time to kind of recuperate. I know the guys have a few days off here to recharge.
Kopitar, on whether deep playoff runs wear on players:
It does a little bit, but again, you play the game because you love it. Obviously, you want to play meaningful games, and I think for us, that starts now. From here on out, it’s about points, and we’re going to have to collect a few of them.
Kopitar, on who he thinks will be selected first-overall at the ASG draft:
I have no idea. I would pick Drew Doughty.
Kopitar, onwhich forward should be selected first:
That’s a tough one. Well you have to look at the skills too, right? Because we can collect points during the skills competition. I’d go with Ryan Getzlaf.
Kopitar, on whether he’s thought about being selected last-overall:
I’ve thought about it, yeah. I’m sure if that happens, it’s going to be a little bit embarrassing, but that’s the way it is. I think every player is happy to be here. To get picked last, do you still get a car? So it’s not all that bad.
Kopitar, on what kind of experience he looks to get out of the weekend:
I’ve got my Dad here with me, he’s been to a couple now. The first couple of times, you’re still in awe, you don’t know a whole lot of guys the first time around. This time around, I know a few more guys, I think it will be a little more enjoyable just knowing what this weekend brings, and just knowing how to handle yourself around here.
Kopitar, on whether there’s a particular player he’s excited to play with this weekend:
I think Drew and Darryl are on the same team if I’m not mistaken, so I wouldn’t mind going against them. It would be fun.
Kopitar on whether he’d like to see the old All-Star Game format, where the Stanley Cup Champions played against a team of All-Stars:
It would be cool, yeah. Actually I don’t remember that being a format. It must have been before my time. We’re cherry picking here, with 40 of the top players in the league, 45 or 46 if you include the young guys, I don’t think there can be a bad format here.