Learned in today’s discussion with Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter: Carter’s dad coached Doughty’s North London Nationals team in minor, triple-A hockey in their hometown of London, Ontario.
“Drew was pretty young but I remember going to practices with him and stuff and seeing Drew out there,” said Carter, who also noted Doughty played forward at the time. “Drew was just as good back then as he is now, so not much has changed.”
Some 20-plus years later, the two Londoners will represent the Los Angeles Kings as All-Star Game hosts.
“It’ll be fun. Hopefully I get a good reception. I’d like to think that I would,” Carter said. “I’m sure it’ll be exciting for the fans, you know, they get to see everybody throughout the year, but everybody on the ice at the same time, I’m sure it’ll be a highly-skilled event, so it should be exciting for them and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Carter was named to his second All-Star Game, Doughty his third. As a member of Team Pacific last season, Doughty and Kings teammate Jonathan Quick were part of a group that beat the Central Division in the semi-final game before edging the Atlantic Division 1-0 in a final that saw Jonathan Quick and John Gibson split the shutout as Corey Perry provided the game’s only goal off assists from Daniel Sedin and Brent Burns. This year, the winner of the tournament will again split a $1-million pot.
The odd bedfellows produced by a divisional tournament – see: primary actors Quick, Gibson, Perry, Sedin and Burns – and the shedding of in-season rivalries are part of the appeal of the tournament to many of the players.
“Yeah I would say that’s the best part,” Doughty said. “No matter how much you might have a little bit of hatred for a player, when you get there everything’s put aside and you get to know each other on a personal level. One thing I’m really excited about is one of my best friends Wayne Simmonds made the team, too, so we’ll be reunited in LA and we’re going to have a little bit of fun with that.”
Jeff Carter, on the All-Star nomination:
Yeah it’s good. It’ll be a fun weekend. All-star games, I’ve been to one so I’ve experienced it a little bit but it was a lot of fun. It’ll be a little different with it in LA and the Kings hosting it and you get to do it in front of our fans so it’ll be a good weekend.
Carter, on the 3-on-3 format and Doughty’s reference to last year’s tournament being tiring:
Yeah, well I mean, he did it last year so I know just playing regular season 3-on-3 it can be tiring but I think they made the game short enough and enough guys on the bench that it’ll be fun.
Carter, on what Drew Doughty has meant to the Kings this year:
Yeah, he’s great. Obviously he’s, you know, Drew is Drew. We know what he brings to the team and he should be at every All-Star Game, really. He’s one of the top D in the league and he deserves everything that he’s got over the last few years and he’s really took another step for us and became a real leader in the room and it’s good to see him get recognized.
Carter, on whether this season feels different than any other season he’s had in the NHL:
Not really. I don’t really do anything different. I think when Kopi got hurt there was a chance for some guys to step up and that’s kind of the way I looked at it from my point of view but things have been going well for myself and my line personally. Pucks have been going in the net and creating some offense, so hopefully we’ll keep going.
Carter, on whether there is a particular drill he’d like to take part in during the skills competition:
I don’t know. If you watch my game there’s not a whole lot of skill in my game, it’s skating and shooting so hopefully they keep me out of the shootout competition and the trick shots and all that.
Carter, on what he’d like to see Doughty compete in during the skills competition:
I mean, the guy can do everything. You watch him out there. He can skate, he can shoot, puck-handling. You know, we don’t get to see him too often in shootouts but I’m sure if he has a chance and has some time to think of something he can pull something out pretty good.
Carter, on whether he enjoys the recognition of an All-Star Game:
I mean it’s nice, obviously. Every time something like this — if I didn’t get picked I wouldn’t be losing any sleep over it, I’m going to be honest with you. You know, that’s three or four days at home with the family, but it’s nice to get recognized, especially with it being right here. It’s easy for us, we don’t have to go anywhere, so it’s good.
Carter, on whether he changed his mentality when Kopitar was injured:
I mean, no one really had to say anything. We obviously know what Kopi brings to this team and any time you lose your top forward it’s a chance for a lot of guys to elevate their game and just really show what you can do. That’s the way I looked at it. I didn’t change anything in my game, but it’s a big opportunity. You know, there’s more ice time available and whatnot, so that’s pretty much it.
Drew Doughty, on playing in the All-Star Game in his home rink:
Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. You know, to be able to do it in our home arena in front of our home fans, obviously that’ll be a lot of fun. It’s exciting playing in front of these fans every night and now to have that time with them for the All-Star Game will be cool, too, just getting to meet different players and kind of putting everything aside that happens in the season and kind of just getting to know everyone there.
Doughty, on celebrating with Jeff Carter:
Yeah, it’s really cool. You know, I’ve known obviously Jeff for a long time as his dad coached me when I was kid back home in London and we grew up right around the corner from each other so for us to spend another time like this together, we’ve spent obviously two Cups and a gold medal together too so now it’s just another one that we’re adding to the resume together.
Doughty, on what Carter has meant to the Kings this season:
Yeah he’s played awesome. Obviously he’s the only guy really scoring and he’s been basically the majority of our offensive production. He’s playing well on both ends of the ice too and working hard and setting a good example for all the rest of our players so he’s very deserving of making this All-Star Team and if he wasn’t on it, it wouldn’t be right.
Doughty, on what aspect of his game he’s most proud of at this point in the season:
Yeah just, I think I’ve been playing really good defensively, especially the last month and a half. Ever since we kind of started the trip in Buffalo with a tough game I’ve felt like my game’s been at probably the highest it’s ever been. Maybe not putting up the points I’d like to put up but defensively I feel great. I have a great D-partner in Derek Forbort who I think we’ve gelled great together and we’ve done a great job. We haven’t been scored on a lot against which is our main goal every night. We go out there not wanting to be scored on one time, and we’ve done a good job of that.
Doughty, on whether he likes the 3-on-3 All-star game format:
You’re not going to see too many guys that aren’t out there in 3-on-3s, so it’s going to be tough. It’s tough, it’s tiring but no, I do like it a lot more. It opens up the ice and it creates more goals and you know, you kind of stand out if you’re not trying as hard as you possibly can so you kind of gotta.
Doughty, on what he expects his reception to be like over the weekend:
Yeah, obviously with us having it here there’s probably going to be, like you said, a little extra attention on me and Carts being at it and we’re going to probably have to do a few extra things but it’s worth it. It’s giving back to the city and giving back to the fans and the organization so it’s something that we’re really happy to and we’ll do whatever we need to do to make things go smoothly.