There was some introspection following the LA Kings’ first practice in the aftermath of a two-game, two-loss road trip that dropped them to 2-7-1 on the season, and it wasn’t limited to what John Stevens shared with reporters when asked about his job security.
Former Norris Trophy winner and reigning Norris finalist Drew Doughty also weighed in on a number of topics – playing with emotion, his own temperament, skating alongside Alec Martinez – and, true to form, was honest, open and reflective.
“I’m one of the guys that can channel [emotion] in the wrong direction, but usually I use my frustration in the right way, and I just kind of just shift and try and play even harder,” Doughty said. “I think if we all just come together and just compete as hard as we possibly can and continue to try to build on our game plan and execute it better, that’s how we’ll win hockey games. It comes from within. Nothing’s just going to happen. You’re going to have to play with all the heart you’ve got and everything you have and play like tomorrow is your last game to get us out of this thing, and we need every player to do that, like I said, or else it won’t work.”
Drew Doughty, on aspects of his game he’d like to see improved:
The Toronto game, I was really disappointed with myself. It was a big game for me. I really thought I was going to go into that game and play the best game I’ve ever played in my life. I obviously failed to do that, so I was down on myself for a couple games. I definitely played a few poor games in a row there, but I think I bounced back and played hard and have been playing well and am trying to do all the things the coaches are asking of us. I’ve still got another level and I can still be better, but I know I failed us for a couple games there – the Toronto game and the one after that. I think from there on I’ve been playing much better, but I’ve still got another level.
Doughty, on whether he tries to do too much when the team is in a slump:
Yeah, that’d be one thing about me, but I think it’s better to try to do too much rather than waiting for things to happen. Maybe I fall for that, but I think I’ve been doing a lot of good things. Yeah, I’ve been minus a few games, but if you go back and look at some of those goals, a couple are my fault, but a lot of them, I could’ve maybe done something differently to help it, but some bad bounces went that way. But we’re not blaming it on bad bounces, we’ve just got to play better, and that’s the bottom line. And, yeah, maybe, I do try to do too much at times- [Reporter: And it wasn’t necessarily pointed directly at yourself – it was just when times are going like this, when teams are in a leadership group-] That’s how all of us, I’m sure, feel. We feel like it’s on us, which it is on us, so we want to go out there and make a difference. Sometimes the difference is just keeping things simple and helping the other guys around you. I’ve tried both ways on this losing streak and haven’t found the right one yet, so I’m just going to try to go out there and just be me, just be myself and play well and try to help all the guys around me as much as possible.
Doughty, on skating with Alec Martinez:
Yeah, me and Marty, I thought we actually did well together last game. We weren’t on for many chances – I don’t know if any chances, really – against. We were moving the puck well, but sometimes they’ve got us spread out, the pairs. Derek is right now my favorite guy to play with just because I’m so familiar with him and I’ve played with him for so long. It’s good to have him back. I think the team is best when me and Forbs are together.
John Stevens, on why the Martinez-Doughty pairing hadn’t been deployed regularly, and the impetus to use them together against Minnesota on Thursday:
We inserted another right-shot in our lineup. The team’s not have success, and we’re going to try different things to give guys opportunities. We gave LaDue an opportunity to come in and play. Marty’s had great success on the left side when he played with Matt Greene, so the fact that we had another right-shot coming in our lineup, and we just felt that Muzzin and Paulie had played pretty well together and we liked Walker and Dion in that game in Dallas and we thought, ‘why not?’ I mean, Marty’s a veteran guy. He played in that pair with Greener when we had a good run and Marty was a young player in the league. We haven’t had as many right-shot players. Marty, to his credit, has worked hard. Had never played the right side and worked hard to be able to play the right side, but there wasn’t a whole lot of thought going into that decision based on anything more than the fact that we could split up the lefts and rights and it should be an effective pair for us. [Reporter: But you’ve worked with Marty and Drew for basically a decade now. Was there any thought five, six, seven years ago or at any point to ever try that out? I mean, they might not even be there tomorrow.] They might not. You never know. We track chances, what happens when they’re on the ice, who’s playing against who. The thing is: Drew’s had a lot of partners since I’ve been here. He’s been with veteran guys and done really good, he’s been with kids, he’s been really good, he’s been with call-up guys, he’s been really good. It just seems like Drew has the ability to make everybody better, and Marty has the ability to play on both sides of the puck in a lot of situations. We have found partners that have been good fits for Drew, which allows us to utilize Marty in other places. It’s a process that we’ll continue to evaluate.
-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI