I’ve got a 2:00 p.m. appointment, so there will be a brief delay in the heavy content to come. But I spoke with Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Adrian Kempe and Drew Doughty in the dressing room, and
we’re all waiting to meet with we just met with Willie Desjardins, who put the team through a little bit of a conditioning skate after a 50-minute practice. Also, be on the lookout for stories from the LA Times, LA Daily News and The Athletic, all of whom will be pumping out some interesting reporting and content today.
But before we go much farther, I wanted to share some Drew Doughty sentiments, which were honest, as usual. I’ll start with his response to my question over how the identity of the team has changed from previous years.
“It’s way different,” he answered. “I think that’s one of the things I try to tell the guys. When I used to go to these All-Star Games and these Team Canada things, every time I’d go in there, these guys would just come up to me and be like, ‘God, I hate playing your team. Like, I absolutely hate playing your team.’ For one, we were always physical. We were in your face, we worked as hard as we possible could, and we gave their star players nothing. When you shut down star players and don’t give them opportunities, they get frustrated with themselves, and they don’t perform their best way. I haven’t heard other players talk about our team like that in a good two or three years. We need to get back to that, and yeah, we don’t have the same guys, but we have the same core and we know how those older guys used to do it, so we can teach these young guys how to do it, and they’ve just got to go out there and do it.”
Drew Doughty, on what comes next after the team fired its coach and traded a key figure:
We win some hockey games. This is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my hockey career, all of us have ever had to deal with in our hockey careers. You want to put a finger on it and you want to know exactly why this is happening, but it’s hard to figure out. It just has to come within. We can’t be waiting around for guys to make it happen. We can’t all be looking at Kopi for him to take the reins and take it over. We all need to individually just pick it up ourselves, and one-by-one we need to try to do exactly what we’re supposed to go out there and do and not wait around for other guys to do it for us. We’ve got to take the bull by the horns and do it ourselves. And that’s the biggest problem I see with our team right now. [Reporter: Everybody’s waiting for somebody else.] I think so. Even myself, I’m going out there, I’ve been friggin’ minus almost every game, it seems like, whether it was an empty net or whatever it may be. I’m going out there thinking, ‘don’t get scored on, don’t get scored on,’ and when you think that way, the bad things happen. So you’ve got to start thinking positive, and I know it’s hard to think positive when we’re losing like this, but that’s the bottom line. When you think negative, negative, things happen.
Doughty, on whether this happened abruptly, or if he could sense challenges seeping in earlier:
I don’t know. I haven’t seen us really perform at all well this season, so I think I kind of saw it coming. I thought last season we were better than the season before that, but still not amazing. I thought we could’ve been better. So, yeah, I didn’t expect this, but I guess in the way we had training camp and the way we started the season, you could see it kind of coming, I guess. But we also thought we would’ve gotten right out of it a lot sooner than this. It’s a frustrating time.
-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI