A few days back, in the echo of the Rob Scuderi hit, we talked about hip checking, and since the hit, Drew Doughty has been piling up hip checks. He’s had a least one notable hip check in each of the past three games, not the Scuderi upside-down variety but just solid checks along the boards. I asked Doughty about his thoughts on delivering hip checks…
DOUGHTY: “I think it’s really — I don’t know the exact word — but a really useful hit. You want to keep that guy outside, and you don’t want him to cut into the middle, so as long as you have good gap and make him go to the outside, it’s pretty tough for a forward to get by a hip check. As long as you aren’t getting too low, and making a guy flip or whatever, it’s a strong play. You just kind of hold the guy up, and the tracker can get the puck. The last few games, I’ve had some good opportunities to make some. It’s my favorite hit to make, so I’ll continue to do that if I can.”
Question: How tough is it to get the timing exactly right?
DOUGHTY: “It’s pretty tough, because you almost have to wait until he’s almost by you. If you show that you’re curling in for that hip check early, he’s going to cut through the middle, put the puck through your skates or under your stick, and he’s going to cut through the middle and have pretty much a breakaway on net. You kind of have to wait until he’s almost by you, and then just at that right second, you just take that one hard push and get low and make sure you get your butt on him.”
Question: Why do you think you’ve been able to deliver so many of them recently?
DOUGHTY: “It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying to do them, even last year and the start of the season. It’s just that lately, the guys have been taking me wide or trying to take me wide. I’ve got a little more confidence in doing them. I remember one time last year, I tried doing it and the guy cut into the middle on me, so I kind of stayed away from it for a bit, but now that I’ve kind of got it down pat again, I have a lot of confidence in doing it and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to make them, especially the last game.”