Olympic fever?

As posted a bit earlier, even with the Kings in first place in the Western Conference, the majority of media questions up north now focus on the upcoming Olympic selections, particularly Canada’s on Dec. 30. Given that the Kings have so many players in contention for spots — Brown, Doughty, Frolov, Handzus, Ivanans, Johnson, Quick, Scuderi, Smyth — Terry Murray was asked if he was concerned that the pending selections would distract his players from focusing on their NHL duties.

MURRAY: “I’m trying to take that away from the players, looking too far ahead. We’re such a young group of guys, and I’m a little nervous that if you start looking down the road. If you’re in October, and you’re looking at what’s going to happen through the Olympics, `Am I going to be on the team?’ In saying that, I know guys, that’s on their mind. I think Dustin Brown has had that on his mind for a while. He’s been a little tense at times, coming off the ice, pressing and frustrated by not scoring. But I think it’s becoming more obvious that he’s going to be there. He’s relaxing, he’s playing better here in the last half-dozen games or so, but I’ve really tried to stay away from that big picture.

“I think, I hope, the players are at the point now where they know they just have to go out and play good for us, and let the cards fall where they may after that. Obviously the goal, for a lot of these guys, is to be on a team, and it’s a special honor to get there. But there’s also the priority of playing for the L.A. Kings and playing well, and I think it’s starting to set in that, `Hey, let’s not worry about that. If it happens, it’s great.”’

That said, asked whether he would make a case for Doughty making Canada’s roster, Murray gave a strong endorsement to his 20-year-old defenseman…

MURRAY: “I think that, the last Olympics, they missed on some players that would have been very big contributors to that team, speaking of the young guys that were just about there, on the bubble. They got to Toronto, in their first time skating before they went overseas and they saw…`Wow, we better reevaluate.’ They stuck with what they decided, before the tournament, and by the end they said, `Jeez, maybe…’ So I think Doughty is a player you can’t overlook. He’s composed. He’s been through the international experience. He’s not in awe of anything that’s going on out there, but (he’s) very respectful, and he would be a good contributor to Team Canada.”

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