Waking up with the Kings: March 4 - LA Kings Insider

The pistons that power Drew Doughty’s emotionally charged world-class game have become double-sided. Obviously, there were many factors in Saturday’s loss beyond his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Jonathan Quick wasn’t as sharp as he was in, say, the Vegas game, though he dealt with several difficult screens and wasn’t facing a ton of clean attempts on the looks that got past him. Jordan Oesterle, who was good at both ends of the ice, blocked Jake Muzzin’s sure goal with Anton Forsberg out of position, which would have given the Kings a three-goal lead with 12:40 to play. Derek Forbort has been getting in front of a ton of pucks lately, but after blocking Carl Dahlstrom’s shot, put it back into Vinnie Hinostroza’s hands in the middle of the slot. Referee Justin StPierre made a terrible call on Tanner Pearson’s stick check on an off-balance Connor Murphy to set up the game-winner. Murphy didn’t even fall in the direction Pearson’s stick came from, yet it still fooled StPierre. Los Angeles, a top penalty killing team, was unable to buckle down under the rising pressure and allowed two power play goals over the final 10 minutes of the third period. But Doughty’s second penalty, an unsportsmanlike conduct call latched on to a hooking penalty, served as a play in which one player’s emotional outburst overrode the collective needs of a team whose playoff resume was always going to be hanging in the balance of a few points and occurred late in a game the Kings were in clear control of. These are the late-game moments that the Blackhawks, down-and-out this season but still sustained by brilliant talent with a penchant for the clutch, will often be able to take advantage of. Doughty’s exuberance and unadulterated, youthful enjoyment of playing hockey has benefited the Kings so, so many times more than it hasn’t. All one had to do was to look in his eyes during his media availability the day before Game 7 in San Jose in 2014 – more than 24 hours before the game! – for a visual manifestation of his drive and will to push the team to victory. (He articulated it well, too.) On Saturday, though, a worst possible scenario emerged when he took his fourth unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of the season. Two of those penalties were latched on to other calls, and both resulted in power play goals against in narrow losses.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

As far as leadership credentials go, the Kings’ accomplished core boasts two championships and a Western Conference Final deep dive. Looking across the room, and seeing dual champions like Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford and Alec Martinez goes hand-in-hand with the regular reminders that this is an intricately close group, one driven by players who hate losing, play for each other and have used the heights of their success to immediately command the respect of newcomers and draw the frequent reminders that the leadership in the room, through both good times and bad, remains strong. They’ve had conversations with Doughty about the emotional outbursts in the past, and those conversations will continue. “We’ll address it. It’s about the team,” Anze Kopitar said. That conversation, despite the leadership contingent that has been praised so many times on this site and on others, was not heeded in the heat of Saturday’s battle. It’s worth at least a question as to whether the gradual roster atrophy that occurs naturally over time, and the replacement of the types of voices belonging to Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams and the like with younger players who are then expected to assume more of a leadership position, has led to occasional volatility in high-profile moments such as these. Doughty, a part of the leadership committee and an alternate captain, has been one of those players expected to assume more of a grasp of the team’s leadership pull, and by and large, based on accounts both inside and outside the room, has done so admirably over recent seasons. He’s a future slam-dunk Hall of Famer, one of the greatest to ever wear the crown, and his emotional play helps define him as the type of player he is, but there are still issues related to that emotion that can’t serve as catalysts for the opposition. There were other factors that led to defeat on Saturday, but there was also a clear locus from which a familiar script had deviated.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.