Doughty discusses state of the game, routine under quarantine; offers rare post-hockey glimpse

John Crouch/Icon Sportswire

Monday’s Drew Doughty conference call began and evolved like so many Doughty scrums. There was a mature open to the call that even veered towards standoffish when he rejected a lay-up of a question about teammates he’d avoid quarantining with.

But T-Rex doesn’t want to be fed, he wants to hunt. And gradually as the call progressed, Doughty’s pitch amplified as he took aim at a number of league-wide topics with his traditionally candid sincerity. Like others, he rejected the hypothetical playoff format in which the first overall pick at the draft would be awarded to the winner of a tournament of non-playoff teams. “That’s dumb,” he said. And it wasn’t his trash-talking recognition in a recent NHLPA poll that registered with him, it was the fact that he wasn’t voted among the league’s top three defensemen. He endorsed Roman Josi’s Norris Trophy candidacy and, for the first time in his career, began to offer glimpses towards his post-hockey life. (He wants to own an OHL team and has given thought to becoming a broadcaster. LAKI endorses both of these pursuits.)

More on Color Analyst Drew Doughty another time. In his give-and-take with local and national media, Doughty’s personality was similar to what it is on both sides of the whistles. He engaged honestly with verbal swashbucklery consistent with the confidence in how he handles an opposing forecheck. He offered glimpses into his home life as a young father. He weighed in on the state of the game and how “hope” plays and pure speed clash with old school habits, puck protection and physicality. There’s not a more honest and engaging player in the NHL, and it wasn’t long before Drew’s voice was warmed up.

Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

Drew Doughty, on the teammates he’d least like to be quarantined with:
Would I least like to have been quarantined with, is that what you said? Okay, so, I’ve lived with Matt Greene, I lived with Wayne Simmonds and I lived with Lewie. I mean, I wouldn’t mind being quarantined with any of them. I don’t know who would be the one I’d want to be with the least. I don’t really know, I kind of love them all the same so I can’t really put one of those in that spot, sorry.

Doughty, on young Los Angeles defensemen Kale Clague, Toby Bjornfot and Mikey Anderson:
Yeah, I was very impressed with all three of those guys you said. We’ll start with Bjornfot, he really, really impressed me in preseason. It’s hard to [compare] a preseason game to a real regular season game. It’s a pretty big transition, so he got to play a few games at the start there and got that under his belt, so I’m expecting some big things from him next year. Really smart player, very calm, good person, I can’t say enough good things about him. I loved the way he saw the ice and I’m looking forward to working with him and I’m hoping to make him even better than he is right now. When it comes to Mikey Anderson, same thing, good player, but different than Bjornfot. I see more offensive upside in Bjornfot, but Mikey Anderson just seems like, he’s very calm too, makes good plays. I’d say more defensive than Bjornfot but very impressed with his game and the way he is off the ice as well. Kale Clague, he can skate like the wind, the way he can move those feet, that’s kind of the way defensemen are going in the league these days. They’re looking for guys that can move their feet, go end-to-end and stuff like that, rather than good defenders. Kale’s very good at that, you saw that watching him play. Obviously, we’ve got to work on a little bit of defense with him, but all three of those guys I’m looking forward to them hopefully making the team next year.

Doughty, on his past month:
We basically [left LA] as soon as we possibly could. The main reason for that is back home we have a little bit bigger piece of land, so for our kids, there’s just more stuff to do, more stuff in the backyard and we can stay quarantined and not have to see anybody with all this land we have back home in London. That was one of the main reasons we came back and we obviously want to be close to our families. I know it’s hard to see our family members, I haven’t been able to see my grandparents, I saw them from 10 feet away when I went by their house, so that was the main reason we wanted to come home. As for training, I luckily ordered some weights for home last summer, I luckily had those here or else I would have never had anything at home, any weights, because I usually go train with a trainer at his gym in London. I’ve been on Amazon a lot since the first day I got home, just ordering workout equipment to make sure I had everything I needed at home and stay in shape, and I know everyone on the team has been doing that. We’re hanging in there, kids keep us busy. I mean, it sucks, but we’re making the best of it.

Doughty, on communication between the players and coaches:
We’ve been on conference calls as a team a couple times, but that’s about it. Besides that, we have to make some decisions when it comes to NHLPA stuff, on votes and things like that, so I keep in touch with our head rep and a lot of the veterans, we keep talking about it. I also talk to a lot of guys on other teams too, just seeing what their teams are thinking, seeing what they’re hearing. We’ve got nothing but time, so lots of time to talk to people right now.

Doughty, on whether added time at home has provided a “silver lining” for a young father:
Yeah, for sure. During the season, it’s tough on our wives, man. I’m pretty strict with needing to be able to sleep and [my wife] allows me to do that. She’s up with the kids every time they’re crying or whatever it may be, and for the most part, taking care of them because I’d be at practice or at games or whatnot. I’m really happy I’ve been able to take a little bit off her shoulders and help as much as I can. Getting up at night and just spending time with them. Once you have a kid for the first time, you realize it’s the best thing about life. Not that hockey has taken a back seat or anything, but my family will always be number one for me, so I’m happy to spend the time with them.

Doughty, on what he’s missed the most while in quarantine:
I just miss seeing the guys. As much as it’s fun playing in front of fans and playing in games, some of the best parts of hockey are just being in the locker room with the guys, I’m sure you guys have heard that from guys already, but that’s what you miss. Going to the room, looking forward to just laughing the whole time, hearing stories from the young guys, and the old guys about their kids or whatever it may be, that’s the best part about hockey. I know when I retire one day, I’ll obviously miss playing in front of the fans, just playing hockey in general, but the thing I’ll miss [most] is just going to work and being with a great group of guys every day. That’s what I really, really miss about it and obviously having a routine, that helps out with it every day. [Reporter: Almost everyone I’ve talked to that’s retired from any sport misses that camaraderie and everything that goes along with it.] Oh yeah, that’s the best part about hockey. If the guys happened to have a nice dinner the night before, nothing’s better than coming to the rink the next morning and talking about that, just laughing about all that stuff. I miss the guys a lot.

Doughty, on forwards and defensemen on the Kings that caught his attention the most:
Defense, I’ll go with Matt Roy. I always knew he was a decent player, pretty calm, good defensively, but I didn’t realize that he had the offensive upside he had, I was really impressed with his season. I don’t know how he ended up being the plus in the plus/minus department, besides stealing all the pluses from me. He really impressed me and he’s a great guy and a hard worker. He’ll be a guy that we’ll want to keep around in our organization for a long time. On forward, a guy that really impressed me – I’m drawing blanks with who the hell is on our team right now – I was impressed with Lizzo. Very good professional, good player, works his tail off. As much as Adrian didn’t start off the year well, I think we can see what he’s going to be able to do for us, I believe in that kid more than probably anyone. I’m drawing blanks on who else is on our team right now.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

Doughty, on what he’d like to see changed in the NHL upon its return:
I mean, selfishly, I would like to see the game go back to the way the game was kind of thought before. Now, the game is just about run and gun, flipping pucks out of your zone, shooting them off the glass, getting it up and getting it on the forecheck, whereas when I first came into the league, it was more about possession with the puck and making little plays down low, making plays tape-to-tape to break in, not making a play to the tape to chip it in. That’s the way the game’s gone and it has increased, I think, goalscoring a little bit, fans like to see the speed and stuff like that. I think I’m more built for the old game, so that’s the only thing I’d like to see changed.

Doughty, on any rise in “hope” plays, and whether he’d prefer the game favored puck possession again:
100%. You know, back in the day, maybe a guy that wasn’t so fast but could think the game, they were on everyone’s team because they were making the good plays. When you’re a smart player with the puck, you’re usually a smart player without the puck, but now if you have a really smart player who can’t skate, they’re going to go take the guy who can’t think the game at all but can skate 100 miles-per-hour. I really wish the game would go back to the way it was. As a hockey player growing up my whole life playing hockey, I think that’s the type of game I respect more than this run and gun, ‘hope’ game. That’s the way the game’s going though, and you’ve got to adjust as a player and just accept the way it is. Everything changes, the game changes, and you’ve just got to adapt and change. As much as I want it to go back to the old way, I don’t think it’s going to.

Doughty, on thoughts to being more visible across hockey and broadcasting his personality:
I mean, I think I’d be good at it but I don’t think it’s for me. I think I’d be decent at broadcasting, just because I understand the game and I understand everyone’s systems and stuff like that, so I’d be really good at picking those apart and making the fans aware of little things like that. To be honest, I don’t really know what I’d want to do. I think when I’m done I want to move back to London. My dream is to own an OHL team. I know that’s a stretch, but I don’t know about broadcasting. For me, being on video in this period in time, I maybe will do it but for right now, I want to keep me and my family off the video calls.

Doughty, on his daily routine during quarantine:
I’ve got a bit of a routine going. I wake up around 7 – 7:30, wake up the kids. Usually have two coffees before breakfast now and then eat breakfast a little bit later. Then, one of my kids goes down for a nap, I usually get a few video games in there. I’ve been playing MLB The Show, so I play that for a little bit, then the kid gets up, I play with the kids for a little while and eat lunch. They both go for a nap after lunch, so then I usually get a workout in at that time. After I’ve done my workout, the kids get up, kind of play with them for a little bit, usually take them in the backyard and while they’re playing around I’m chipping golf balls or something like that. I’ve got a tennis court in my yard too, so I’ve been trying to hit balls, trying to get active. I have dinner, put the kids to bed and finally get to sit down with just me and my wife and either watch Netflix or there’s a few shows we’ve been watching. We do that, go to bed and start all over again.

Doughty, on the shows he’s been watching:
We caught up on Homeland, we’re watching the current season of Westworld right now. We finished Ozark. I’m trying to think what else we’ve done. I can’t ever remember, but we’re pretty much seeing everything that’s on TV to see right now.

Doughty, on the challenges of staying motivated and how quarantine has affected his workouts:
100%. I think that’s the biggest challenge. Because you’re so bored and you’re locked up at home, it’s easy to go workout because you’ve got nothing else to do. If we were able to be going out and doing other things, it’d be really hard to stay motivated, going into the gym every day and trying to workout, not knowing when you could possibly play next, but because we have nothing to do and we’re locked up at home, it’s pretty easy to get your workout in.

Doughty, on whether rollerblading could assist leg workouts, given the lack of ice:
I mean, I guess that would probably be the best way to keep your hockey legs in shape, because no matter what you do off the ice in your offseason training, you could be the best guy on the bike or the best guy on any type of cardio equipment, it doesn’t translate to what you do on the ice at all. Unless you get a lot of skating in before camp, you’re not going to be in hockey shape at all. I guess, I never thought of that, that might be something I have to look into.

Doughty, on being voted both the best and worst trash-talker in the recent NHLPA poll:
I mean, those ones I don’t really care about. The only one I care about was the defenseman one. Usually, I’m top two or three, but I wasn’t even I don’t think top three or four. That’s the only one I really care to be on at all. When it comes to the chirping, everyone knows I love chirping, it’s a part of my game. It keeps me fired up and I like trying to get under other people’s skin, but for the most part, I’m not going too hard with my chirps, I’m mostly just joking around and bothering guys out there, trying to get them off their game.

Doughty, on his Norris Trophy pick:
I think most people would probably give it to (John) Carlson. For me, it’s a good one, but my vote would go to Roman Josi. [Reporter – Any reason Josi over Carlson?] I just Josi has a lot less of a team than Carlson does.

Doughty, on what Todd McLellan brought to the team in his first year:
Obviously, he’s part of the team. All the players really loved Todd. He’s a hard coach but at the same time he’s a little bit of a player’s coach. He’s very demanding. We know exactly what he wants from his systems. There are no grey areas. We now exactly individually what he wants out of each player. He was great for us and it’s a little bit disappointing that we couldn’t have done any better than we did in the season because the change we had in the coaching staff made it very accessible to be successful this year, so I think they did a great job.

Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

— stick taps to Zach Dooley for assisting with the transcript

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