Hockey returned to Los Angeles, with the opening of training camp on Friday.
And Drew Doughty had plenty to say. Take a look…
Doughty on this coming season – “We just have to rebuild. That’s what we’re going through, obviously. We still think we can compete and earn a playoff spot. It’s going to be a lot of hard work. Older guys are going to have to play better than they did last year and our new guys are going to have to come in and take a step up and help.”
On how bad things were at the end of last season – “It was pretty bad. A lot of that has to do with the players. It’s our responsibility to show up to practice and be professionals every day, and work our bags off in practice. So, yeah, it was messy. Like I said, though, it’s on us.”
On his early conversations with McLellan – “[We talked about] some system change things, that’s about it. And what he expects from the team, it’s really no different than what any other coach has expected. He wants us here to work, and here to learn, and here to play as a team. We’re all here to do that.”
On his early impressions of McLellan – “He’s very demanding. He’s very personable too. You can approach him about anything. He cares about the individual, and every individual in here. At the same time, he’s going to be hard on you, and let you know what you’re doing wrong when you’re doing it. He just wants to make this team better and, at times, you’re not going to like him. At other times, you’re going to love him. That’s just the way coaches are.”
On McLellan being a tough love coach; which he’s liked in the past – “We didn’t have a lot of that last year, a lot of tough love. When I was a young guy in the league, teammates and coaches got on me every day. It was more teammates than coaches. That’s kind of shied away. Guys don’t get on young guys like they used to in the past. I don’t know why that is, but I think with this new coaching staff, everyone is going to be held accountable to the same level.”
On the fact he’s more of a veteran now, so will be giving it to young guys now – “I give it to everyone; in a good way. I’m trying to help them; I’m not trying to embarrass them or anything. I’m trying to help our team win. I want guys to get on me too. I’m not just going to get on young guys, I’m gonna get on Kopi and Brownie or whoever it may be. We need to be a winning team this year. We were embarrassed with the last four seasons. If you ask me, our last – whatever, since we won the last Cup – it’s been ****. We’re ready to go and we need to get on each other, and expect more out of each other.”
On his current expectations for a D partner – “They had me with Ryan. I don’t know how many games he’s had in the league, but I’ve played against him many times and I’ve watched him play. He’s a very smooth skating player, he’s a good puck mover, and he’s responsible on the back end. He had to play with Burnsie a lot [in San Jose]. He’ll be a good fit for me. With Derek, I don’t know what the deal is there. He hasn’t skated, so I’m assuming he’s not starting the season. I’m assuming he’s going to be my partner. I don’t know, though.”
On the different expectations now vs. last year, when the team was expected to be a contender – “I guess we thought we were going to. We picked up Kovalchuk and some other things happened. At first, I thought we were never going to have to go into this rebuilding process. That’s a little bit of what we all thought. And then, here we go – this is what we have to do. We have to rebuild this team and this organization, and make it a winning team again and a playoff team.”
On this being year one of his long-term contract – “I signed here because I like being in LA and I want to make this team a Stanley Cup champion again. That’s all I can say.”
On what ‘buy in’ means to this team – “It’s doing whatever you have to do to help the team win and help your teammates get better… I think everyone has always done that. It’s not like people weren’t buying in last year. We just didn’t know what page to be on. We were bought in and we’re always going to be bought in. There will not be any problems with that.”
On if this process may take longer than people thought at one point – “I think about it every day. I really don’t know what to say, I don’t want to get myself in [trouble]. Like I said before, I just want to bring this team back to where we used to be. The past is in the past. We’re rebuilding; we’re going to be younger. We shouldn’t be surprised if we make trades this season. Whatever happens, happens. We just have to be better.”
On the patience needed this season – “You have to learn to be patient. I think all of us, when we were in the same shoes as those young guys, we wanted the veterans to be patient with us. And they were. It wasn’t until they realized how good you were that they started getting on you all the time. We’re going to have to be patient with guys, especially during camp. We’re learning a bunch of new systems; systems we’ve never played before. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I think it’s going to create a lot more, but we’re going to make mistakes in preseason, for sure. We’re going to try to go into the season fully prepared.”
On if he’s spoken with McLellan about his minutes – “Nothing’s been talked about there. Whatever I need to do, I’ll do. But, obviously, I want to play as much as I can.”
on former players holding the Kings accountable – “Matt Greene used to get on everyone. Oknew he loved me. He brought me in and was like my dad for many years. If I had a bad period, he’d let me know. ‘What the hell are you doing?’ type thing or ‘We need you’ type thing. Like I said, that doesn’t happen as much anymore. Sometimes I think that’s why we’ve gone south. We don’t have those guys that get on guys. I think our veterans need to get on each other, and get on the young guys, on every one.”
On Darryl Sutter being hired as a consultant in Anaheim – “He’s just getting paid. He’s trying to get a job, like he misses the game. I don’t blame him at all. He’s going to know how to – or he’s going to think he knows how to beat us in some ways. And he probably does know a few ways. I guess they have a little bit of an advantage there. But we look forward to playing the Anaheim Ducks every game and we want to win that season series… He loves the game of hockey. He has a great hockey mind. He’s a great coach. As much as things king of went south at the end, and we were getting in arguments and stuff like that, I love Darryl from the bottom of my heart. He’s a great coach, great coach, has a great family, and cared about his players and their families. I love Darryl, even though we butted heads sometimes.”
On the thought of Chris Sutter possibly wearing a Ducks jersey – “He was around all the time, so we loved hanging out with him. I actually miss having him around. I don’t know if he’ll switch. I think he’s still a Kings fan, but we’ll see. He may follow his dad, but that would hurt a bit.”
On the importance of glue guys – “The way the league has gone, you definitely need those glue guys too. You need guys who can think, not just guys who can skate. That’s the way the league is going now, just throw pucks around and skate. Yeah, you need those guys because the game has gone in that direction. But you also need guys who can think, both on the ice and off the ice, guys that can help their teams in the room. Yeah, those glue guys. It’s not really guys that run around that you need anymore, but those glue guys in the locker room are really important. We do have those guys on our team. We just need to do it better and need to learn more from what had here in the past.
On if the players are talking about needing to hold each other accountable more – “We definitely talk about it. Some of our older guys just don’t have that personality to do that; that’s just not at all how they are. And I’m sure some guys don’t like that other guys get on other guys. It’s a very fine line how hard to get on guys and what to say to guys. Now, guys are a little more fragile, so you can’t say as bad of things as you could in the past.”
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