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Kings' Doughty Quickly Becoming One Of NHL's Best

Sarah Sotoodeh |
November 16, 2010 | 3:13 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Drew “Dewy” Doughty has every reason to be cocky.

He has a gold medal (tucked under his favorite Wayne Gretzky pillow, I’m sure), he was nominated for the Norris Trophy last season (he should have won), and he was one of 20 players picked by the NHL to fly to New York to shoot promotional commercials for the new hockey season. He was photographed for Vanity Fair (by Ryan Miller no less) and is featured in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Doughty's presence on the ice as a defenseman and as a legitimate scoring power makes him one of the top players in the league. His agility and speed on the ice only add to his greatness.

But he doesn’t let his success go to his head. Even with all his accomplishments and recognition, Doughty maintains a humble attitude, providing yet another reason to respect him as a player. (His often self-deprecating humor doesn’t hurt either.) 

Now entering his third season in the league, the 6-foot, 212-pound defensemen was chosen by the Kings in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft.

Last season, Doughty played all 82 games and averaged 25:58 minutes on the ice, the highest average on the team. He scored 16 goals (with five of the goals being game-winners), and he had 43 assists and 157 hits. He finished the season ranked first among NHL defensemen in game-winning goals, third in points, second in goals (tied), fifth in assists, and tied for second in power-play goals.

During last season’s playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks, Doughty played 27:25 minutes per game, scored three goals, had three assists (two of which led to game-winning goals) and blocked 12 shots.

And he’s only 20.

It’s easy to forget about his age, but not all the time. He recently admitted he was almost late for the gold medal game at the Olympics because he had overslept. Apparently, his alarm clock didn’t wake him.

“I missed both busses, the early and the late but I wasn’t late,” he told The Province (a Canadian newspaper). “We were told we had to be at the rink two hours before the game and I got a cab over and made it on time.”

Luckily, it didn’t affect the game and, well, you know the rest of the story.

Growing up in Canada, Doughty played hockey and soccer at a young age, helping him develop quick reflexes and excellent skating ability. His technical expertise on the ice (he’s able to do a spin-a-rama) and his dedication to the game are pretty unbelievable. He is also known for keeping the laces on his skates mostly untied, which is practically unheard of in hockey, so he can be more aerodynamic during the game.

Last season, Doughty was hit in the face by a deflected puck during the second period of a game against the St. Louis Blues. By the third period he was back on the ice, with his front teeth bonded together.

The worst part of the ordeal for Doughty was going to the dentist.

“It sucks to be in the dentist’s chair and get your teeth fixed, but that’s part of the game,” he told Rich Hammond of the LA Kings Insider.  “We have to deal with it.”

This season, Doughty sat out six games with a concussion after being hit in the jaw by Carolina Hurricanes forward Erik Cole on Oct. 20.

“I just wasn’t feeling right,” he told NHL.com.  “With an injury like that you don’t want to rush back.”

He's as tough as they come, but, like everyone faced with the realities of a concussion, he does have his limits.  By recommendation of the trainers, Doughty now wears a mouth guard, which is said to help distribute the force of a hit in the face, therefore reducing the risk of sustaining another concussion.

During the Nov. 11 game against the Dallas Stars, Doughty was hit by Stars forward Adam Burish.  His helmet came off and his head slammed into the glass.  I was at the game and saw firsthand the hit—Doughty was down for a few seconds and looked dazed as he got up slowly, holding a hand to his head.  Fans were silent as he skated to the bench, where a trainer stood waiting, gauze in hand.

“I just got a scratch on my face, but besides that, I’m fine,” he told Hammond.

After the trainer cleaned up the minor cut, Doughty was back in the game for the remainder of the third period, showing yet again how tough he is.

That toughness, combined with his youth and agility, will give the Kings the extra push needed this season to make it back to the playoffs.

To reach writer Sarah Sotoodeh, click here.

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