Detroit Coach Mike Babcock seems to like Drew Doughty
Greetings from frigid Detroit, where the temperature is below 20 and there's a nice little wind whipping around the snow that fell Sunday night.
The Red Wings just concluded their morning skate at Joe Louis Arena in preparation for Monday’s game against the Kings, and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was a popular topic when Detroit Coach Mike Babcock met with reporters.
Babcock coached Team Canada to the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics and was more than a little impressed by Doughty, who excelled at the games. Doughty started as Canada's seventh defenseman and worked his way up to the top pairing.
Asked Monday what he likes about Doughty, Babcock practically gushed.
“He’s just better and smarter than everybody else,” Babcock said. “He’s just been touched by God and he’s been given a gift and he seems to like hockey.
“What I like about him is when he creates offense it’s not foolish. He’s not a risk-taker, he’s a game-breaker. And so he waits for the right times and he can play against the best people defensively. And he can play a ton of minutes. And he’s got a big heavy … butt. Sorry. So he can box people out and play the game.”
Doughty hasn't been playing like that this season: He has only one goal and seven points in 21 games. But maybe the sight of his Olympic coach on the other bench will inspire him Monday night.
Babcock also said Kris Draper will be out of Detroit’s lineup and Jiri Hudler will be in.
As for the Kings, forward Brad Richardson (upper-body injury) didn’t accompany the team on this five-game trip and left wing Marco Sturm is due to undergo a physical Monday in Los Angeles. If he passes, the Kings’ trade for him will be official.
More later from the Kings’ skate.
-- Helene Elliott in Detroit