Kings morning skate: All-Drew Doughty edition
If there was any doubt the Kings would be taking a slow approach with Drew Doughty, their $56-million defenseman, that notion was immediately dismissed by Coach Terry Murray.
“Gas pedal right to the floorboards out there in practice,” Murray said on Friday in El Segundo after the Kings’ morning skate.
Sound like a sports car approach?
“Lamborghini approach,’’ Murray said, smiling.
It was duly noted that the kid could afford one. Several, in fact, after reaching an eight-year agreement with the team on Thursday night.
“I’m sure he can,” Murray said. “I’m sure he’ll be paying for the first team dinner whenever the guys get out together.”
“He’s a young man, a very gifted young man,” Murray said. “He’s blessed with a lot of skill, a lot of talent. A critical part of our organization. We’re all very happy he’s back on board with an extended contract. To me that shows the commitment that [owner] Mr. [Philip] Anschutz is making to this team.
“…Now it’s our job as a coaching staff and a team to say, ‘Thank you’ by being a good team.”
Doughty will not play for the Kings in their exhibition on Saturday in Las Vegas but could get a few minutes of playing time in their final preseason game, on Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany.
He became the NHL’s third-highest-paid defenseman –- in terms of average salary -– and Murray did not think there would be any lingering animosity from the fans because of Doughty’s holdout.
“There shouldn’t be any animosity whatsoever,” Murray said. “This is just business in pro sports today. Players and the agent doing what they feel they feel they need to do in order to get a contract resolved. It happens. He was not [saying,] ‘I don’t want to play.’ He wants to be an L.A. King. That was always his priority to stay here and be a player for this hockey team. He didn’t miss time or any games.”
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Drew Doughty. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.