Kings' game-day skate: volume increases leading into Game 3
Now we have a playoff series.
The Kings and the Canucks, who split the first two games at Vancouver by identical 3-2 overtime scores, are yapping at each other full blast as they build a healthy hatred that’s adding spice to what has been a hard-played and compelling series.
“I think we’ve hated each other for a while. As a team, not that we don’t enjoy playing the Canucks, we just don’t like them as a team,” said defenseman Drew Doughty, who has been getting an earful from Canucks winger Alex Burrows.
“They’re a tough team to play against and they have a lot of those guys that are chirpy and get under your skin. We just have to block that out and keep playing our game.”
To a point, though. Kings Coach Terry Murray said Monday he had cautioned agitating winger Richard Clune not to duplicate his antics from Game 2, when Clune heckled Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo during the pregame warm-ups.
But the Canucks apparently haven’t issued the same warning to Burrows, who has been whispering sweet somethings to Doughty in hopes of getting the precocious defenseman off his game.
It worked in Game 1, when Doughty took a retaliation penalty, but Doughty had smartened up by Game 2. And he won’t get fooled again in Game 3 tonight at Staples Center, he said, though he declined to say exactly what Burrows has been saying.
“Nothing specific. He’s just trying to kind of get under my skin,” Doughty said after the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo. “We have battles back and forth. Even some from last year. So we don’t really like each other too much on the ice.
“It’s a lot of fun. I’ve just got to stay away from that stuff and not get myself in the box. It’s fun. It’s part of the game and you’ve just got to deal with it.”
Doughty said Burrows has mostly been yapping about hockey stuff, not personal stuff. “I don’t think he knows too much personally about me so it’s kind of just hockey-related. I’m not going to say too many of the things he says about me.”
Not even one? “I block them out,” Doughty said.
“You just ignore him. In that first game I kind of got involved in it and I ended up getting a penalty and we had a five-minute power play, so I was off of that for three minutes. It could have been costly. If I was out there hopefully I could have done something to score.
“In the second game I did a lot better and stayed away from it and didn’t let it affect my game.”
Clune, he said, has displayed a singular talent for yapping.
“He’s a good chirper. He’s really good at it. That’s why we have him on the team. That’s why he’s in the lineup,” Doughty said. “He’s there to do something Burrows is trying to do to us. He’s done a great job of it in the last game and today I’m expecting the same thing.”
Murray said the yapping is good. “Emotion is huge,” he said.
But at the right time. “It has to be reined in in the warm-ups,” Murray said. “You just can’t have that part in the warm-up. You’re out there to get prepared for the game. It’s not where you cruise the red line and you’re going to be jabbing each other with verbal shots or throwing pucks at each other, like it used to be years ago. That’s been cleaned up.
“I talked to Clune about that [Sunday]. He’s got to rein that part of it in. But the emotional part of it, that’s his game. If he does not show the emotion, whether it’s through physical play or chirping a little bit, what’s he going to do for me? How’s he going to contribute to the game.
“It has to be under control all the time. You cannot let the opponent turn the table on you and bring it back the other way where it’s going to cause a concern.”
The Kings’ lineup is expected to be the same as in Game 2. The Canucks have decided to scratch penalty-prone defenseman Andrew Alberts and replace him with Aaron Rome.
More soon at www.latimes.com/sports
-- Helene Elliott