Do the Kings need more offense from Doughty?

3 Comments

Back in March, when Drew Doughty was mired in a 28-game goal-less slump to start the season, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter delivered one of the quotes of the year in defense of his star blue-liner.

The last thing Sutter wanted to see was Doughty trying to do it all himself.

“Well, if you do that all the time, you’re not a very good player,” said Sutter, per LA Kings Insider. “You’re Brian Campbell in Florida. You’ll be minus-20. And we’ll see you on the highlights, but you’re on a bad team, and you’re a high-minus player.”

Sutter went on to suggest Doughty wasn’t worried about being stuck at zero goals.

“It’s about winning,” he said. “It’s one thing you take from winning a championship – when you talk to the players, they just want to win. It’s not about goals and assists. It’s about winning, and you try and just keep everybody in line.”

But when Doughty finally busted his slump with a goal against the Phoenix Coyotes on March 19, he admitted it was a big relief.

“Oh yeah, it was bothering me a little bit,” he said, per Mayor’s Manor. “I just had to stay positive with myself and with you guys. Yeah, it was obviously frustrating. I’m supposed to be an offensive defenseman, even though I’ve been playing a little bit different role this year. I still want to get points and still get goals. It helps us win games. I was frustrated with myself that I didn’t have one, but now I’m frustrated with myself that I only have one. So I gotta try and get back to it and get a few more.”

Doughty finished the regular season with six goals and 16 assists in 48 games; however, his offensive woes returned in the playoffs, as he managed just two goals and three assists in 18 contests.

Granted, Doughty wasn’t the only King to struggle in that department. Los Angeles averaged just 2.06 goals per game in the playoffs. And let’s face it, a defenseman’s point production is strongly tied to the forwards’ ability to convert on scoring chances.

Also, he did say he’d “been playing a little bit different role this year.” Which would be more of a shutdown role, as the Kings were forced to play without injured Willie Mitchell all season.

But given Doughty’s contract — $56 million over eight years ($7 million cap hit) — it’s fair to ask if the team needs more from the 23-year-old next season. When the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, he had 16 points in 20 games. Probably not a coincidence.

We’ll give the last word on this to the man himself:

“I love playing other team’s top players, but I still want to be able to kick in on the offense when I can.”

Related:

It’s Los Angeles Kings day on PHT

What is wrong with the Sharks?

Getty
Leave a comment

Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

Their struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

Getty
1 Comment

Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.

Video: Friday night fights between Bolts and Red Wings

1 Comment

Not much offense — actually, just one goal midway through the second period as of the writing of this post — between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

But there has definitely been some animosity between the two clubs.

Tempers flared late in the first period, with Adam Erne and Andreas Athanasiou getting involved in a spirited scrap — and Athanasiou unsuccessful in his attempt at the take-down.

The bad blood continued in the second period with Greg McKegg and Anthony Mantha getting involved in a fight, and Mantha — given the instigator — landing a couple of shots with McKegg on the ice.

 

NHL, MLB player unions support U.S. women hockey players’ boycott

Getty
1 Comment

Unions representing NHL and Major League Baseball players are backing U.S. Women’s National Hockey team players’ decision to boycott next week’s world championships because of a wage dispute.

The NHL Players’ Association posted a note on its Twitter account on Friday saying it supports the U.S. players while panning USA Hockey’s bid to stock the team with replacements. The NHLPA says the decision to go with replacement players “would only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse.”

Earlier in the day, the MLB Players Association encouraged all women hockey players to stand united behind their national team colleagues.

Read more: USA Hockey says it will not offer living wage, as dispute with women’s national team continues

The Twitter messages were posted a day after USA Hockey announced it would begin gauging interest of replacement players to compete at the tournament, which opens next Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period.