Tag: Drew Doughty

2012 NHL Winter Classic Announcement

On the difference between ‘good’ and ‘big-time’ players


Let’s forget for just one second that Mike Babcock has a big decision to make about his future. This post isn’t an attempt to handicap where he’ll end up. We’ve already done plenty of that this season.

This post is applicable to fans of all 30 teams, not just those of the Detroit Red Wings. Because, for me, the one thing that Babcock said last night that really stood out was, per Yahoo Sports, the following:

“In the end, you’ve got to have big-time players up the middle and on the back to be successful. So those are questions in our organization that we work towards, drafting good and developing good, but we’ve been winning too much (in the regular season to get high draft picks). That’s the facts.”

When the Wings last won the Cup, they had two “big-time” centers in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and one “big-time” defenseman in Nicklas Lidstrom.

Not just “good,” but “big-time.” As in, future Hall of Famers. Elite. Best of the best.

Since Lidstrom retired, the Wings have not been past the second round of the playoffs.

In a related story, the Philadelphia Flyers never recovered from losing Chris Pronger and the future of the Boston Bruins is in question with an aging Zdeno Chara.

The last five Stanley Cup winners have featured one of Chara, Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty. All three are future Hall of Famers.

As for “up the middle,” Babcock asked last night, “Who’s going to replace Pav?” That’s a good question, because Datsyuk will turn 37 in July. A winner of three Selke Trophies, he’s one of the best two-way forwards in the history of the game.

Another related story: the last five Stanley Cup winners have featured one of Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, or Anze Kopitar. Again, all three are future Hall of Famers.

Meanwhile, there’s a reason there’s so much excitement in Edmonton about Connor McDavid, a center. Yet equally important will be the development of d-man Darnell Nurse.

Ditto for Buffalo, where there’s plenty of excitement for Jack Eichel; just don’t overlook the development of Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov.

And for all the strife we’ve seen in Toronto, Leafs fans can at least be hopeful about Morgan Rielly and William Nylander. Toronto hasn’t had a “big-time” center since Mats Sundin. And did you know the Leafs, an Original Six franchise, have never had a Norris Trophy winner? The closest any Toronto blue-liner has come in the modern era is Borje Salming. The Leafs have not won a Stanley Cup in the modern era.

Look, nobody’s saying a team absolutely has to have a Norris Trophy winner on defense and a Selke Trophy/Hart Trophy winner at center. There are always going to be exceptions. The 2006 Hurricanes didn’t have an elite d-man, though people sometimes forget they had Rod Brind’Amour, a two-time Selke winner.

The thing is, you don’t build a team based on the exceptions. Otherwise, every NFL team would be looking for the next Trent Dilfer.

“We’ve got lots of good young players, no question about it, and ideally we’ve got some good ones coming,” Babcock said.

But are any going to be “big-time” centers or defensemen?

Not just good.


2015 Norris Trophy finalists: Doughty, Karlsson and Subban

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens - Game Two

The NHL named the three finalists for the 2015 Norris Trophy on Monday: Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Subban.

To review, the Norris goes “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” The Professional Hockey Writers Association is responsible for the ballots.

All three blueliners rank as familiar faces.

Doughty hasn’t won a Norris at this point in his career, which is a point that comes up often (especially during the Kings’ Stanley Cup run last year). Injury and suspension issues forced the 25-year-old into the heaviest action of his career, as his 28:59 TOI average barely trailed perennial workhorse Ryan Suter. Doughty is aiming to be the first Norris winner whose team didn’t make the playoffs, at least according to Sportsnet.


Subban, 25, won the 2013 Norris. Here’s a little more on his great season from the Habs:

Subban, who previously claimed the award in 2013, enjoyed another remarkable campaign on the Canadiens’ back end. In his fifth full NHL season, the Toronto native finished in the Top 10 in multiple offensive categories among defensemen, registering career-highs with 15 goals, 45 assists, 60 points and a plus-21 differential in 82 games played. He also ranked second in the League among defensemen with eight power play goals, while logging a team-leading 26:12 of ice time per game. He was also the Canadiens’ most-utilized player with the man advantage.

Karlsson, 24, won it in 2012. His 27:15 TOI average trailed Doughty by a significant margin, yet it was a career-high and ranked third in the NHL. The splendid Swede’s 66 points led all defensemen while Subban was tied for second with 60 and Doughty finished with 46.

Notice that all three blueliners are in their prime years? A stat like this shows how advanced Karlsson is, yet they’re all at an elite level, which is confirmed by these nods:

Report: Stoll arrest came during Kings’ ‘unofficial’ season-ending party

Jarret Stoll

Drew Doughty and Martin Jones were two of “more than a dozen” L.A. Kings in Las Vegas at the time of Jarret Stoll’s arrest for cocaine and MDMA possession, per TMZ.

According to TMZ sources, the incident Wet Republic at the MGM Grand occurred during an unofficial team party to wind down the season, though the 32-year-old center was the only player accused of any wrongdoing. The same sources also report that many Kings “continued to party in Vegas throughout the weekend even after Stoll was arrested.”

Stoll was arrested late Friday after going through a security pat-down, and later released on $5,000 bond from the Clark County Detention Center. He reportedly admitted the powdered substance in his possession was cocaine.

The Kings are familiar with Wet Republic, having celebrated their first Stanley Cup championship there in 2012. L.A. then brought the Cup back to Vegas last year after defeating the New York Rangers in the final.

PHT’s awards picks for 2014-15

Carey Price, Mats Zuccarello

Just a brief awards post on this busy day. Halford and I each gave our top picks. Feel free to add your two bits in the comments section.

Hart Trophy

Brough: Carey Price. Nobody was more important to their team than this guy. If not for Price, the Habs may not have made the playoffs. I did strongly consider Alex Ovechkin, given he had 10 more goals than anyone else. If Caps fans are mad at me for choosing otherwise, perhaps they can take solace in the fact I didn’t really consider Sidney Crosby at all.

Halford: Carey Price. I also strongly considered Ovechkin, who was the only skater to break the 50-goal mark. But Price was the only goalie with a GAA under 2.00 and save percentage over .930, and on a Montreal team that finished 20th in offense (2.61 goals per game), Price was the more valuable player.

Norris Trophy

Brough: Erik Karlsson. I don’t apologize for picking the defenseman with the most points. It’s not the only factor I considered (obviously), but the ability to move the puck and create offense from the back end is vitally important, and nobody does it better than Karlsson.

Halford: Drew Doughty. No d-man logged more total ice time this season. Not even Ryan Suter. The Kings may have missed the playoffs, but it wasn’t because of Doughty. He’s the best two-way defenseman in the world.

Calder Trophy

Brough: Aaron Ekblad. It was extremely hard not to pick Johnny Gaudreau or Mark Stone, but considering Ekblad’s rookie season, compared to the ones by other 18-year-old defensemen throughout the years, was in line with Bobby Orr’s, I’m not going to lose any sleep over my decision.

Halford: Mark Stone. This was the toughest pick by far but, in the end, I couldn’t ignore how well he played over the final half of the year, especially when the Sens went on their tear. Only Ovechkin, Crosby, Jamie Benn and John Tavares scored more points than Stone (44) after Jan. 1.

Jack Adams Award

Brough: Barry Trotz. Did a masterful job convincing the Capitals to buy in and play with more structure. Also handled Ovechkin perfectly, providing constructive criticism while also publicly praising and bonding with his captain and face of the franchise.

Halford: Bob Hartley. The Flames went from 77 to 97 points, snapped a six-year playoff drought and did it with their captain and best player, Mark Giordano, missing the final 21 games of the regular season. Yeah, there was some puck luck and good fortune involved, but Hartley did a remarkable job getting this team to overachieve.

Selke Trophy

Brough: Patrice Bergeron. A tough season for Bruins fans, but having this guy under contract through 2021-22 is a good way to feel better.

Halford: Patrice Bergeron. I considered some extremely talented guys — Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Pavel Datsyuk — for the Selke, but never thought about giving the first-place vote to anybody but Bergeron. Kinda says it all.

Vezina Trophy

Brough. Carey Price. Played the fourth-most minutes among all NHL goalies and nobody had a lower save percentage than his .933 mark. Ultimately, this wasn’t a tough decision, despite some excellent seasons from a handful of other goalies.

Halford: Carey Price. He’s going to win in his first year as a finalist, an interesting factoid in that it reminds you Carey Price has never been a Vezina finalist before, let alone won one.

Lady Byng Trophy

Brough: Sean Monahan. Took just six minor penalties all season, to go with 31 goals. There were actually a few candidates for this award on the ultra-disciplined Flames.

Halford: Jiri Hudler. It’s a Calgary love-in! Hudler took one more minor penalty than Monahan did this year, but also finished with the team scoring lead (76 point). That gets him the nod in my book.

Discipline has been key for Flames (also, how the NHL has changed since obstruction crackdown)

Los Angeles Kings v Calgary Flames

Of all the things to admire about the surprising Calgary Flames — from the way they’ve overcome the loss of Mark Giordano, to all the shots they’ve blocked, to the skill and speed they’ve displayed off the rush all season — one of the more under-reported keys to their success has been discipline.

Did you know the Flames haven’t taken a single minor penalty in their last three games, all of them victories?

Did you know they’ve had eight games when they haven’t gone shorthanded, and that they’re 5-1-2 in those games?

Did you know they’ve only been shorthanded 182 times in all, the fewest in the NHL? (In contrast, they’ve had 253 power-play opportunities.)

The Flames aren’t the only disciplined team in the NHL. The Hurricanes, Blackhawks and Islanders don’t take many penalties either.

Of course, compared to 2005-06, which was the season following the lockout when the league made a commitment to crack down on obstruction, no team takes too many penalties these days.

Consider: The Winnipeg Jets have been shorthanded an NHL-high 306 times this season. That would’ve made them the most disciplined team in 05-06, when the Devils had to kill the fewest penalties (348) and the Capitals the most (550!).

Part of it is the players getting the message. But another part is the officials letting more go. The NHL can deny the latter, but it’s clear to anyone who’s watching that the standard has slipped, for better or worse.

For example, this wasn’t an interference penalty the other night in Vancouver:


For the record, Alex Burrows wasn’t upset that Drew Doughty didn’t get penalized there. He was actually happy with how the officials let the Kings and Canucks play. How closely the game is called is a personal preference. It’s a balancing act. Too many power plays can ruin the flow. A little obstruction may help reduce injuries too.

But here’s another stat to consider:

In 2003-04, the season before the crackdown on embellishment, the Devils were shorthanded 266 times, the fewest in the NHL, and way fewer than the Flames will be in 2014-15.

That same season, the Ottawa Senators led the NHL with 80 power-play goals, and the 30 teams combined to score 1,717 power-play goals.

With two days left in the 2014-15 season, the Detroit Red Wings lead the NHL with 70 power-play goals, and the 30 teams have combined to score just 1,391 power-play goals.

Related: GMs to consider a “re-set” for obstruction rules