Drew Doughty says Kings need to step up against Eastern teams

Drew Doughty says Kings need to step up against Eastern teams
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, top, holds down Arizona center Joe Vitale on Dec. 4. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Leave it to Drew Doughty to create a new measuring stick between Eastern Conference and Western Conference teams.

How about the ice bag factor?


The Kings defenseman was talking about the differences between the conferences and the need for the Kings to step it up against the Eastern teams, starting Sunday in Toronto.

"The Western Conference is more physical and tougher," he said after practice Saturday. "It's a grind. They are games where you come out with 10 ice bags on you. When you come to the East, it's more run-and-gun and offensive game. We need to play good defense."

So just two ice bags for the Eastern teams?

"One or two here," Doughty said.

The Kings have won only four times on the road this season, beating Dallas, Arizona, Minnesota and Ottawa. Of those teams, the Wild is the only one with a winning record. The Kings are 1-2 on this five-game trip and have lost three of four games overall.

"We need to have a sense of urgency, that's for sure," Doughty said. "I can tell you, we're not yet worried that we're not going to turn it around and we're not going to make the playoffs. We know we still will do that.

"But we just need to turn this around quickly because we're losing points and other teams are gaining ground on us. We need to win these games, especially when we come over to the East, that's our opportunity to win games and get up there in the standings."

For the Kings, there is no sense of panic … yet. Of course, that's what happens when you've won the Stanley Cup two of the last three seasons. They were reminded of that accomplishment in a gathering at the Hockey Hall of Fame later Saturday as the Kings donated a 2014 Stanley Cup ring to a special display.

Representing the Kings at the Hall of Fame were captain Dustin Brown, center Anze Kopitar, team president of business operations Luc Robitaille and Mike Futa, who is the team's vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel.

"We hope to see you guys again here next year," Robitaille said to a group of picture-taking fans at the Hall of Fame.

And finally

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter hasn't changed his view on shootouts.

"If they're so important, then they would have them in the playoffs," Sutter said. "I don't have the time of day for them. Other than trying to score on 'em."

There have been times the Kings have lost in a shootout and Sutter has made a point of saying he felt bad for goalie Jonathan Quick. He returned to that theme.


"It's unfair for your goalies," Sutter said. "Quite honest, they feel like, when they get beat, they've lost the game."

One proposal, backed by Detroit General Manager Ken Holland, is pushing for three on three in overtime, after a few minutes of four on four, which would cut down on the number of shootouts.

"Absolutely, I've said that all along," Sutter said. "When I was in on those meetings, I always said, if we were going to go four on four, why wouldn't we go to three on three?"



When: 2 p.m. PST.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.

Etc: In an odd scheduling quirk, the Maple Leafs will be playing back-to-back games at home. Toronto faced Detroit on Saturday night.

Twitter: @reallisa