Three-on-three hockey is a lot like being under a bright spotlight — unforgiving.
“You can’t really hide in three on three. So you’re going to have to try or else everyone is going to notice,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said on the NHL’s experiment to liven up an often-tired affair with the three-on-three concept. “And three on three isn’t a time where you need to get physical.”
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Doughty, and Ducks goalie John Gibson and forward Corey Perry were selected Wednesday by the NHL Hockey Operations Department to the All-Star team for the Jan. 31 game at Nashville.
Because the Kings are leading the Pacific Division, Coach Darryl Sutter was selected a coach.
“The reason that we’re leading the division now is because of our three-on-three play. So interesting that is the format.”
The Kings’ record is 6-1 on three-on-three play.
For Doughty, it will be his second consecutive All-Star appearance. Quick represented the Kings in 2012 in Ottawa. Perry, who will make his fourth appearance, has the most appearances of the group.
For Gibson, it will be his first All-Star game. Although he has played for the Ducks in previous seasons, Gibson, 22, is technically still a rookie.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I didn’t really expect it. It’s something, any time you get named there. ... I’ll probably expect a lot of offense with three-on-three. But it will be fun.”
As with most All-Star selections, there was the fuss about those left off the team. Sutter thought Kings center Anze Kopitar should have been included and that a case could be made for right wing Tyler Toffoli, who has scored 19 goals.
“I know how it works, there’s only one guy from each team for the most part,” Sutter said. “Drew and Quickie, I don’t think that’s a surprise for anybody.”
Curtis Zupke contributed to this report.