Almost everyone who knows Kings defenseman Drew Doughty realizes — quite quickly — that he wants to be on the ice as much as possible. In fact, Doughty was often after Kings Coach Darryl Sutter to use him in shootouts during the regular season.
Doughty had another message after Tuesday’s morning skate, several hours before Game 3 of the Kings’ first-round playoff series against San Jose at Staples Center.
More ice time.
The issue came up in relation to the experiment of Game 2, in which the Kings dressed seven defensemen.
“We lost, big-time. Obviously it didn’t go too well,” Doughty said of the 7-2 loss on Sunday.
“I think everyone gets out of rhythm when you dress seven D. I only played 23 minutes. It’s like the lowest I’ve played in, who knows how long. I want to be playing 28-30 minutes. I didn’t like it too much. But it’s not my decision. Whatever they decide as a team, I just have to go along with it and accept it.
“If they dress seven again tonight, I’m totally fine with it. I just have to play my game and make a difference out there.”
Doughty played 23 minutes and 29 seconds. It also didn’t make sense to pile on his minutes once the game turned into a blowout in the third period. And it appears highly unlikely Sutter will dress seven defensemen again.
“I always want to play more and sometimes they think they play me too much and I’m tired in certain situations,” Doughty said. “I know I’m not tired. I can play 40 minutes if they really want me to and I’ll be fine. I want to play every single second out there but I understand that. It’s just not possible. We just need everybody to step up a little bit more.”
That has been the theme in the Kings’ room since the debacle on Sunday. They said they “parked” the loss by the time they returned home. San Jose leads the best-of-seven-game series 2-0.
“I think everyone in the whole world knows that’s not how the L.A. Kings play,” Doughty said. “It’s just about time we need our leaders to step up, we need to lead the way and we need everyone to follow.”