CALGARY, Canada — Of course Drew Doughty wants to play.
He always does.
But the Kings’ top defenseman is giving way to common sense with three games remaining before the playoffs. That and the advice of the team trainers and medical staff.
He injured his shoulder on Thursday at San Jose, missed Saturday night’s game at Vancouver and, along with defenseman Robyn Regehr (also injured), will sit out Wednesday night against the Flames.
“It’s important to get a game under you — if you can — just before playoffs,” Doughty said after Wednesday’s morning skate, speaking about the injury for the first time.
“Even just taking a game off, you kind of lose it. Sometimes that first or second shift is a difference maker. If you’re slacking at one point during that shift, they could score a goal and that could be the winner.
“Ideally, if I could get in a game before the playoffs, that’d be great.”
There’s little doubt that if this were the playoffs Doughty would be in the lineup. He agreed with that school of thought, saying: “Of course.”
The Kings play on Thursday night at Edmonton and finish the regular season at home against the Ducks on Saturday. If they end up facing the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs, it is possible Game 1 would be at San Jose on April 16.
“It’s just being cautious this time of the year … you’ve got to be,” Doughty said. “I’m ready to go whenever my name is called. Right now, it’s just up to the coaching staff and the trainers. Whenever they feel I’m ready to go, I’ll be ready.”
The injury was something of a fluke. He got hurt on a routine check against the Sharks’ Tyler Kennedy in the first period and was in visible discomfort.
“I think it’s the way I hit him is what caused it to happen,” Doughty said. “Stuff happens. Sometimes you make that hit and you’re going to knock the other guy over ... he kind of seemed prepared for it. It was like hitting a hard wall or something like that. I’ll make that hit many more times throughout the playoffs and throughout the season. Never going to shy away from that hit.”