Drew Doughty has earned enough trust and goodwill among his Los Angeles Kings teammates during his decorated career, but his latest comments may not make him Mr. Popularity in the room this week.
Doughty ripped into some of his teammates' effort level when prompted by a reporter following Monday's loss to the Arizona Coyotes, looking visibly dejected for large portions of his post-game media availability.
"I think that's what's been lacking for the last five games," Doughty said, when asked about the Kings' lack of desperation. "We haven't had any intensity, anyone competing. I shouldn't say that. We've had some guys competing every single game, and we've had others take games on, play good games, and take games off.
"We're down 4-1 in the third period, I sure hope that we're playing a little more desperate. But it's absolutely ridiculous that we didn't play like that in the first or the second. Or the last four games. Actually, besides the Vegas one."
For most of the year, Los Angeles was exceeding expectations but with three wins in its last 10 games, have slumped to seventh in the West Division. Doughty is undergoing a bit of a renaissance season himself, after two years where his overall performance dropped and his underlying numbers fell off a cliff.
Those possession numbers have improved this season and he's a positive contributor to the Kings again, adding eight goals and 28 points in 37 games. Suffice to say he's no longer a viable Norris Trophy contender, but he's earned the right again to call his less experienced Kings teammates out.
"It should have been a call to action games ago. "We put ourselves in a good spot, and the last two weeks or so we've absolutely shot ourselves in the foot, and now we've got a lot of work to do, a lot of climbing to do, and a lot of winning to do. Honestly, I don't even remember your question I'm so pissed off right now. We just need to be better, that's it," Doughty said.
Although no one was called out by name, it appears long-time stalwarts Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown,and Jonathan Quick were the only players absolved of any blame.
"Act like you've earned your spot in this lineup and on our team and run with it. Don't sit around hoping you're gonna get more shifts. Take your chance and run with it."
Doughty and the Kings resume their slim chances of grabbing the fourth spot in the West on Wednesday against the Coyotes, again.
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