Los Angeles Kings
defenseman Drew Doughty
was just happy to survive Thursday night's preseason game against Hamburg.
After all, much was conspiring against him. Most importantly, he had just two practices -- actually one practice and a morning skate -- with the full team after arriving in camp late because of a contract stalemate. Secondly, the game was played on the big ice, meaning he would have a ton of extra ice to cover.
Yet, thanks to the fact that the Kings dressed eight defensemen and coach Terry Murray
was judicious with Doughty's ice time, the young defenseman was able to weather the storm and come out the other side in better shape for it.
"I felt good," Doughty said minutes after his team earned a 5-3 win against the Freezers at O2 World Arena. "Obviously, I didn't feel 100 percent or the way I wanted to; but after the long trip, I thought I played well."
Doughty made several good defensive plays in the game and was dangerous from the point on the offensive side of the puck, but he says the Olympic-sized ice was causing him some problems -- especially in down-low coverage.
"That was the tough part," he said. "I think all the guys struggled with that (Tuesday night). You thought you were in a good position and that guy's 15 feet away. It was a tough adjustment, but we did alright. These games are tough to play in."
After landing in Stockholm early Wednesday morning, the Kings were given the day off. They will practice Thursday at the Globe Arena in a final preparation for Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the Rangers here on Friday.
That game will be played on NHL-sized ice and Doughty says he will be ready.
"You know, I think I will be at my best in that opener there," Doughty said. "Once I put my mind to it, I go out there and play my best. That's my main focus now, getting in a couple of practices and being at my best on opening day."