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Q & A WITH DREW DOUGHTY

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 20: Second overall pick, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings puts on his new team jersey after being selected during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place on June 20, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Drew, you wanted to go number two; do you feel you got your wish?

It’s just unbelievable. I really was dreaming this since I was a little kid. I know right before [the announcement] I saw Calgary’s GM and Dean Lombardi shaking hands, and I didn’t think I was going to go [to the Kings], so I was a little worried.

But it would have been no offense to go number three?
It would have been no offense at all. I would have been glad to go anywhere. But because I loved Los Angeles so much when I was a little kid, this is just unbelievable.

What can you say about going first among three other high-ranked defensemen?
All three of them are unbelievable defensemen. So to go number one in that group of three defensemen is just an unbelievable feeling. I’m going to do everything I can to be a better player next year, and everything I can to make that team.

Do you know much about Jack Johnson, a guy you’ll be playing with there?
I’ve watched him it at the World Junior Championships, and he’s a very skilled defensemen. I’ve enjoyed watching him play, and I think I have some similarities to him. He obvious has more experience than I do, but I do have similarities to him.

Drew, I guess this experiment that started a few years ago, moving you from forward to defense, has worked out pretty well?
Yeah it has. Back then I really didn’t want to make that switch from forward to defense, but it definitely worked out for the best, and I’m very happy I made that change.

How did you become an LA Kings fan?
Wayne Gretzky. He was my idol growing up. Not only was he my idol growing up, but he was my idol both on and off the ice. He dealt with the media very well and everything like that. So I just loved him growing up. I have a little 99 jersey and an LA Kings phone. I just loved Wayne Gretzky growing up, and I loved the LA Kings.

Is this your first LA Kings jersey?
No it’s not. This style yes, but I also have two of the other styles. I have a Hrudey jersey and Gretzky.

Can you talk about how the OHL enhanced your game?
I owe a lot to my coaches in Guelph. They helped me so much, and I learned so much from them my first couple years there. I was a strict offensive-defensemen, and they taught me to become more of a team player. I owe so much to my teammates, all the staff there, the owners, everything. Without them, I wouldn’t be here, that’s for sure.

Drew, are you ready to play in the NHL next year?
Yeah, I think I am. I worked very hard this summer. My one setback was kind of my fitness, and I worked really hard to continue to become more and more fit. I think if I continue to do that and work on more things on the ice, I think I can do that.

Have you ever been to Los Angeles?
No, I’ve never been to LA, and I’m really looking forward to hopefully getting an invite to go there soon.

Your thoughts on possibly playing with a veteran like Rob Blake, and other young guys like Jack Johnson?
It would be great. Rob Blake was one of my favorite defensemen growing up even when I was younger loving the LA Kings. I’m very good friends with Thomas Hickey; he’s called me a few times already just to talk about things. I’m very excited to go to this team. I’ve dreamt about it for so long, and since the season I’ve kind of wanted to be an LA King. I’m just so happy that it happened.

In your discussions with the Kings, did they give you an opinion on what you can bring coming into the team?
I think that they really wanted me to make sure that I knew that their pick at number two was very important for them. And I think I did realize that. I know how important that pick was, and that they’re putting on me to become a very good player in the LA organization. So I think making it next year, they would really like me to do that, and I’m going to do everything in my power to do that.

What do you think you can do for the team, offensively and defensively in your first year?
I think I can do both. Hopefully I can get on a powerplay unit or a penalty-killing unit. I will improve both parts of my game this summer, and do everything I can to be better in the defensive zone. I know that the guys at this level are just so much better and so much stronger. It’s going to be very difficult, but I’m very prepared to do it.

Did you and Zach Bogosian about who was going to go number two at all?
We had a few discussions about it, but when all the boys get together in the hotel rooms this week, we just try to not talk about hockey too much. We just wanted to kind of forget about it and talk about other things. Coming into it, a lot of us were pretty nervous, and there’s really nothing we could do. We just had to see where the pieces fell, and see what we could have done.

Are you happy now that you’ve been drafted second, and that it’s over with?
Yeah, I’m happy now that it’s over with. I know my mom was pretty stressed out and nervous for me, and cried many times before the draft. It’s just such an exciting time for my family. I know they’re very overwhelmed by the situation, and I’m so glad that they’re all here to support me.

Transcribed by Ken Lancastle
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