|Drew Doughty can sleep better tonight as a member of Team Canada.
He's the baby of the bunch. But Tuesday night, Drew Doughty
sure didn't sleep like one.
The Los Angeles Kings' sophomore defenseman was the surprise pick on the blue line Wednesday morning as Hockey Canada named its 23-man roster for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
And Doughty, 20, admits he was tossing and turning in his Calgary hotel room ahead of the big announcement.
"I'm going to be honest -- I couldn't sleep last night," Doughty told reporters Wednesday morning at Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome. "It was a pretty tough nap for me last night. I was up; I was sleeping; I was back and forth. I was pretty nervous. I really didn't know what my chances were, although I knew I had an outside shot.
"When I got the call, I was still half-asleep. It was pretty early for me. I was waking up, and I actually had a voice mail (from 2010 Canadian Men's Team Associate Director Doug Armstrong) at first," Doughty said. "I was still sleeping and I didn't hear my phone ring. But when I woke up, I was definitely pretty happy. I woke up (Dustin Brown
), my roommate, and told him, and then I started calling everyone in the family.
"Making it is definitely a big surprise, but I'm just so excited."
If he stays healthy prior to Feb. 16, when Canada plays its first game against Norway, Doughty will become the youngest player to suit up for Canada in a top-caliber international event since 18-year-old Eric Lindros skated in the 1991 Canada Cup.
A former No. 2 overall draft pick of the Kings, Doughty tallied 27 points in 81 games as an 18-year-old rookie during the 2008-09 season. This season, he's got 9 goals, 26 points, and a plus-7 rating through the Kings' first 39 games.
"I've got to experience playing with him over the course of this year, and he's nothing but raw talent," said Kings forward Ryan Smyth. "Obviously, he plays well in his own zone. Everybody thinks he's really offensively skilled, which he is, but he's determined to play well in his own zone.
"And when he sees the chance to jump up in the play, he will. He'll make a huge impact on that team."
Doughty said his club's sudden rise to respectability has, indirectly, resulted in his early maturity.
"It's definitely important for all of us," he said. "The Kings had been struggling for quite a few years now, and getting those wins and being at the top of the conference for a little bit was definitely a confidence booster for all of us.
"It helped all of us grow, and become more confident players out there."
Reports suggest that Team Canada officials met late into the night Tuesday over the No. 7 spot on the defense corps, eventually choosing Doughty over Jay Bouwmeester.
"I'm sure everyone at that orientation camp would love to be on that team. They'd do anything in the world to be named to this Olympic team, and some of them are great players, guys I actually thought would have been on the team," Doughty said. "I guess I feel for them a bit -- but I'd definitely rather be in my position."
Six months ago, Doughty was determined to keep the voice-mail message he received from Steve Yzerman, executive director of Hockey Canada's 2010 Olympic program, inviting him to the Calgary camp. But he broke his cell phone and lost the message only a couple of days later.
What about this one?
"I still have it. I haven't deleted it yet," he said with a chuckle. "It was definitely a surprise getting that call in the morning. I guess words can't really explain it."
Author: Todd Kimberley | NHL.com Correspondent