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Doughty: Kopitar is right choice to lead Kings

Los Angeles defenseman says dynamic in locker room will be similar

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

LAS VEGAS -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty says that new captain Anze Kopitar is perfect for the position he inherited from former captain Dustin Brown.

"He's definitely a guy that leads by example," Doughty said Tuesday here at his availability for the 2016 NHL Awards Show on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Doughty joins Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks as finalists for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top defenseman. 

"[Kopitar] is very professional," Doughty said. "Everyone on the team loves him. He plays as hard as he possibly can on the ice. He'll be a good captain for us."

Brown, who had been captain for the past eight years, was relieved of those duties on Thursday when Kopitar was named to the position. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said it was time for a change in announcing the decision. 

The Kings were eliminated in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing to the San Jose Sharks in five games. In 2015, the Kings missed the postseason.

Doughty said he was not overly shocked by the decision to change captains, but stressed that Brown was a good captain during his tenure, which was highlighted by Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014.

"I didn't have a big reaction to it," Doughty said. "[Brown] was a great captain for us. He led us to two Stanley Cups. He did a great job. Especially for myself, he was my roommate on the road, so he was a mentor to me and he was unbelievable."

Doughty said he doesn't expect the dynamic in the room to change under the new leadership structure, saying that Brown and Kopitar are more similar than they are different. He believes Kopitar will still consult Brown as he finds his way to a comfort level with the captaincy.

"Both [Kopitar and Brown] are not big talkers in the room," Doughty said. "It's not that they aren't emotional, but they are not going nuts like I do sometimes."

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