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Doughty, Brewer play same game, Fischler says

Compares defenseman from Maple Leafs dynasty of early 1960s to two-time Cup-winner with Kings

by Stan Fischler / Special to

Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler will write a weekly scrapbook for this season. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," will share his knowledge, humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

Today, he compares current Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty to Carl Brewer, a three-time Stanley Cup-winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960s.

When the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cups in 1962, 1963 and 1964, Brewer was coach Punch Imlach's best defenseman. Fast-forward a half-century and the same could be said for Doughty, who excelled on the Los Angeles Kings' Cup-winning teams in 2012 and 2014 and remains one of the NHL's best on the blue line.

The term "workhorse" fits each player. During Toronto's three straight Cup years, Imlach gave Brewer lots of ice time because of his excellence (we'll never know exactly how much because the NHL didn't officially calculate ice time in those days). Doughty has averaged 26:18 of ice time since joining the Kings as an 18-year-old in 2008.

Apart from his super-high hockey IQ, Brewer was an intense competitor who possessed extraordinary getaway speed. Ditto for Doughty. Another similar trait is that each was fiercely independent.

One difference is that Brewer played for more than one NHL team. Brewer finally became fed up with Imlach's martinet tactics and walked out in 1965 because of a contract dispute. He regained his amateur status and stayed away from the NHL for four seasons before returning with the Detroit Red Wings in 1969-70.

Brewer spent the next two seasons with the St. Louis Blues and played one season with Toronto of the World Hockey Association before announcing his retirement in 1974 at age 35. But his heart must have remained with the Maple Leafs; he came out of retirement at age 41 to play 20 games for his old team in 1979-80 before hanging up his skates for good.

In contrast, Doughty is on track to be a King for life. He's finishing his 11th NHL season, all with Los Angeles, and turns 30 on Dec. 8, when he'll be in the early stages of an eight-year contract extension he signed on July 1, 2018.

Doughty won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 2016 and a First-Team All-Star last season. Brewer, playing the same kind of two-way game, was a First-Team All-Star in 1962-63 and arguably should have won the Norris (he was the runner-up to Pierre Pilote of the Chicago Blackhawks).

Despite Brewer's lack of individual hardware, the parallels between him and Doughty are still strong.

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