VANCOUVER, B.C. – Drew Doughty has gone from Olympic hero to public enemy No. 1 in Vancouver.
The Los Angeles Kings defenceman found himself in the rare position Thursday of preparing for his first career NHL playoff game against the Canucks on the same ice where he helped Canada claim gold in February.
But he’s not worried about the lost fan loyalty.
“I always like having people root against you,” Doughty said prior to the game Thursday. “A lot of people have us as the underdog in this series, coming in sixth place there.”
The second-year rearguard has a chance to accomplish what few others can – win Olympic gold and a Stanley Cup in his first post-season.
“It’s crossed my mind before, but I know how hard it’s going to be for us to win that Stanley Cup,” said Doughty.
Kings coach Terry Murray has high hopes for the 20-year-old Doughty.
“I expect Drew Doughty to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs the way he played for Canada in the Olympics,” said Murray. “He knows how to get himself up for the big games. He knows how to step up at the right time.”
Murray said he expects Doughty, who ranked third in points among NHL defencemen in the regular season with 59 and has also won world junior gold, to play a lot of minutes against the Canucks.
“This is another step in his career,” said Murray, who calls his club a definite underdog. “He’s had a lot of experience at the international level. I see him playing a lot of minutes and having a big bite in the series.”