Committed Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar remain key to rebuilding Kings’ plans
- This isn’t what Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar signed up for at the time.
- No, when both Los Angeles Kings superstars inked their long-term extensions, the plan was to keep contending for Stanley Cups, or at least keep playing playoff games, certainly not head into a rebuild.
- But now that they’re here and that Kings GM Rob Blake has explained the plan to them, they’re fully on board with what they hope is a quick as possible retooling.
“Obviously when I was re-signing we didn’t ever think we’d do this rebuild,” Doughty said Monday after practice. “We’re not too happy we have to do it. But it’s the way things have come. We have full faith in Blakey, and full faith in all the players in this room. We’re going to get back to where we were one day, just we can’t rush it. We need to trust the process. We have to play with the cards we’ve been dealt here.”
- The plan is to turn over this roster around Doughty, 29, and Kopitar, 32, over the next few years.
- Think of how the Bruins masterfully retooled the team around veterans Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron; that’s the hope for Los Angeles, that it can rejig the team around Doughty and Kopitar.
- Those two players want to be Kings on the other side of it and playing for championships once again.
“Yeah I certainly don’t want to go anywhere,” said Kopitar, who is in the fourth season of an eight-year, $80-million deal. “I’ve been in L.A. 14 years now and I can call it my home. Unless somebody tells me I got to go anywhere, I certainly would like to stay here. In saying that we got to make sure we build a team that’s competitive. I think we’re trending in the right direction.”
“It’s a challenge for sure, it always is,” Kopitar said. “We’re trying to do, what you call a rebuild on the fly, and we’re also trying to stay relevant.”
- It’s almost been a half-decade since that 2014 Cup. And the hardest part is when you’ve lived those moments and know the difficult road ahead before potentially getting back there again.
“It’s really hard to go from up here (he gestures up, then down) to down here now,” Doughty said. “I struggle with that every day. I want to get back to up here.”
Sources & Credits: Pierre Lebrun, The Athletic