Los Angeles Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty wasn’t as effective as usual in the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, as the 23-year-old failed to register a point and was a minus-six overall. According to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, Doughty suffered an ankle injury in the seven-game series against the San Jose Sharks, and it will be interesting to hear more details on when Doughty suffered the injury and how severe it was.
It’s impressive to think that Doughty played as much as he did in spite of the injury, because he averaged just about 28 minutes per game over the five-game series against the Blackhawks. Of course, the Kings didn’t lose because Doughty was playing on what Dillman termed as a “bad ankle”, but the important takeaway is that this is why Doughty wasn’t as effective.
Doughty finished the season with 22 points in 48 games, and he continues to be one of the top defensemen in the NHL. If the injury was severe, then that’s really impressive for Doughty to have played in roughly 28 minutes per game on that ankle, and he is one of the cornerstones of this Kings team and is one of several reasons why the Kings defense is so vaunted.
Most people believe that Doughty was injured by Sharks star Patrick Marleau, who hit the Kings star defenseman behind the goal, and it was a hard hit. However, Doughty called it “minor” and a “little hit”, and although that was the big story in Game 1, it was quickly overshadowed by Raffi Torres’s hit (ugh, that one) on Jared Stoll. That hit didn’t get as much hype during the game since everyone was focused on Doughty going down, but Torres’s hit quickly became the story afterwards.
We’ll see if Marleau’s hit was the one that roughed up Doughty’s ankle, because then that means Doughty essentially played through two series with an ankle injury.