LOS ANGELES — For Los Angeles Kings superstar defenseman Drew Doughty, the 2017 National Hockey League Skills Competition did not go the way he wanted, even though his results weren’t all bad.
Doughty participated in the Hardest Shot competition. Although he was not a favorite in the event with Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber a shoo-in to win (and he did, with a 102.8 miles per hour slap shot), Doughty recorded a 94.6 miles per hour shot, giving him the edge in his heat against Colorado Avalanche forward Nate MacKinnon, whose hardest shot was 92.3 MPH.
“I knew I didn’t have a hard slap shot,” said Doughty. “I knew all along that it wasn’t very hard, but it’s pretty accurate. That’s why I score on them sometimes.”
Doughty also fired a good-natured shot at MacKinnon right after their heat.
“I knew my shot wasn’t that hard,”, he said. “But Nate McKinnon&rsquo’s shot was worse.”
Doughty also participated in the Shootout Competition, but was stopped by Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.
But before all that, Doughty was in the Skills Challenge Relay, taking on the passing portion, and it was his difficulty in hitting the four small nets in the neutral zone that put the Pacific Division in last place for the event.
“That sucked,” he said. “I just couldn’t get [the puck] in there. I had a few close calls and eventually, you start thinking, ‘I don’t even care anymore.’ But then you realize that you’ve got to finish it out.”
“I know I could do a better job than I did out there,” he added. “But it’s not a big deal.”
Doughty admitted that he was a bit nervous.
“A little bit, for sure, because you know everyone’s watching you pass pucks into those little nets,” he said. “If no one’s watching, I’m sure you could do it, four out of four. So sure, I was a little nervous, but I had fun with it. It was a lot of fun.”
“It happens,” he added. “When everyone’s watching you it’s a different feeling. It’s not like doing it in practice. It’s a different feeling and that’s why you kind of mess up a bit.”
Doughty also said he felt the pressure, both individually and on a team level.
“Yeah, [it’s an individual competition, but] it’s still a team competition,” he noted. “If it was just me against someone else—obviously, I want to win, but I think more so, I was trying to get faster and get the pucks in the net for my team to help us win, so I was a little bit of both.”
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