LOS ANGELES — Even though their Pacific Division team lost in the final game to the Metropolitan Division in the 2017 National Hockey League All-Star Game, played at Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 29, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings were all smiles after the game, and for good reason.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Doughty. “The crowd was behind me and [Carter] the whole time, like they always are. To have the fans on our side felt pretty special and the NHL did a great job of putting on this event, both for the fans and the players.”
“It was great,” said Carter. “I got a real nice ovation both days and it was good to see the fans here have something like this and get out and see all the talent in the league. It’s not too often that you get a chance to do that.”
“It was good,” added Carter. “It makes it a little easier with it in your home city. They were here both days and got to take in a little bit of everything so it was a good weekend for them, too.”
“The weekend flies by. There’s a lot going on and what not, but when you’re out on the ice and hanging out in the room, it’s a lot of fun to get to know the guys and be on the ice with that much talent. It was a good weekend.”
Speaking of all that talent, Carter was actually understating things by a long shot. Indeed, prior to the player introductions, the NHL 100 players—the top 100 NHL players of all time who were introduced on January 26 at the Microsoft Theatre—were already on the ice, having already been introduced and after each player stepped onto the ice, they skated over to the NHL 100 players.
“[That was] really cool,” Carter noted. “Going down the line, you see a lot of faces you used to watch, who you’ve seen old clips of and some guys who you’ve played with or played against. It was a cool experience. Definitely memorable.”
“I had a lot of favorite parts [of the game],” said Doughty. “Meeting some of the guys you play against who you don’t know too well. That’s always a fun part. But the most fun I had was meeting the top 100 players. I got to meet guys like [former Detroit Red Wings superstar defenseman] Nicklas Lidstrom, [superstar defenseman] Paul Coffey, [who played for the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Kings, Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins]—guys like that. That was pretty cool for me.”
“I just wish we could’ve talked to them for a bit longer,” added Doughty. “We just went down the line and fist-bumped them. It would’ve been nice to pick some or their brains and see why they were so successful.”
Doughty also got a chance to chat with one of his idols: Nicklas Lidstrom.
“[I told him] that he was an idol of mine for a long time,” he said. “I loved watching him play and it was an honor to meet him. That was a special moment for me.”
Both Carter and Doughty also spoke of the significance of the NHL bringing the All-Star festivities to Los Angeles.
“It means a lot,” said Doughty. “We had our 50th anniversary this year, so for [the Kings] to have that, along with the 100th anniversary for the NHL is really special, and I know [the Kings staff] wanted this. They’ve been talking about it for years. I thought they did a great job and everybody had fun.”
“Everyone knows how hard the Kings [staff] works and the effort they put into everything they do here,” Carter noted. “It’s nice to see them get recognized and be able to host [an all-star game], and for [Kings] fans to be able to see it, too.”
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