Drew Doughty’s mom.
“As much as all that stuff happened with me and the other guy talking back and forth — as much as a lot of people liked it — my mom didn’t like it too much,” Doughty said Friday from the Los Angeles Kings practice facility in El Segundo, Calif.
“She just wants me to go out there and do what I can on the ice and keep it out of the media. That’s my new objective. She was not happy with me, especially after the celebration there.”
Indeed, Doughty’s overtime goal celebration in Calgary on Oct. 8 included an emotional directive aimed at the fans you can be sure Connie Doughty wasn’t thrilled about.
His first words in the hallway after the win were a loud, exuberant exhale that included, “(Screw) that guy.”
The hatred between the two is real, as was his frustration with the way the Flames fans treated him once again. Asked why the celebration was so over the top, Doughty was frank on Friday.
“Because my home country fans were booing me the entire game,” said the two-time Olympian and London, Ont., native, whose Flames adversary is American.
While Doughty is trying hard to bury the off-ice rift, he continues to be one of the most colourful, controversial and quotable players in a league that has long shunned those traits.
Still refusing to refer to Tkachuk by name, Doughty did his best not to stoke the feud’s fire as he answered endless questions about a rivalry Hockey Night in Canada has been promoting all week long with the duo at the forefront.
“To be honest, I’m just sick of it,” said the 29-year-old Norris Trophy winner. “I just want to go win hockey games and focus on the L.A. Kings versus the Flames, and not me versus him.
“It’s not about me and him. We’re both obviously two really good players and two big parts of both our teams, but we’re just trying to catch them in the standings.
“It’s a rivalry between two teams. As much as you guys try to make it about me and him, it’s about two teams not liking each other.”
The two have indeed dragged their teams into the fight ever since Tkachuk delivered an elbow to Doughty’s face that earned him a two-game suspension in 2017.
Tkachuk mocked Doughty in the press soon thereafter for whining about the elbow, prompting nine highly-anticipated battles on the ice that have rarely disappointed ever since.
“I think it’s good to have guys going at it, but I have a guy I go at it with on every team,” said Doughty, again downplaying the obvious storyline.
“That’s just how it is. It just happens he plays in Calgary so a bigger deal is made about it. I have multiple rivalries with multiple guys on every team, but you guys just don’t know about it.”
He went on to list adversaries he had in junior, like Steve Downie, Mike Duco, Akim Aliu and a brief one with James Neal, who he now counts as a friend.
What’s made this so different is the open disrespect shown off the ice by the two highly-quotable spark plugs. It’s something we’re more used to seeing in football or basketball.
“Definitely it’s a different culture in the hockey world — we’re more about being respectful to each other and just kind of finishing things on the ice,” said Doughty, who was asked if he envied NBA culture, where players routinely pop off in the media about one another.
“It doesn’t really bother me because I don’t want to get in any trouble.”
Over the last few weeks Doughty has alluded to being told “they” don’t want him trash-talking Tkachuk anymore, which likely has plenty to do with why he suggested after last game he wanted the feud put to rest.
Pressed on Friday for who “they” are, he chose to keep it in house.
“I mean, I don’t even want to tell you — I don’t want to create (controversy),” said Doughty, who has called Tkachuk, “the most hated player in the league” and previously said he had no respect for the 21-year-old Flames winger.
“It’s not my mom, though.”
It’s hard to believe the two can duplicate the tremendous theatre of their last meeting when Tkachuk tied the game late, Doughty won it in overtime and each had three points.
Still, Saturday’s tilt will be must-watch TV, as will the post-game’s After Hours segment, where Doughty will sit in a chair alongside Scott Oake as Tkachuk did two weeks earlier.
Asked Thursday about Doughty, Tkachuk shrugged it off and insisted he had nothing to say.
“No, not right now,” he said, well aware of the spotlight on everything he says about his adversary.
“I don’t really pay attention to how much attention or hype is around it. I don’t really listen to too much outside my own personal bubble or our team’s bubble. If everyone else is making a big deal about it, that’s for them to make a big deal about it. But it’s a big game for us and it’s a Hockey Night in Canada game, so it’s huge.”
Doughty said it’s only a big story in Canada.
“I don’t think L.A. Kings fans really care too much about it,” he said. “They care, but they’re not chirping him on Twitter like I’m getting chirped all the time. It’s a little different.”