Washington Capitals captain — and noted Stanley Cup champion — Alex Ovechkin provided a brief scouting report last week on the Toronto Maple Leafs, telling reporters the team has to “play differently” if they want to win a Stanley Cup:
“For them, they’re still a young group of guys,” he noted. “I hope they’re going to learn, but it’s up to them how they want to do it. If they want to play for themselves or if they want to win a Stanley Cup they have to play differently.”
On Monday, another accomplished Cup winner, Drew Doughty, was asked for his take on what it takes to win it all and agreed with his fellow No. 8 while drawing on his own experience.
“You need to count on every single guy in every situation. Even though you have a scorer like Ovechkin or something like that, when it comes to playoff time you expect him to play defence, you expect him to block shots, you expect him to finish hits,” Doughty told reporters in Toronto.
The Los Angeles Kings have hit hard times recently, but it wasn’t so long ago that they were were considered royalty in the NHL. With its 2012 and ’14 Stanley Cup-winning core still intact as they try to piece together another winning roster around it, there’s no doubting many of the club’s veterans still know what it takes to win — hence the questions directed Doughty’s way ahead of the Kings’ Tuesday matchup with the Maple Leafs.
“If any team wants to be successful in the playoffs, they need their top scorers playing good defence and they need their best defenders chipping in on the offence. That’s the only way you’re going to win,” continued Doughty, whose resume also includes a Norris Trophy and a pair of Olympic gold medals. “You need all-around hockey from everyone.”
When asked whether it was “inevitable” that the slow-starting Maple Leafs could play that kind of hockey, Doughty’s response was simple and sounded less like an indictment of the Maple Leafs and more like an honest nod to the standings and the strength of the rest of the league.
“I wouldn’t say that,” he responded. “I know they have a really good roster, but I mean, a lot of teams have good rosters in this league and I don’t think they’re in first place in the East, are they? So that means right now there are some better teams than them just judging off the standings.”