The Kings are 5-11-1 with the fewest goals for in the NHL, have been outscored 9-2 on their current three-game losing streak, recently fired their head coach, lost their top two goalies to injury, traded away one of their best young players Wednesday, and there are no signs the team is ready to turn the corner anytime soon.
“This is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my hockey career, all of us have ever had to deal with in our hockey careers,” Doughty said Wednesday via Kings insider Jon Rosen of FOX Sports West. “You want to put a finger on it and you want to know exactly why this is happening, but it’s hard to figure out.
“It just has to come within. We can’t be waiting around for guys to make it happen. We can’t all be looking at [Anze Kopitar] for him to take the reins and take it over. We all need to individually just pick it up ourselves, and one-by-one we need to try to do exactly what we’re supposed to go out there and do and not wait around for other guys to do it for us.”
Doughty has enjoyed a remarkable career to date – two Stanley Cup championships, two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup, a Norris Trophy and multiple all-star selections by age 28 isn’t too shabby – but he has yet to be on a team as bad as the 2018-19 Kings.
Compared to the championship Kings teams of yesteryear, Doughty says, the current Kings are easy to play against.
“When I used to go to these all-star games and these Team Canada things, every time I’d go in there, these guys would just come up to me and be like, ‘God, I hate playing your team. Like, I absolutely hate playing your team.’ For one, we were always physical,” Doughty explained. “We were in your face, we worked as hard as we possibly could, and we gave [opposing] star players nothing.
“When you shut down star players and don’t give them opportunities, they get frustrated with themselves, and they don’t perform their best way. I haven’t heard other players talk about our team like that in a good two or three years.”
Los Angeles has missed the playoffs in two of the four seasons since last winning the Cup and has only won a single post-season game during that stretch.
Doughty has 10 points in 17 games this season, which is solid production for a blueliner, but with his team being outshot most nights his possession metrics are down and he knows he’s not playing his best hockey – like so many others on the Kings right now.
“Even myself, I’m going out there, I’ve been friggin’ minus almost every game, it seems like, whether it was an empty net or whatever it may be,” Doughty added. “I’m going out there thinking, ‘don’t get scored on, don’t get scored on,’ and when you think that way, the bad things happen. So, you’ve got to start thinking positive, and I know it’s hard to think positive when we’re losing like this, but that’s the bottom line. When you think negative, negative, things happen.”
The Kings are set to begin a three-game Central Division road trip that includes a Friday stop in Chicago followed by a trip to Nashville Saturday before wrapping up Monday in St. Louis.