Physical Play Showing That LA Kings Are A Team, Perhaps Now More Than Ever

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — To this point in the 2010-11 season, if anything is clear about the Los Angeles Kings, it is that other teams view them as one of the best teams in the NHL, and that is showing up in terms of physical play, as many opponents are going into games against the Kings trying to get them off their game through physical intimidation.

To be sure, despite the fact that right wing Kevin Westgarth, the Kings’ heavyweight enforcer, has not been in a fight yet this season, perhaps due to the fact that he broke Colorado Avalanche heavyweight David Koci’s jaw in a pre-season scuffle back in September, teams seem to be going into games against the Kings with the intent of knocking them around, both with big hits and their fists.

“There were a few hits, a few confrontations,” head coach Terry Murray said after his team’s very physical 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 4. “A little old time hockey with the scrums that were going on. It was a very competitive game out there—two first place teams. The battle heats up.”

One of those hits, albeit a missed one, came late in that game against the Lightning, when Tampa Bay agitator Steve Downie took a run at Kings star defenseman Drew Doughty.

Downie came from distance at nearly full speed and left his feet on the hit. Doughty was able to get out of the way, but the two exchanged words as they skated towards the neutral zone.

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, Doughty’s defensive partner, quickly came to Doughty’s aid, knocking Downie to the ice and then dropping the gloves with him.

“I was real happy to see that,” said Murray. “That’s the kind of play where you want your partner to stand up for you in a situation like that. Doughty would do the same thing.”


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