Los Angeles Kings superstar Drew Doughty has never been one to stir up controversy, but something seems to have gotten into the Kings defenseman as of late.
Earlier this season Doughty made public comments that suggested both he and Ottawa Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson would both be testing the free agent market at the end of the 2019-2019 season, and now he appears to have thrown his former coach under the boss.
Doughty was asked on Friday about what it was like to play under head coach John Stevens as opposed to playing under Darryl Sutter who led the team to a pair of Stanley Cups, and while it was clear Doughty was attempting to praise Stevens, it painted Sutter in an unfavorable light.
"[Stevens is] more of a players coach. [Sutter] was a motivator, and a guy who, at times, you were literally scared to approach him because he had that intimidation factor, not that Johnny doesn't have that intimidation factor, & can't lose it on the group. He can. But you feel like you can go to him and ask him a question, and you're not going to get a smart ass remark back."
While there's no doubt that Sutter's brand of coaching worked for the Kings at the time, they did after all win a pair of Stanley Cups, it also seems fair to say that it didn't sit all that well with his players. Doughty even stated as much in his own words:
"Darryl did a great job for us, too. But eventually, when you have that type of coach, I think it just wears on you, and I think that's kind of why we went downhill."
It's pretty incredible to see a player like Doughty put the blame on a two-time Stanley Cup winning coach for the team's slump, but there's no reason to suspect that he isn't being honest here.
One has to wonder if the coaching change that eventually came when Stevens was hired and a large chunk of the front office was replaced shouldn't have come sooner. It also leads me to ask if the Kings couldn't have done more with a coach that didn't do so strong of a job of seemingly alienating his own players.