The 2010/2011 NHL season is only a few days away. The preseason is over and most teams are starting to take form. In the last few days many players have been put on the waiver wire. While the excitement of the preseason doesn't compare to that of the regular season, it is still great to be talking hockey again.
The Los Angeles Kings have been surprisingly quiet during this off-season. On July 1st, most fans saw a few big holes for the Kings to fill. Dean Lombardi did his best to land free agent fish Ilya Kovalchuk, but didn't manage to make the signing happen. After losing out on Kovalchuk, Lombardi went out and signed Alexei Ponikarovsky. Perhaps the best move from any team during the free agent period was Los Angeles' signing of former Vancouver Canucks defense-man Willie Mitchell. Mitchell is the kind of player that is going to step into the young dressing room and be a leader. While the signing could be considered risky with Mitchell coming off a major concussion, the potential rewards outweigh the risks.
Fast forward a month and the NHL preseason was upon us. Everyone was looking forward to big performances from Kopitar, Johnson and Doughty. These three players really make the core of the Kings. They are three of the most elite young players in the league. The Kings' preseason was an interesting one. The ups and downs that were shown really didn't give anyone a clear indication of how this team is going to perform come opening night. I don't think that we can complain about the majority of the roster. However, Drew Doughty hasn't lived up to expectations. After the Kings' first round playoff exit at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, everyone following hockey was looking forward to that Drew Doughty come this year. The Kings won 3 out of their 6 games, but Doughty really didn't look great in any of the games that he played. I'm not saying that he was terrible, but he surely didn't live up to the expectations that we built for him last season.
Many people are calling for Drew Doughty to win the Norris this year; I am one of them. In talking to Kings fans, there is a great sense of worry. People are scared that maybe Doughty won't get back to the form that we are accustomed to seeing him in. I for one would just like to say that I have no doubt that he will get back to where we want him to be. He is a young kid that is still developing. It will take him a few games to get up to speed, but after that we will see the Drew Doughty that we know and love. Kings fans, let's stay calm. Drew Doughty will be great again this year. I have no doubt in my mind.
Here's hoping that we will have a great season and some playoff success. Enjoy your week, and get ready for another great 82 game stretch! Thanks for reading!
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