Doughty camping out with Knights
Vows to stay in London until contract dispute over
RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
|Kings defenceman Drew Doughty warms up before a game against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, Ont., Jan. 26, 2010. (Abelimages/Getty Images)
LONDON, ONT. - Recently acquired goalie Jake Patterson will never forget his introduction to the London Knights.
One of the first shots the 17-year-old Sault Ste. Marie native faced in practice was from NHL all-star defenceman Drew Doughty.
The Los Angeles standout has vowed to continue skating with the Knights until his contract dispute with the Kings is resolved.
"I was skating with the rest of the pros at home here last month and when they left, I just stayed on with the Knights," the 21-year-old Doughty said. "I thought it would be better to skate with a team that's getting ready to start a season than just go on my own and it's worked out well."
The last time Doughty was on the ice with the Knights at the John Labatt Centre, he was booed for nearly single-handedly leading the Guelph Storm to a playoff series victory over his hometown team in 2008.
"I hope no one in Guelph gets mad at me for this because I'm a Storm player through and through, but it didn't make sense to drive all the way there just to skate and this is my hometown," he said. "It's been fun and the Knights have a lot of good young talent here. It'll be great if some of them make it to the NHL some day. It doesn't feel that long ago that I was in the OHL."
London head coach Dale Hunter welcomed the opportunity to have Doughty work out with his club for as long as it takes before he signs.
"It's good for the young kids to see a top NHL player like that," he said. "It gives them something to shoot for."
Former Knights Kevin Montgomery, Leigh Salters and local pro goalie Daren Machesney have also attended recent Knights practices.
Doughty didn't hold back in drills and blasted some wicked one-timers at the net.
"I know what he (Patterson) is feeling," Knights veteran goalie Michael Houser said of his new teammate, plucked from the Plymouth Whalers. "The very first day I showed up in London, I was already pretty nervous and Rob Schremp was one of our shooters.
"I was trying to look good and having Schremp out there with his shot didn't help me much."