So the Los Angeles Kings fell to the Ottawa Senators in Kanata tonight, but remain atop the Pacific Division. After missing the playoffs last year, the Kings made sure they started the season off on the right foot and will not be content to just enter the picture as the 8th seed this time around, thanks to the ever-stellar play of Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty, as well as the timely waking up of Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.
Ironically, Doughty has been saying his team's trip in the East against the likes of Norris Trophy winners Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban was a chance to show what he can do to members of the press here, and he sounded miffed and perhaps even bitter at times in this piece on NHL.com, where the two-time finalist talks about wanting recognition for his ''better'' play.
So far, it's 1-0 Karlsson, not just for the 5-3 win, but also, as Doughty has claimed to be better on the defensive side, his -3 showing against Ottawa is a clear message that he might want to check his ego at the door, whereas Karlsson's goal and assist leave him at +1. Subban got the best of Karlsson on Saturday night, and Subban will face Doughty on Thursday.
In my opinion, all three are worth building a team around. They are the best and most complete defenders in the league; Doughty was always pretty much top-notch at everything, and Subban has had to polish his defensive game but always had the offensive flair and hits; Karlsson has the attacking part down pat, but has worked on both his defensive prowess and hitting, which is now a big part of his game.
They will likely each retire with at least one Norris each, perhaps two each (Karlsson's already there), so it's a testament to how they dominate at one aspect either overshadowing the rest or have a level of compete that makes the average of their qualities rank them higher than any other defensemen in the world.
The fact that Subban and Doughty both suit up for Team Canada does give the country an edge in international competitions, though.
Here's the Kings superstar wearing the team's black (home) uniform with a matching game-worn jersey swatch: