Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 10/1/11

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 31: Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings warms up before playing against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 31, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Drew Doughty is back in the fold with the Los Angeles Kings following a hectic 24 hours that began in Ontario, Canada at midnight early Thursday and continued in the afternoon at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo when he addressed the media and took part in a skate for the first time in a Kings practice jersey since agreeing to an eight-year, 56-million dollar contract late Thursday. Referencing the desire to be a part of an organization that he believes has the opportunity to make a run at several Stanley Cups, Doughty also clarified his position to the Los Angeles fans who may have gotten impatient during his contract stalemate. "It was never a question of me not being a member of the Kings or me trying to ruin the team or anything like that," Doughty said. "I apologize that I wasn't here in time, and that maybe some people think that I didn't go about doing things the right way. It's part of the business, and that's past us now. It's in the past. We're just going to focus on this season, and like I said, taking this team all the way to the finals and winning it." One of the aspects gleaned from Doughty on Friday was how much his teammates mean to him. At 21 years old, his youth and charisma were evident every time he referenced how happy he was to be back with "the boys", with whom he had been texting and keeping in touch with over the summer and the pre-season. His excitement in traveling to Hamburg, Stockholm and Berlin to open the season next week was based heavily on his excitement to get back to spending quality time with his teammates. "Whenever I needed someone to talk to, or anytime I needed to talk to anyone, they were there for me," Doughty said. Those teammates are also expecting Doughty to shell out for a decent dinner every now and then. "I know the boys won't let that one slide. I owe it to them to take them to more than one dinner," Doughty quipped. "He's buying more than lunch, that's for sure," Dustin Brown said. Citing the work he had put in at the gym and on the ice over the summer, Doughty said he weighed 203 pounds, down from his normal playing weight of 210. He had been skating for the last several weeks with his hometown London Knights, OHL rivals of his junior team from 2005-08, the Guelph Storm. Head coach Terry Murray was excited to get Doughty back into the mix and said that he may see his first time on the ice during Tuesday's final exhibition game against the DEL's Hamburg Freezers. For Murray, there was a sense of relief that the signing occurred before the team left for Europe. "As a coach, you're just hoping it happens," Murray said of the contract signing. "That he's able to get back and get some quality practice time in with the team before the season starts, because again, I've been through this before where players come in and sign this contract the day before the season starts, and one player got hurt one year and was out for an extended time, and the other player was brutal. Outright brutal. A minus-11 in five games. I'm really happy and I'm excited that the deal got done, that everybody worked so hard to get this resolved, and now we can get a week of practice time before the season starts." Though it was obvious Doughty would eventually be rewarded handsomely, there was still plenty of stress as contract negotiations continued in his absence. "I was counting down the days until the season started," Doughty said. "At first, I didn't want to miss camp, either. I was just counting down the days until camp started, and ended up having to miss that. I'm not happy that I had to go through all that, but now that it's done, I'm just happy I'm here. I'm happy to be with the L.A. Kings. I apologize to all those who had to patiently wait for me to get here. Now that I'm here, I'm fully committed to making this team better." NOTES: The Kings (3-1-2) edged the Ducks (3-4-0) 3-1 in Anaheim Friday night before a lively crowd of 16,927 at the Honda Center. Mike Richards gave Los Angeles the lead in the second period before Teemu Selanne equalized with a one-timed feed from Lubomir Visnovsky on the power play. The game-winning goal was recorded by Willie Mitchell, who took a drop pass from Anze Kopitar on a four-on-three rush and blasted it off the inside of the post and in with 5:43 remaining. Kopitar iced the game with an empty-netter and offered his thoughts on the team's recent play."I think we're doing good. Last game in Colorado, we had a good game. This one maybe was not as technical, was not as good. But we came out of it with a win, and it's good for our confidence." The Kings will fly to Las Vegas to take on the Colorado Avalanche for the 14th installment of Frozen Fury. Los Angeles has won the last two games in the series and holds a 10-4 overall record, going 8-4 against Colorado and 1-0 against San Jose and Phoenix. The inaugural Frozen Fury took place in 1997, when Donald MacLean's overtime game-winner gave the Kings a 4-3 victory over the Avalanche. The team will fly to Germany immediately after the game Saturday night to prepare for Tuesday night's game against the Hamburg Freezers, which will be followed by season-opening games in Stockholm on Friday, October 7 against the New York Rangers, and in Berlin on Saturday, October 8 against the Buffalo Sabres.
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