Slater Doggett alone is not the player who is going to lift the Kingston Frontenacs out of what coach Todd Gill has labelled “a funk.”
However, Doggett and his grit-and-grind style of play is an example of the way the Frontenacs need to play to end a January slide that is now at six games without a win.
“I find that guys like (Doggett) who keep it simple, understand their role and embrace their role are the ones who have success,” Gill said.
“He is one of the guys who gives you a little of everything. Grit, offence and defence.
“Staying prepared (for an even bigger role), knowing your role and knowing the routes (systems).”
Doggett, who played Tier II junior A last year and didn’t think the Ontario Hockey League was in the cards for him after being ignored in the 2010 priority draft, says playing within the boundary of his game works best for him.
“I just tried to embrace the role as much as I could. Coach Gill likes it when I don’t try to do too much. Just kind of stick to that role of playing gritty and grinding away,” Doggett said.
“Everyone has to take a role and I’m willing to do whatever it takes for us to get wins, help the team as much as I can.”
Doggett, who is from Oakville and played for the Burlington Cougars in the Ontario Junior Hockey League last season, is determined to make the most out of coming to the OHL as an 18-year-old rookie.
He drew the interest of Kingston general manager Doug Gilmour last year when Burlington was in the playoffs. The Frontenacs brought him in for a practice late last season. Gilmour used a 12th-round draft pick last April to make sure Doggett, who would have otherwise been a free agent, was at Kingston’s camp.
“I never really thought about the OHL after I didn’t get drafted at first (in 2010),” Doggett said.
“I was just hoping to get some kind of (NCAA Division I) scholarship but the OHL came along and I couldn’t really say no,” added the six-foot, 186-pound forward, who has been used at all positions up front and even has had a stint on defence.
Doggett has modest offensive numbers — two goals and nine points — but it is his ability to play sound defensively and within the structure and style coach Gill wants, that keeps him in the lineup.
“I just have to keep it simple, play my role and be physical. Basically try to not do too much. Doing the little things are going to help us get wins,” Doggett said.
That kind of talk is music to coach Gill’s ears.
“It is so true. We have to get out of this funk and we are in a huge one. We have had a week of practices, we have showed them the video and now it’s time to go out and do it,” Gill said.
“They have to believe what we are teaching them and go out and play within the system.”
Gill said when a team varies playing its systems and structure to the point of trying to do too much, it’s like driving a car through an obstacle course.
“When you take a shortcut and knock a pylon down that’s not good,” Gill said.
“It’s the same when (players) don’t follow the routes and play (outside the system). It all sounds so simple but players have to believe in it.”
Article Courtesy The Whig-Standard