Kings sign two players

We’ve been talking about Erik Ersberg and Vladimir Dravecky for so long that I almost forgot the Kings hadn’t actually signed them. Well, they did today, with both guys getting entry-level deals. Ersberg, because of his age (25), only gets a one-year deal. I’ll be interested to see what happens with him in training camp.

I’ll attach the press releases below:
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My apologies

I haven’t been able to provide much coverage of late, which you can attribute to 1) the Ducks and 2) Kobe Bryant’s decision to publicly melt down. I’ve been fighting two fronts, and I know there are some e-mails I need to answer from some of you. I haven’t forgotten about it, and some good stuff will get done here as the draft approaches. The Kings let me know that Lombardi is out of the office all this week, so hopefully next week we’ll have that sitdown interview, part two.

In the meantime, if there are things you think would be of interest to everyone, please feel free to post them here or e-mail them to me. Everyone is always welcome to contribute to this blog.

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Kings in Anaheim

I’m sure all of you don’t want to hear too much about the other team in town, but in additon to George Parros (Ducks) and Joe Corvo (Senators) playing for the Cup, there is a Kings connection in the press box. Jim Fox — new and improved, with facial hair — is doing some analyis for NHL radio. If anyone has XM Radio, you will be able to hear him on the national feed they offer. Jim said he’s also doing some video spots for Yahoo Sports, which I’ll have to check out. It’s always good to catch up with Foxy, who is loyal to the Kings but also realistic about their fortunes. Anyone have thoughts on the series? I didn’t get to see much of the Sens this year but I was impressed with the way Niedermayer, Pahlsson and Moen handled their top line and not so impressed with the Ducks’ discipline, or lack thereof. Taking dumb penalties will cost them at least one game in this series.

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Visnovsky, Part 2

First, I’ll reiterate what I said yesterday, which is that I wouldn’t make too much of the story until we hear something directly from Visnovsky, which unfortunately probably won’t happen for several months. But this morning I received a second e-mail, from Scott Brown, a Ph. D. candidate at the University of Washington. Scott translated the story on one of the message boards, and his translation is in line with the first, plus he offered a strong explanation of how he translated it and the potential pitfalls with the story.

Here’s the e-mail, followed by the translation:
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The Visnovsky story

Those of you who follow the Kings closely online have probably already seen the story out of Slovakia in which, when translated, Lubomir Visnovsky seems to be doing a fairly good job of trashing coach Marc Crawford. I don’t want to post it here, but if there are a couple people out there who can translate the language and can independently confirm the translation, I would go with it. That’s not a knock on the person who did the translation, because I’m sure it was an honest effort. But too many times in the recent past, we’ve seen stories from overseas get blown out of proportion because the athlete was either misquoted, taken out of context or improperly translated. Believe me, the very next time I see Lubo — which probably won’t be for a while, unfortunately — I’ll ask him about it, but until then I wouldn’t worry too much about the story.

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The Euro goalie?

In my interview with Lombardi, he talked about the possibility of the Kings signing a European goalie born between 1981 and 1983. Well, thanks to helpful reader Harry and the good folks at HFboards.com, we might have our answer. It seems that the Kings might be close to signing Swedish goalie Erik Ersberg, who was born in…drumroll, please…1982. Ersberg played for Sweden in the World Championships, which would certainly fit with Lombardi’s trip to Russia, in which he scouted several players.

Ersberg had a 2.39 goals-against average in the Swedish Elite League last season in his first year as a starter with HV71. He was named the league’s goaltender of the year.

If this is the guy, it could get interesting for him. Lombardi talked about the possibility of carrying three goalies at the start of next season, and he doesn’t want Jon Quick to be a No. 3 goalie, so it’s possible that Ersberg (if he’s the guy) could end up on the NHL roster at the start of the season.

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Hersley on board

The Kings have signed defenseman Patrik Hersley to an entry-level deal. Hersley is one of the guys Lombardi mentioned as being part of the young core in Manchester next season, so this is something he has been working on getting done for a while. I’ll attach the news release below.

Also, I’m trying to track down some information on Vladimir Dravecky, the winger the Kings plucked out of Slovakia. He had 23 points in 52 games for HC Kosice last season.
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Lombardi, Part 4

My apologies for the delay in getting this to you. As you know, there’s still a local hockey team playing these days, so I’ve been down in Anaheim this week. By the way, I ran into George Parros in the locker room after the game tonight. I had hoped to be able to say hello to him down there and was happy to be able to do so. George wasn’t in L.A. long but he left an impression as a truly good guy. Which reminds me…on the way into Lakers practice a couple weeks ago, I walked through the parking lot in El Segundo and almost literally ran into Mattias Norstrom. He was in a conversation so I just said hello and moved on, but it was good to see him as well.

Anyway, here’s the last part, which will answer the numerous questions about the Scott Parse situation, as well as some longstanding questions about Brian Boyle and Brady Murray.

Another interview with Lombardi is in the works, as soon as next week, so I’ll keep in mind the follow-up questions that have been posted here. If there are others, feel free to post them, but please remember that I have to use my discretion in asking them. Last time, Lombardi peaked at my list and said, “You got all those questions from fans?” I’ll try to get through the topics that seem to be of the most interest. For now, here’s the last part of the first interview…
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Lombardi, Part 3

OK, this is where we really get into the meat of my talk with Lombardi. This is where he grabbed the marker, went to the board and illustrated, line by line, how the team could look in a couple years. Dean will be the first to admit that it’s far from a science, and there’s no way to determine how close to reality this turns out to be, but I found it to be a fascinating look into his thought process and a window to how he thinks the Kings will turn things around. The bad news is, well, I didn’t have a pad and pen. Rule No. 1 for journalists, right? Right. But afteward I wrote it all down from memory as quickly as I could, and I was able to faithfully recreate it.

Remember, this is a couple years down the road, and if you have questions like, “What about (fill in player’s name)?” well, that’s how Dean wrote it down. Of course, he has only taken into account guys who are under contract right now. Therefore, it doesn’t include unsigned prospects or potential free-agent signings, so don’t take it as the gospel. Below, you’ll also get the long-awaited update on the goaltending situation, in which Lombardi is quite candid, and an update on Cammalleri’s contract situation.

There will be one more part to the interview, and hopefully later this week I’ll get to sit down with Lombardi again and get to some more topics. Click below for this installment…
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Lombardi, Part 2

In this part, Dean talks about the upcoming draft, particularly in terms of the changes that have taken place with the scouting staff and the way the Kings will approach their pick (No. 4 overall).

To answer a couple questions from the last one…you’ll see below that Dean is indeed entertaining the idea of trading the pick, although I believe he will ultimately keep it. Also, someone pointed out that Marek’s size could be an asset in the “new NHL,” and Dean actually references this later, when I ask him about Brady Murray. Finally, the subject of Brian Boyle came up. Dean gave a long, detailed answer about the fact that the Kings have yet to decide whether Boyle would be better as a forward or a defenseman. You’ll read more about that in a couple days.

OK, so here’s more of the Dean interivew:
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