Here’s the second part of the Q&A with Jim Fox…
1. Given the number of years that the Kings have struggled to find themselves, are you excited about the upcoming season? Why, specifically?
2. What do you think has been the biggest obstacle to the King’s success in the past? Do you think that this team and the new management have finally figured it out?
3. Who do you think will be the biggest star next year and why?
4. Who are you voting for – Hilary or Obama? There really is no other choice is there?
5. If you could play on any past Kings team, which one would it have been and why?
1. I am excited about the upcoming season because I think the Kings are “no doubt” a better team than last year…there is more balance up front and I think that the addition of the free agents will only help the young guys develop quicker and become core players as opposed to up and coming players…Kopitar will have more offensively gifted players to pay with…same for Cammalleri/Frolov etc…last year, it was really thin up front when it came to scoring and spreading around the offensive production was a concern…Handzus/Nagy/Calder will help.
2. The biggest obstacle to the Kings success has been the lack of quality NHL goaltending on a consistent basis and the Kings understand that…they are trying to get this settled as soon as possible, without “giving away the farm.”
3. The biggest star next year…wow…tough question…I have always thought that Alex Frolov had more in his tank…he has taken positive steps, but I would like to see more…if we do, he could be the guy.
4. I can’t vote…I’m a Canadian citizen.
5. I would have loved to have played in 1993 in the Stanley Cup finals…the playoffs are a marathon…to go through such tough times and have success must have been very rewarding…the Kings didn’t win it, but the journey was spectacular.
From Mike: Seriously Jim, Paul Mitchell or Vidal Sasoon ? In all honesty many kingsfans are very optimistic after this summers free agent signings. From your standpoint, what changes can we expect in the a Kings system due to all the offesive punch on the blueline?
Jim Fox: No big changes as far as system go…an improvement should be there because there is more skill to go around and that should fit into Crawford’s system very well…there is more balance up front and that should help the defense move the puck…I think you will see some changes on the Power play…not as much with system, but they Kings should have more options when it comes to personnel and “zipping” the puck around with the man advantage…the numbers on the PP were not great last year, not too bad either…but big goals at important times are just as important than PP percentages…the Kings should be better suited to put games away…more of a killer instinct.
From Aaron: Jim, Thank you for taking the time to do this. I would like to get your thoughts on the 5 UFA’s the Kings signed this summer in Pressing, Handzus, Nagy, Calder, and Stuart? Do you think any of them is capable of really stepping up and surprising everyone?
Preissing: Solid with and without the puck…poised…run to finals to Ottawa should benefit everyone involved.
Handzus: Talked to some people in Chicago and they are sad to see him leave…everything that Dean Lombardi said about his character was confirmed by the people in Chicago…he loves to move the puck and there will be times when everyone will want him to shoot more, but the positives outweigh the negatives.
Nagy: Upside is, point-a-game player…skill is certainly there with this guy…should be able to get things going as far as balance goes up front…he is at the stage of his career where he needs to prove he can be “the guy”…he does have the skill.
Calder: Old time style…muck in the corners…skating is not as good as you would like in the “new NHL”, but his competitiveness make up for that.
Stuart: Has all the tools…has had some down times the last little while…played better with Calgary late last year…the type of defenseman that can play in all situations if needed…
The guy who can “step up” and “surprise” may be Nagy…he has been a point-a-game in the past…is there a “next level”?
From Earl: Jim, how many times did Ed Hospodar save you in juniors or how many times did you save him?!!
Jim Fox: Boxcar saved my butt more times than I can count…as far as saving him…we’ll just say that he didn’t need my help.
Story about Ed…at the end of my 1st year with the Kings we played the Rangers in the 1st round…during game 1 there was a big brawl on the ice…as players were milling around, I ended up next to Ed…not much had started yet, but Ed was looking to “get involved”…he said to me “get out of here”…and I said I wasn’t going anywhere…again he said “get out of here”…I knew I wasn’t going to outmuscle him but I thought maybe I could prevent him from going after someone…when I didn’t leave, the next thing I felt was his glove on the side of my head (thanks goodness for the “bowling ball helmet”)…he just hauled off and punched me in the side of the head and tried to go after someone else…after it was all over, I think he was just warning me, that was his job and he felt he had to do it.
Like most tough guys, Ed was a saint off the ice…open doors for everyone…please and thank you…one of the most polite people you can ever meet…my 1st year in Ottawa (OHL) he took me under his wing…we were basically neighbors and he helped make he feel part of the team…on the ice…absolutely out-of-control.
From Ex-Sportswriter: Forget Hillary or Obama … Jim Foxx for President! Seriously though, I would vote for a hockey puck before I would vote for Hillary. She seems so contrived when she answers questions on TV or in public. Jim, how about a run at the Presidency? If not that, what do you think your next job will be after doing color commentary (you are the best, by the way!) for the Kings? Coaching, perhaps?
Jim Fox: Thanks for the comments…I appreciate it…next job after color commentary…don’t want to think about that yet…would love to work as a commentator for another 75 years or so…over the years I have tried to learn about wines and winemaking…that would be an area I would like to pursue…before I work in TV I was in the Community Relations department with the Kings…a lot of work, but very rewarding…I especially enjoyed working on special events like Tip-A-King and golf tournaments etc…event management, I think that’s what you call it…that has always been fun for me…coaching is something I was very interested in about 10 years ago…but I think I “missed the boat” on that one…I do miss the everyday competition that came with playing and you probably get from coaching…I found it very satisfying to have an immediate result at the end of the day…in other jobs, that feeling isn’t always immediate…the win or loss is something that you never forget.
From Lucky: Jim, who is your suprise pick to make the club? What do you think of the teams D?
Jim Fox: Surprise pick to make the team…so tough to pick…I’ll go with Brady Murray…if there is an energy spot open, there is no doubt Brady brings energy…he’s very intelligent, but I love his hard work…maybe he’ll get a shot.
From motor701: Hi Jim, From your standpoint, where do you see the Kings finishing this season? Are we playoff bound given the added players? Thanks in advance!
Jim Fox: The added players should put the Kings into a position to make the playoffs…if they don’t, I think it will be disappointing…of course, goaltending will go along way into determining what happens…that area is a concern…if it gets shored up, then the additions should make the Kings a playoff team…that should be a realistic goal for them.
From Nick: Hi Jim, What did you think of O’Sullivan after the call-up compared to the first stint with the team? Obviously he was better, but with you being a former forward, I would be interested in hearing your perspective on how much better. Thanks!
Jim Fox: As you mentioned, O’Sullivan made some strides last year…no question he was more confident at the end of the year…from my experience, that should continue…almost automatically…that doesn’t mean it will be easy…after my 1st year, when I came to camp for my second season, things just seemed “more understandable” to me…I didn’t have to think about every move I was going to make…you get to know the other teams and goalies better…that always helps…during this summer’s prospect camp, the Kings management was impressed with his continued improvement as far as work ethic and attention to “away from the puck” detail…he went down awkwardly in a scrimmage and hurt his ankle…he could have easily stayed out the rest of the way, but he came back and played…that is the type of “character” that they are looking for in all players and Patrick showed he wants to be here…that may be half the battle.
From trapper9: Jim, your awesome! thanks for all the work you do both for the Kings and in the community.
Jim Fox: Thanks for the comments…it is my pleasure to work for the Kings, both on TV and at our community events…the support we get from the fans makes it that much easier…there hasn’t been much success of late, but our fans are still there with us…not only at the games, but also at the community/charity events…thanks for your support.
From Chuck: Jim, who do you feel has been the Kings best goalie over the past 25 years? Do you see a future top goalie in the system now?
Jim Fox: I think that Kelly Hrudey was the most effective over the last 25 years…having said that I’m not sure if the Kings have had an “upper echelon” goaltender since Rogie Vachon…as far as the “up and comers”…Jason LaBarbera will probably be given the chance to prove that his minor league numbers can become NHL numbers…Jonathan Bernier is the “goalie of the future” and his credentials say he can be a top tender…free agency and trades are always an option…the Kings have stock-piled many assets for the future…sometimes you keep those assets, but sometimes you use them to get someone from outside of the organization…flexibility is very important, especially in the “salary cap” era.
From Steve: What is the fascination of Deam Lombardi bringing in useless players like Scott Thornton and Brian Willsie? Jim I know you cringe your teeth in the broadcast booth when either one of those players are on the Ice. Why was Modry resigned when some of his money could have went to futue impending free agent Mike Cammalleri? Lastly do you see Lombardi going after the likes of Danny Heatly, Marion Hossa, or Mikka Kippursoff next season?
Jim Fox: Dean Lombardi felt that the Kings were still in the developing stage and he was in the process of “stripping it down” in order to rebuild with a solid foundation…during that stage, character guys are very important for the development and building the proper habits for the younger players…many times these players are past their prime as far as being “impact” players…but you sacrifice some of that for the “experience” they can bring…having said that, players like McCauley (injury) and Willsie had off years…I expect Willsie to be much better this year…never going to set the league on fire, but 15 goals should be expected.
It’s fair to say the Modry has not been the most popular player over the last few years and I’m not sure anything I can put forth will change any minds…what I do know is…under Andy Murray, Modry led the Kings or was near the top in ice time…he does a lot of things well…is he dynamic?…no…but he gets the job done…is he physical?…no…but he helps in many areas…defensemen are tough to come by.
Will the Kings go after the Hossa/Healtey/Kipprusoff in the future…I’m sure they will…but the next step is making the playoffs…until that happens, that will be a concern for prospective free agents…they want to be part of a winner…the 1st step towards that is getting to the post-season…after that happens, then it becomes more realistic to acquire the top free agents.