Doughty campaigns for Kings

If you read Don’s interview with Drew Doughty a few weeks ago, Doughty made no secret of the fact that he wants to play for the Kings. Doughty, one of the top prospects in next month’s draft, could very well end up being a King, if the team doesn’t go with Zach Bogosian.

Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times, stuck in Detroit for the Stanley Cup Finals, caught up with Doughty today and he talked more about his desire to be drafted by the Kings.

Playing for Kings would be ‘dream come true’ for No. 3 draft prospect

Dean Lombardi, Michael Futa, Mark Yannetti and the gang are out all over the continent this month, having sit-down meetings with prospects and their families, and the group will be in Toronto tomorrow for the draft combine. I’ll do my best to get an update on how things looked in Toronto.

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Mark Morris Q&A

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Hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend. It’s hard to beat sleeping in on a Monday morning. But to get back into the swing of things, here’s an interview Don just did with Mark Morris, coach of the AHL Manchester Monarchs. In the interview, Mark gives some perspective on the season and what it’s like to coach at the highest minor-league level. It’s another great interview by Don with an interesting subject…

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Norstrom retiring?

Thanks to our assistant managing editor (and blog contributor!), George Foulsham, for passing this along. Mattias Norstrom has told the Dallas Morning News that he’s going to take some time to think about whether to retire or return to the NHL next season, and that if he does return, the Dallas Stars would be his first choice.

Family comes first for Norstrom

On a related note, George will leaving us in a couple weeks, for an exciting new position. It’s a big loss for the paper and for me personally, as George has become a great friend and supporter of the blog. He’s also an ardent Kings follower, so I’ve asked him to write something for the blog before he departs. Good luck, George!

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“Roundtable” breakdown, part 3

Here’s the third and final installment of the question-and-answer session from last night. Hopefully I did an adequate job of proving y’all with the major points addressed. And given that two-thirds of those who have voted in the poll say they don’t care that the Kings are losing money, it seems that Chris McGowan, for the most part, was correct…
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“Roundtable” breakdown, part 1

I’ll do my best here to give the high points (or low points, depending upon how you look at it) of the Kings’ season-ticket-holder “roundtable” event from last night. If you have any follow-up questions, fire away, but I’ll try to give a good summation of the questions and answers from the event. The participants in this event were assistant general manager Ron Hextall, chief marketing officer Chris McGowan and team president Luc Robitaille. Here’s the first part of it…
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Season-ticket “roundtable”

Just got back a bit ago from the event. A very interesting night. Quite a few verbal grenades lobbed at assistant general manager Ron Hextall, chief marketing officer Chris McGowan and team president Luc Robitaille — most of them directed toward the first two — but they hung fairly tough and did a decent job of appeasing the crowd. Hextall, for not having a ton of management experience, seems very comfortable in these situations and isn’t afraid to give frank answers, to the extent that he can without tampering and/or giving away closely guarded secrets. For those who might have been wondering, Dean Lombardi is out of town for some draft-related scouting.

So what did I learn tonight?

1) Lots of people are angry about parking-price increases. Lots of people. It’s a huge issue, even more than the ticket-price increases. Most of the anger seems to be regarding Lot 8, which has increased from $20 to $30 per game. There was particular concern among the female fans, who expressed concern about walking to their parking lots, which are getting farther and farther away even as they’re also getting more and more expensive. Not a lot of answers from the Kings folks on this one. They say they don’t totally control the parking prices and that much of the problem comes from new construction taking the place of parking lots. That one got a lot of justified chuckles, because who’s building the majority of those buildings? A fella by the name of Anschutz.

2) Fans don’t care that the Kings are losing money. Fans didn’t say that; Chris McGowan did, several times. They’re done talking about the fact that they’re losing money because, they say, the fans don’t care. So either I’ve been way off base on the importance of this issue, or what I saw tonight was a real strong attempt at a Jedi Mind Trick.

3) There are some angry fans out there. And I’m not necessarily saying it’s unjustified, but even people who were complementary of the Kings in some areas had some real stinging criticisms, in just about every area you can imagine. Parking prices, ticket prices, beer prices, price and selection of food, season-ticket representatives, time-share salesmen, free-agent signings, draft picks (including Thomas Hickey, a year later) and coaching. That’s just off the top of my head. Again, I’m not saying all the questions — or even most of them — were unjustified, and there were a lot of strong questions as well, but I have to say that I underestimated how upset fans are.

There are so many other things. I took very detailed notes and starting tomorrow morning I’ll go through and give you the highlights of the questions and answers. As I indicated before, Hextall gave the best answers, on topics ranging from acquiring a goalie (don’t hold your breath), acquiring a defenseman (they will aggressively look to trade for a 30-or-under defenseman), Jonathan Bernier playing in L.A. next year (possible but far from certain), the re-signing of Patrick O’Sullivan (they’re working on it), the buyout of Dan Cloutier (they’re talking about it but haven’t made a decision) and a bunch of other stuff. I’ll get into more detail tomorrow morning…

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