Forum answers III

Here’s the last set of answers from the original post. I’ll do one more, to answer some of the questions that trickled in yesterday and today. Thanks for all the good questions!

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Question: Random question alert! Bob Miller has his top 10 playoff goals in Kings history up on the Kings website, which got me thinking. What is the most memorable Kings goal you’ve ever witnessed? And just for kicks, do you have a most memorable Kings fight?

Most memorable goal? Oh, that’s an easy one. The comeback playoff game against Detroit in 2001, when Eric Belanger scored the game winner in overtime. Memorable mostly for this reason: due to our early deadlines, I had to file a story during the middle of the third period. So I actually filed a complete story that had Detroit winning the game. I had to do just a LITTLE bit of rewriting. I remember being on the phone with the office, yelling the pertinent information about the game-winning goal into the phone so they could insert it in my story. Probably took about six months off my life, but a memorable night. The most memorable fight, and certainly not in a good way, would be when Ryan Flinn fell and hit his head on the ice. I think he was fighting Vandermeer. Your heart sinks a little when a guy doesn’t get up.

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Question: Is there any chance of us trading up in the draft (Dallas pick) to have two picks in the top 15 (preferrably top 10)???

Top 15? Yes. Top 10? Probably not. But I think the Kings would love to get back somewhere in that range and maybe grab another defenseman.

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Question: I guess my question, ultimately, is how optimistic about “the plan going forward” are you? Someone asked earlier if you could read between the lines for us, and this is essentially that. Do you see management and ownership sticking to this and giving Sully, JJ, Bernier, Kopitar, Boyle the big multi-million contracts when they deserve it in 2-6 years?

Right now? They’re absolutely sticking with it. A year from now? Who knows? Lombardi said it himself. Ownership has the right to change course at any time. A year from now they might be frustrated and decide to blow it up. But for now, the plan is to go heavy on the young players and keep an eye on the payroll so that the players you mentioned can be locked up when the time comes. With a salary cap, that’s really the only way to do it.

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Question: 1. What kind of style of hockey do you think Dean looking for? We know he wants a coach that has success with young hockey players. 2. What impact does the coaching change have on Cammy and Cloutier situations?

1) I don’t believe style of play will be a major factor in terms of selecting a new coach. In all the times I’ve talked to Lombardi, I’ve never heard him preach about a particular style of play. I think he’s much more focused on finding the right person and letting the coach play whatever style he feels fits the team. 2) None at all, I don’t believe. Cloutier won’t be on the team regardless, and the issues involving Cammalleri didn’t center on Crawford, so I don’t think that
will impact anything.

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Question: I was wondering if you guys could find any players and get their reaction on what went down with crow? Maybe even thoughts on what things they would look for in a coach? or what they think the team needs from a coach?

Players are pretty savvy, and they know it’s wise not to say too much about situations like this. Feelers were put out this week, but there hasn’t been a response as of yet. That’s not surprising. The players want to sit back and see what happens. They don’t think it’s their place to come out and pass judgment on Crawford and/or make statements about who the coach should be. Frankly, I don’t blame them. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try to get them to comment!

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Question: What do you think about drafting Shenn? He’s the type of defenseman the Kings need. Is he worth the 2nd or could we trade down?…….Now that we don’t have a Nordstrom or Miller you see how important a shut down defensemen is. What top defensemen do you see fitting in with this team? (draft)

Schenn is probably a reach at No. 2. Then again, Thomas Hickey was considered a reach at No. 4 last year, right? So I suppose you never know. There’s a chance the Kings could trade down, but I think there’s a better chance that they might trade back up, as I said earlier, to get back in the top 15 or so. I think a shut-down defenseman is absolutely something the Kings have been lacking in the last couple years, but I don’t know that any of the top prospects would come in and fill that role immediately. That’s a very tough thing to project. My tendency is to say they’re leaning toward Doughty, but there’s always the potential of a surprise.

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Question: Since DL doesn’t necessarily need someone with coaching experience, how about making Rob Blake the coach? Since the Kings held on to him for his experience, it might be put to better use as their coach.

I really, really don’t think so.

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Question: Do you foresee any future trades coming besides a defenseman? What would be a trade you, yourself, would consider making? Any chance of Pitkanen? Hear any news of Rob Blake resigning? I assume Cloutier will be bought out as soon as that period begins? What prospect are you looking forward to seeing next season? Do you expect this 2nd pick to start playing for the Kings this year?

Lots of questions there. No, besides the acquisition of a defenseman, I don’t see any trades on the horizon that would bring in an “established” NHL player. If I had to make a list of potential trade targets, yes, I suppose I would put Pitkanen on it. No news on a new contract for Blake, but it is something they are looking at. It does seem as though Blake wants to continue playing, so something will probably get done. The situation with Cloutier will resolve itself somehow. There’s almost zero chance he will be in a Kings uniform. Which prospect? Brian Boyle. I want to see how much of an impact he can have at the NHL level. And I think there’s a chance the No. 2 pick could play, but not a huge chance. Maybe around 30 percent, if I had to put a number on it.

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Question: Why would a team that’s “losing money” choose to pay two coach’s salaries next season?

Fair question, but let me flip it around on you. If the team is convinced that Crawford is the wrong coach, would you want them to keep Crawford just to save money?

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Question: So, my question is this, do you think that Lombardi is limited by the fact that he doesn’t seem to have any limitations? I mean, it seems like he has been able to buy his way out of mistakes — MacCauley, Cloutier, Crawford — or throw money at players and hope something sticks — Nagy, etc. I mean it seems like he is one of the few GMs that can spend to the cap and has just for the hell of it.

I certainly don’t think the folks at AEG would agree with you and I don’t think Lombardi would agree with you. He might have the authority to spend money, but every GM does. The Kings were roughly in the middle of the league in terms of payroll last year and you can bet that management is taking note of the fact that Lombardi’s free-agent signings have been rather underwhelming, to say the least. He’s getting some rope here because of the fact that the future looks good. But a GM only gets so much rope.

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Question: Am I correct in thinking that Visnovsky’s no trade caluse on his new contract does not kick in until July 1 of this year? If so, do you think he is on the trading block, considering that he is the only vet with any value, and the fact that Lombardi said that the team is going even younger next year.

You are correct about the no-trade clause. And I think the scenario you just presented is very legit.

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Question: Will the rookie tournament (with the Kings, Sharks, Ducks and Coyotes) be back this year?

Possibly, since none of those teams is making another ill-advisted trip to Europe. I’ll have to check on this.

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  • voice of reason

    First of Rich, you’re the man. Could never thank you enough for all your work.

    I know you are somewhat bound by your journalistic integrity, but as somebody who is privy to as much as you are I would love if you could speak candidly about YOUR thoughts on the state of the franchise. Do you think Lombardi is doing a good job? Do you think the rebuild is working? Basically, I would love to hear you answer as a fan of the team.

  • anthony

    I guess we can all agree on one thing.
    Rich is a godsend to us all.

    At least, can we all agree on that.

  • Mark

    Rich
    Do you think Patrick Roy is on that short list? Would he be up for the challange? What a story that would be! The Man who stole the cup returns the cup hah.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll follow Mark, as much as he was a Kings nemesis while playing I’d love to see Patrick Roy coaching the Kings. He has stated he wants to coach in the NHL but not until his sons finish Junior hockey.

  • voice of reason

    Anthony–cheers to that!

    Rich for coach of the 2008-2009 LA Kings? Do it Deano!

  • Bob Bobson

    Anthony, once more you espouse your opinion but for once you are right.

    As far as coaches I hope we do NOT get, you can put Tortorella at the top of the list. He is just another yeller like Crawford. Plus he seems pretty hostile with the media. At least MC was willing to talk even when he was let go.

  • kingskicka$$

    HOLY CHRIST!!!! I agree with Anthony! Mark this day on the calendar!!!

  • Maverick

    @Mark

    LOL, I don’t think so. I think Roy would bring in Cloutier for 1 game and tell him as soon as the puck drops to skate out to center ice, grab the other team’s first line center and beat him up.

  • Anonymous

    I still think if Cloutier was a horse…he would have been shot two years ago…

  • Greg Lewis

    Just a quick question Rich. Do you think the comments about “going even younger” apply to Bernier? With the Kings weak defensive core I’d be really wary of exposing Bernier to a situation similar to what happened to Fluery. A year in the AHL and a year to allow the defense to develop more fully seems the right choice to me.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Rich,

    Love your blog. I check in at least twice a day to catch up on the best Kings coverage available.
    If I’m not mistaken, a short time ago your gut feeling was that the Kings were leaning toward Bogosian with the #2. I notice you mentioned Doughty as the player you now think the organization will target. Any reason for the change of heart?
    Thank you for the great work you do.

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