Forum answers, bonus edition

Here’s the last of them. Thanks again for all the great questions…

———-

Question: Is the upcoming prospect camp open to the public? Like to bring my son maybe at some point if it is…

Answer: All the practices are open to the public in El Segundo. Someone can probably answer this: do they still charge for

the end-of-camp scrimmage? I seem to remember them selling tickets in advance. But that’s the only part of the week that

would be restricted. I’ll publish the week’s schedule when I get it.

—–

Question: Of course it’ll be up to the new coach, but does Lombardi REALLY see this team moving forward with LaBarbara in

goal? And who would be the backup? Knowing DL, I highly doubt he expects Bernier to make the lineup next year, so what do

the Kings intend to do? And are they planning on re-signing Ersberg? I could live with him starting in goal over LaBarbara.

Answer: The plan, at the moment, is to go with LaBarbera and Ersberg. That’s not to say that one of the young guys couldn’t

surprise them in training camp, but the Kings don’t go into training camp counting on that to happen.

—–

Question: “But I came to find out that the market really wasn’t conducive to what Lombardi was trying to do. He really

wanted to get back into the top 15 or so, to get Teubert, and teams that held those picks just weren’t budging.” WHAT? Come

on Rich, Vancouver was willing to deal the 10th pick to the Kings.

Answer: And Tampa Bay probably would have been willing to give up the No. 1 pick if the Kings wanted to send over Kopitar,

Johnson, Brown, O’Sullivan, Bernier and the deed to Staples Center. I’m not sure I understand the point. When I say they

weren’t budging, it means they weren’t budging off their high demands. Every team is “willing” to trade, for a price.

—–

Question: Is it possible that Rob Blake could be a candidate for the head coaching job?

Answer: No. Don’t spend any time worrying/thinking about that one.

—–

Question: Who will be the captain of the future? I believe that is the one intangible ingredient that we are sorely missing

now. Maybe Jack Johnson in the future, but he’s too young still. So my question is, who? And do you believe like I do that

it’s a crucial element to this team’s future success?

Answer: It’s a fun question to ask. I think, right now, you can look at three guys at the NHL. I’d say Brown, Johnson and Kopitar are three potential candidates. They’re all a little ways away. Brown and Kopitar need to be a bit more vocal, but they’re getting there, and Johnson needs some more experience and more time in the room, but he’s getting it. We’ll see how some of the prospects fit in when they arrive at the NHL level.

—–

Question: Can you find out what the deal is with Tukonen? I’ve heard rumours he’s leaving to go play in Europe. I hope

that’s not the case. If so, what a terrible waste of a 1st Rd pick, and waste of an asset. Frankly I wouldn’t blame him

much if he did leave.

Answer: The feeling, within the Kings, is that Tukonen hasn’t done much developing at the Manchester level, or at least enough to earn a spot in the NHL. They’re still hoping to see some type of dramatic turnaround, but it hasn’t happened yet.

—–

Question: I’ve recently heard a wild rumor a former Ducks advertising employee is spreading that there is talk within the

organization of NHL expansion within the next 2-3 years. Have you heard anything along those lines within the Kings

organization?

Answer: No, I actually haven’t heard anything in the NHL about expansion in quite some time.

—–

Question: How would you grade this years draft?

Answer: I don’t have a scientific formula or anything, but I would say B+. The first-round moves seemed very solid, but like most I’m still curious about the Richardson trade. I think the Kings made some good gambles late and some strong picks early.

—–

Question: When are the Kings going to lock up Bob Miller long-term? I know he has a contract through 2008-09 plus an option

for 2009-10. If anyone deserves to see the Kings win the cup it is Bob Miller, but it appears his contract may expire right

when the young Kings start to hit their stride. Any word on getting Bob locked up after 2009-10, and if so, would he want

to keep at it?

Answer: I don’t think you have to worry about Bob Miller going anywhere. The job is his for as long as he would like it,

and there’s no indication that Bob is even thinking about retirement. Why should he? The guy looks even younger and more

engergetic than he did five years ago! Amazing. But again, the choice to return will always belong to Bob.

—–

Question Please comment on the following rumor: Former Grand Rapids Head Coach Mike Stothers name has surfaced as a

possible next Head Coach of the LA Kings. Can you do any time of story on him? Possible? Heard of him before? Know anything

about him?

Answer: Usually, nothing makes me grind my teeth more than commenting on rumors, but this one at least passes the smell

test, if only because of the Kings’ connection to Owen Sound, where Stothers coached before he went to Grand Rapids.

Michael Futa, the Kings’ co-director of amateur scouting, was the director of operations for five years. No doubt, he got

to know Stothers very well during his time there. Something to keep an eye on.

—–

Question: What do you think of Igor Larianov as a head coach or as a consultant for the younger players. He has a great

head on his shoulders and is a great student of the game. I’m not sure if he would make a good head coach or not but just

wondering others thoughts…

Answer: Head coach? No. Some time of consultant? Interesting, but probably not. But Lombardi says Larionov has taken an

interest in Voinov, in a mentor sort-of way, so maybe we’ll be seeing Larionov around. He’s apparently big into wine, so he

would have a lot in common with one of the Kings’ broadcasters!

—–

Question: just a point of clarification: Bob Miller and Jim Fox are not employed by the Kings… right, Rich? Nick and

Daryl actually are, but Bob and Jim work for Fox Sports Network.

Answer: Actually, we’ve joked around about this before, but the checks that Bob and Jim get come from the Kings, not FSN. T

be honest, I’m not totally sure how that works. I might have to pull in our media columnist, Tom Hoffarth, for some

clarity, or have Jim do another stint as a guest blogger next month!

—–

Question: Do you think DL has any interest in free agents like Ryan Malone or Steve Bernier? or will it be one dman & that’s it for free agency?

Answer: I don’t think Ryan Malone is looking at a West Coast team and Steve Bernier is a restricted free agent and I don’t see the Kings going the offer-sheet route.

—–

Question: Somewhat of an off-topic question, but just curious how the “hits” on this blog compare to some of the other Daily News blogs, which I imagine the SC Football and Laker blogs being the most popular.

Answer: Actually, our UCLA and USC blogs are almost always get the biggest hits out of anything on the website. The Kings blog is consistently third, although this weekend, with all the draft news plus the fact that it’s a down time for colleges, the Kings blog was far and away the most-visited thing on the website. Friday’s numbers were record-setting, by a large margin. So to that I say, thanks again for all the great support!

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  • JD A

    Rich,
    You’re dedication to the us die hard Kings fans is nothing short of awe inspiring. Thank you for all of the long hours and hard work you put into the site. Reading new updates always makes my day. I was traveling Friday and was able to stay up to date on all of the Draft dealings. I just wanted to say thanks again. You’re the man!

  • Matt R

    I second that. Thanks Rich!

  • Lars H

    Hey Rich:

    Have you had a chance to compare what you saw at the Kings’ Scouts meeting prior to the draft with what actually happened on draft day?

  • Duckhunter

    With the huge effort you put towards the Kings and us fans, I was just wondering, do you ever get any of your other work done? :)

  • Tim

    It is pretty amazing Rich, what did you do, 8 rounds of answers? EIGHT?! It’s no wonder that you are getting the traffic with all the content that you guys are providing, great job. Oh, what do you think of Blake as head coach? I’m kidding, I’m kidding!

  • Doug S.

    As regards the pop in traffic, I don’t know if you know that you got a very nice plug on AOL’s Fanhouse blogs as the go-to source of info for anyone who was interested in what the Kings would do in the draft. So that might have shined the national spotlight on you for a bit.

    And the extra praise and attention is well deserved. Many, many thanks for all that you do for us, Rich! I hope there’s bonus pay in it for you. :-) This blog is without a doubt one of the most important sources of info and insight for Kings’ fans.

  • PINING FOR THE COLONADE

    THANX RICH for this oasis in a desert of Kings coverage. The hits on your blog only prove other media outlets in town wrong on neglecting Kings & hockey in general like an ugly stepchild. Never could understand why the la Past Times has a great hockey hall of fame writer like Helene Elliot but barely utilizes her talents, at least in the regular season.

  • beingbobbyorr

    No, I actually haven’t heard anything in the NHL about expansion in quite some time.

    But, Rich, surely you’re aware of the ‘trial balloons’ that have been floated about Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Hamilton. Are the bounds that are placed upon you as a “reporter” (vs. the more liberal opinion-sharing role of a “columnist”) such that you may not identify them as such to your readers? Are you forced to sweep them aside as rumors even though Helen Keller could see that the NHL is laying the groundwork for growth?

  • kingsfan

    keep up the work Rich. You know we are all itching for an interview with the new prospects and can you do me a favor and introduce teubert to the 3rd tier fan base for me

  • mrk

    Thanks again Rich. What you do here is very much appreciated.

  • Lisa Lashaway

    Great Job Rich! So glad to see someone of your caliber of hockey knowledge at the Daily News and doing this blog for all of us Kings Fans!

  • brianguy

    Tim I think 9 rounds, maybe you forgot to count the bonus…

    Rich I have a question (finally thought of one I can’t find anywhere): for the Kings this season, is there any chance that we might see a few more games on FSN and/or Prime Ticket? last season was a really hard one from a viewership standpoint, with so many random games not being shown on TV. are they going to improve the back to back situation at all? it seemed like when the Kings did a home-and-home with a close opponent, be it San Jose or Phoenix they wouldn’t show the road game because it was too much work.

    it’s especially rough when games not televised are road games not available on any national network, which is so common since the Kings tend to appear on Versus and NBC oh about twice a year, combined.

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