Ask Jim Fox, part 2

The second part of the Jim Fox answers follows…

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Dominic Lavoie said:
What are some funny characteristics of past Kings? Superstitions, habits, etc…?

Dominic:
Nice shot from the point…when I first joined the Kings (1980), we had to travel so much, so much of our fun came in airports, hotels etc…we used to have rookie initiations that got pretty wild, but were all in fun…those were the days…things have changed…in some cases for the good…in other cases for the not so good…I don’t know if it fits “characteristic” but when I played, the biggest issue with the Kings was the “purple and gold” colors, especially the gold at home…we took a lot of abuse about that…funny thing is…now, when I go to speak to kids at schools, I bring along all of the different jerseys the Kings have worn and I ask the kids, which one do you like best…overwhelmingly they respond with the “gold ones”…as I said, things change…

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Anonymous said:
FOXIE,
HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO GET YOUR FINELY GROOMED, FULL HEAD OF HAIR TO LOOK THE EXACT SAME WAY IT DID WHEN YOU FIRST JOINED THE KINGS IN 1980?

Anonymous:
There have been many changes in the “grooming” over the years…and probably a lot more to come…I give all the credit to “Robin Felix” of Felix Design Studio in PV…he has cut/styled/coiffed my helmet for over 15 year now…in the summer I like to get it real short so I don’t have to “screw” with it…my biggest concern during the season is “headset head”…sometimes, there is nothing you can do…to the do…

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JDM said:
Jim,
Aside from Crawfords reporteded inability to communicate with the young players, what do you think is most responsibe for the Kings lacksadasical play last season? Was that strictly a coaching issue or was there something else going on?
Also, obviously a new coach will bring a new system to the ice. What do you think was the biggest weakness is Crawfords system (not coaching style, strictly his system for making plays and position and the like), and what would you most like to see a new coach bring into the games of the team going forward? I’m curious about the finer style of the team put on the ice, obviously the defense and goaltending must improve, but is there a philosophical shift that you feel needs to be made as well to turn this into a contending team.
Finally, I love how emotional and passionate you are about the Kings. Has Bob Miller ever had to calm you down, or conversly do you find yourself having to tone it down for the purpose of a live telecast?

JDM:
First of all, I think there is too much “concern” about the coach…I believe that one of the main issues with the Kings is that they were in a “change-over” phase last year…development of the young players was the biggest priority…that can be difficult for the older guys…as for the younger guys, even though the Kings best players are the younger players, these young players are still in the process of “solidifying” their position as everyday NHLer’s…in order to win, the priority has to be on “what can I do to help this team win”…I found that for many reasons…and most of the reasons understandable…there were not enough players pulling in the same direction or too many players pulling in different directions…this is very difficult to explain, but I think you get the idea.

Another thing that continued to hurt the team was the inconsistent goaltending…it was not only goalies’ fault…it rarely is only one thing, but usually more about how different elements come together…but you usually start in goal and if this area is not consistent it effects so many other areas…I don’t think it has as much to do with systems or coaches philosophies as it does with the team “feeling” like a team…as the younger guys become a bigger part of the leadership group and as they “solidify” their positions as NHLer’s, this should improve dramatically…

As far as the emotion goes…it’s just something that happens naturally with me…I enjoy what I do and I know I am fortunate to be able to work at something I enjoy…there are a few times where Bob feels he has to put a “seatbelt” on me, but I think I’m getting it under control…as far as broadcasting style goes, I feel I do have to “slow things down” at times and I am working to try and figure that part out…

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Reggie Dunlop said:
Jim, do you feel the Kings have done enough to solidify our “team toughness”. Last season it seemed our team was pushed around and our talented players did not get the room they needed to do their thing. With the additions of guys like Green, Gauthier, etc. do you feel that is enough?

Reggie:
Who “howns the chiefs?”…the toughness issue should be better this year…along with the tough guys, it also must come from the guys who get a lot of minutes…I rarely talk to Dean Lombardi about individual players, I usually talk to him about “team issues” if anything…I can’t speak for Dean, but I do know that he is aware of your concerns and it is a concern for him too…

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Jeff Leung said:
Hi Jim,
First, thanks for all the work you’ve put in over the years, both as a player and a broadcaster. You and Bob are living legends. My question is about the evolution of technology in hockey. How has preparation evolved from the days when you were a player? In baseball, each play is tracked to the point that an advance scout may have a better idea of how a player behaves than they do, such that statistics have become as important as “ballplayer instincts.” Has hockey gotten to this point, where statistics have become as important as “hockey sense?” If so, then do you feel this is good or bad for the game? If not, then what sort of advancements do you see will become important in the near future?
I also ask because I live in the Bay Area, and since the Oakland A’s are also local, Sharks fans like to think that the Sharks play the hockey version of Moneyball. Since Dean was the GM here, but he always talks about hockey sense being so important in a player, I wonder how much of that story is true and whether or not he’s taken some of it with him to the Kings.

Jeff:
Thanks so much for your kind words about our broadcast…the “technology” now is 1000 times more specific than it was when I played…coaches have become a huge part of the equation and their endless work in devising and implementing systems has changed the game.

Numbers are always important…especially over a period of time…you have to watch the players too and know what situations he faces, but numbers can help over time…instincts will always win out…if you think the game better than the next guy, you are going to have an edge…that will never change…I do know that there is now a company that teams can “buy” information from that breaks the game down like it has never been done before…plus minus last minute of a period…scoring chances with team in the lead, trailing, when the game is tied etc…so it looks like it might get even more about the numbers…but keep in mind, the numbers come from the actions that players take or don’t take…it can help coaches and managers spot trends for strengths and weaknesses…it is a tool, but I think the most important tool is being one step ahead of the next guy…
As far as Dean goes, he does break things down very specifically…I have watched practices with him and his comments usually deal with how a player reads a situation, not necessarily about how fast he skates or shoots etc…the “Money Ball” issues will be important…managing the salary cap will be an issue…so far the cap has gone up each year…that will not continue forever…when this starts to change, it will be even more important to get the most bang for the buck…

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George said:
Jim,
Could you recommend a few of your favorite commercially-available wines under $50?

George:
White:
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand…you can get great wines for under $20 Chardonnay: I like “Chablis”…usually you can get then for under $25 Vouvray: Chenin Blanc grape (really into this right now)…good stuff for under $30
Red:
Go “Italian”…Chianti…Valpolicella…
I know I didn’t give any “brand names”…that is for you to do the research…go to your wine store and talk to the salesperson…that is half the fun…plus, if you can spend up to $50…you shouldn’t go wrong…Salute!

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Bob Bobson said:
Hi Jim,
1) Do you and Bob Miller have any pregame rituals ?
2) Who has been your favorite player to play with ?
3) Who has been your favorite player to interview ?
4) It seems important for teams to have an identity. Do you think the Kings have an identity yet ? If so what is it ?
5) How do you attract free agents to LA with the idea that they will become teachers ?
6) If you could pick one person to be our new coach, currently employed or not, who would it be ?
Thanks for all that Bob and you do !

Bob:
Thanks for the support…
1. As far as rituals…not too much to speak of between Bob and I…I can be very “superstitious” and it can get out of hand at times…too many to go into…how this for one…I have to enter the “Press Room” the same way before each game…stuff like that…
2. Favorite player to play with…Dave Taylor…when you play as hard as Dave did, it was always a pleasure to be on the same team as Dave…
3. Favorite interview…Kings…Derek Armstrong is always good…do we remember big Steve McKenna…great guy…other teams…Al McInnis…Brendan Shanahan…
4. Identity is still forming…looks like it will involve “Up-tempo” offensive skill…the young players bring that now…need more defensive balance but I don’t think the Kings will be a “defensive shut down team”…
5. Attracting free agents as teachers…not all free agents are in the “impact player” category…some players will fit the role and they realize that is the role they fit best…
6. Pick a coach…tough question…some I respect…Joel Quenneville…Pat Quinn (I don’t think pat fits the situation but I do have a lot of respect for him)…

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  • Mark

    I love the Slap Shot reference to Reggie Dunlop!

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