Jack Johnson Q&A

Don Fulton tracked down Jack Johnson for an interview, in which Johnson talks about his summer, his recovery from his injury and his thoughts about his rookie season, which included his first NHL goal (seen below).

Here’s the interview…

———-

When defenseman Jack Johnson fractured his right foot in a game late in the season against San Jose it ended his rookie campaign, but not before the 21-year-old had left an impression on fans, his teammates and the league.

The University of Michigan star who came to the Kings in a 2006 trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, Johnson played in 74 games for the Kings this past season, scoring three goals and adding eight assists to go along with 76 penalty minutes.

But it wasn’t so much the stats that told the story of Johnson’s season as much as it was his emerging confidence. Logging plenty of minutes and killing penalties, Johnson became one of the more reliable Kings on defense during a difficult season, and while the organization has to be pleased with his progress, most fans were left waiting for that monster break-out moment, either a big slap shot goal, or a ruthless check.

And there were glimpses.

Along with the three goals there were moments when Johnson displayed his mean streak, and of course he knocked old Kings’ nemesis Ryan Smyth cold with a clean check in Colorado back in March.

Still, Johnson feels he has a lot to prove and of course room for improvement.

Johnson is back home in Michigan enjoying his summer and took a few minutes to talk about his first full season in the NHL

Q&A: Jack Johnson

Question: The most important thing obviously is to ask if you are completely healed from your foot injury. How are you doing?

Johnson: Oh yeah, everything is fine and has been healed up for a couple of months now.

—–

Question: You can put all your weight on it and skate around?

Johnson: Yes, for sure. I’ve been skating now for about a month. I probably could have been skating a couple of months ago, but we just wanted to take some time off of it and not skate until July.

—–

Question: Can you walk me though what happened?

Johnson: It happened in that San Jose game. I got a shot off the inside of my ankle on the penalty kill. I walked it off and just figured it hit me in the ankle, it hurt like hell, but I just walked it off in the tunnel and figured I’d put some pressure on it and get the blood flowing. So I went back out and I took another shot – right in the exact same spot – and that’s what did it.

—–

Question: That’s some bad luck.

Johnson: Yeah, I know (laughs).

—–

Question: What have you been up to so far in this off season?

Johnson: I’ve actually been back in school here taking a few classes, chipping away at the degree. I’ve been hanging around with all my old buddies here, taking in a few hockey camps and I went on a vacation with a buddy a while ago. Other than that, just hanging out with family.

—–

Question: What are you studying?

Johnson: I’m just a general studies major. I don’t care what my degree is as long as I get one (laughs).

——

Question: If you were a teacher handing out grades, what grade would you give defenseman Jack Johnson for his first full NHL season?

Johnson: Oh boy, that’s a tough question. I’m tougher on myself than other people would be, but I’d probably give myself a B. I had a pretty good season, but there was a lot of stuff I can improve upon.

—–

Question: What were some of the lessons you learned from the NHL game?

Johnson: I just learned a lot throughout the year about being in good position and playing a good defensive game, but I picked up a lot of confidence this year. As the season wore on I was looked up to be out there against other teams’ top lines every night and I quickly learned that I could play against those top lines. I felt very confident about doing it and I felt very comfortable out there. I think it was a very valuable experience for me.

—–

Question: Were there any moments or games in particular where you walked away feeling like you had arrived and really stepped it up out there?

Johnson: There were a few games. A game in Minnesota, a game in Columbus and a couple of games at Staples where my job was to stop a guy like Joe Thornton, or try and stop Rick Nash or Marian Gaborik. Those were really good nights and those three are just world class players – players that I grew up watching and looked up to – and those were some moments when I realized that I could really do this and do it every night.

—–

Question: Your trade from Carolina is likely the number one highlight for Kings fans in the last few years. Was it strange to you to already have a fan base in Los Angeles before you had ever played a shift here?

Johnson: It certainly made it a lot easier knowing that so many people wanted me here. And I really wanted to be here. It made it a lot more fun and exciting coming in. It made me feel really accepted and wanted there.

—–

Question: From a distance, Los Angeles doesn’t seem like a hockey hotbed. You must get the sense that the team has a loyal following.

Johnson: It surprised me at how loyal the fan base really is there. Even though we haven’t been having good years the attendance is still right up there. You definitely get the sense of loyalty and that they want to see a winning team. They have to know that the players want a winner too.

—–

Question: It has been well-documented that Rob Blake is one of your favorite players, but was the “Rob Blake as Jack Johnson’s mentor” a bit overplayed, or did he really play a large role for you last season?

Johnson: He really was my mentor, almost like a second dad – I mean, I was living with him for half the season. I was pretty much picking his brain all season. Every time I had a question I would ask him. There were times I was probably making him crazy with all of the questions I was asking, but he was really awesome. He made me feel comfortable in that atmosphere. I mean, it wasn’t easy going in there, being so young and just out of college – only halfway through college – and stepping into that atmosphere with pros and Hall of Famers. He definitely helped me a lot.

—–

Question: That being said, you know next season begins with a home-and-home against the Sharks. I’m picturing Blake head-manning the puck into the offensive zone: Will there be any hesitation on your part to lay him out if given the chance?

Johnson: (Laughs). I’m just going to play hockey and even if I tried to hit him I’m not sure it would do anything (laughs). I’m just going to go out there and play hockey. It is going to be weird to see him on the other side, but it will still be good to see him. It would be just as weird to play Philadelphia if they still had Modry. He was just as much help to me as Rob was. I can’t thank him enough. It will be strange to see him too.

—–

Question: It seemed at times last season like you might have been holding back a little, playing things conservatively, that at any moment we were going to see some end-to-end rushes or bone-jarring clips like we have seen on YouTube that made you semi famous. Were you in fact holding back a bit last year?

Johnson: I was just kind of feeling things out, and yeah, there were times where I felt like I was holding back and hesitating a little bit. I think it is all about getting some confidence a getting a feeling for the game. It is a lot harder coming in to this league as a defenseman than it is for a forward. The mistakes you make as a defenseman are magnified than when you make them as a forward. That is what everyone told me coming in, to take it slow. A lot of guys don’t hit their prime until they are 26 or 27, but I plan on speeding that up a bit. I’m looking forward to being more myself next year.

—–

Question: The Kings obviously have a plan to build a strong team from the back-up, with you, Hickey, Doughty, Teubert to form the core, and will need someone to step up back there as the leader. Are you already in a position to be that leader?

Johnson: I believe so. I don’t think anything needs to change though for me to be a leader, just go out and play. I think there are enough leaders on the team, and with Anze, Dustin and O’Sullivan up front and myself on defense, I think there are enough leaders that we will be fine.

—–

Question: How did you manage to stay motivated last season during this phase of the Kings’ rebuilding process?

Johnson: It’s really not hard for me to come to the rink every day to play hockey. I’m 21-years-old, I’m playing in the National Hockey League and living in Los Angeles. It’s pretty easy for me to come and play every day because I am finally doing what I love for a living and I hope it never ends.

—–

Question: I realize it is still very early, but have you heard from Terry Murray yet?

Johnson: No, not yet. I don’t know a whole lot about him yet. When I was a young kid I did watch when the Red Wings and Flyers played in the Finals and he was the coach. He obviously has proven himself and has experience and I’m looking forward to the chance to play for him.

—–

Question: Between your season and the NHL and your time at Michigan, what has been your all-time favorite hit that you have dished-out?

Johnson: Um, favorite hit? I actually had a bit at Ohio State that was probably my favorite hit. I caught a kid cutting across the blue line that was similar to the Scott Stevens/Paul Kariya hit. It was an intense game and it was the weekend of the Michigan-Ohio State football weekend. It really sparked the team and we ended up winning the game.

—–

Question: What’s better: A monster hit or scoring a goal?

Johnson: It depends on the timing in the game. Each has its great feeling depending on the moment.

—–

Question: What has been your most embarrassing moment on the ice? There must be one, right?

Johnson: At Michigan we were at practice doing some D-to-D passing, and there were only two of us out there and I fell down pretty hard. The whole family was there so it was pretty embarrassing.

—–

Question: I know it is still early, but what’s your call on the worst NHL hockey city?

Johnson: (Laughs). Oh, I’d have to say the Islanders’ rink and the area just around there was the worst (laughs).

—–

Question: Okay, how about the best?

Johnson: I think the best place was New York City, Madison Square Garden.

—–

Question: Nice, so on the same road trip you experienced both the best and the worst?

Johnson: Yep, sure did (laughs).

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  • Daniel Dodson

    “It surprised me at how loyal the fan base really is there. Even though we haven’t been having good years the attendance is still right up there. You definitely get the sense of loyalty and that they want to see a winning team. They have to know that the players want a winner too”.

    Before you count the kings out this season, remember this.

  • Tompa

    What a kid, lock him up Deano!

  • OC Kings Fan

    Don Fulton, you rock.

    Thanks for you hard work!

    Jack sounds years more mature than his age. You have to love this kid!

  • Jonny

    For all of you that think picking up Modry for another year would be stupid… here’s the highlight of the interview…. and also, watch that video clip again of jacks first goal… who broke up the play to start the rush??

    Here’s the quote from jack “It would be just as weird to play Philadelphia if they still had Modry. He was just as much help to me as Rob was. I can’t thank him enough. It will be strange to see him too.”

  • Quisp

    Having said everything I said about Rob Blake, I actually got kind of misty with the tale of Blake the dad and JMFJ as the inquisitive teenager. I also liked that he shared the love with Modry.

    Anyway, I guess with Blake’s salary it sounds like it turned out to be about a buck a question.

  • Kingcussion

    Thanks Don! Good to hear that his foot is healed up. He is going to have a great season.

  • pat

    Good stuff, Don. It will be fun to see Johnson wheelin’ and dealin’ like he did at Michigan!

  • afx114

    Lets just hope that Blake’s negative qualities didn’t rub off on JMFJ. Just the good please!

  • 24diving

    Nice interview. Glad to read his ankle is fully recovered.

    Relative to the comments Jack has made about Modry, the best thing is that in both cases I heard him say how much help he gave him it was without prompting. He gave the obligatory answer about Blake but made the comments about Modry without any reference being made to him. I’d really like to see him signed here again this year.

    Here’s hoping Jack steps it up and shows more of what he got his reputation and high draft pick for.

  • Harry

    I would like to see JJ with a hipcheck on CAMMI!!!!!!

  • Ethman

    Yeah, I’ve been thinking that having Modry back would be a good idea too. As much as I’d like to see a couple of the kids get some NHL experience next season, this team is going to get worked night after night if there aren’t any veterans out there at all.

    Does anyone know if Modry is signed to Philly for another year? Can’t remember what kind of contract he had when he was traded.

    Oh well, I’m still excited for next season…and it’s only the end of July!

  • Duckhunter

    Great interview.

    Two things that JJ stated that are very important:
    1. He talked about how important Blake and Modry were to his development. Doesn’t matter if the like the veteran or not, what matters is that their out there teaching the kids the ropes.

    2. He states in a couple places how hard the NHL is to play in especially at def. I played for a NCAA Division I school (not hockey) and I can’t tell you, how intense and how difficult that was. Triple that, then you have professional teams and athletes.

    I know sometimes I sound like a broken record, but I can’t tell you how important veteran experience and leadership is. Even for the gifted players, playing in the NHL is not an easy task. You need people to help the youngsters to grow. That can’t be overstressed.
    YOU don’t want the young kids (Brown,Kop,O’sull) being the leaders for a couple reasons. One their not fully qualified yet. They still have the finer points to learn and master. And 2nd why put that pressure on these kids. These kids still need to develop and learn. Worrying about a leadership or teachers role, takes them away from their own growth.They will start focusing on other things instead of just playing the game. Yes it can be done and these kids can do it, but why? Work smarter, not harder. Its tough enough, give these kids some help Deanno. Help them develop.

  • Dan H.

    I was glad to see his comment on Modry. I’m one of the few guys that stood up for the dude when he was being dumped on daily undeservingly.

  • Bob Bobson

    It sounds like Jack was just playing conservative hockey to learn the game better. That and Crawford probably had the reins on him. Hopefully he will continue to slowly develop his sense of timing for the big hit and jumping up.

  • typicaljs

    Oh man, he even admitted that MC put the reigns on him a bit.

    I hope Terry Murray just lets him play his game, that’s all I ask.

  • Hockeywood

    I think a true leader does not worry about the pressure. They become a leader because that is who they are, not what someone else labeled them. If there is suddenly added pressure felt by someone because they were made a leader, then they will certainly fail as the leader.

  • Anonymous

    “For all of you that think picking up Modry for another year would be stupid…”

    Well you won’t find a bigger Modry hater than me over his multiple runs with the Kings. I have to admit that he was at times our best defender in stretches in his last stint. It’s tough to admit that based on how bad he was before he went to ATL, but it’s the truth.

    And come on people, give up the Blake hate. I know it’s not being shown here as much as before, but you don’t have to make excuses just to keep the bashing up here. JJ personally knows the guy. You don’t. Take his word for it already that he isn’t the villian some like to make him out to be. Not trying to rile anyone or call them out, but just saying to let the bad feelings go. They’re manufactured by fans; the people that actually have played with the guy know better.

  • Tito Jackson

    Modry was solid last year. He took too much abuse from the fans I thought.

  • Mike

    08-09 kings = 60-61 hawks??

  • JDM

    Duckhunter,

    I tend to agree with you and always love ur posts, but one thing I wanted to point out- I think there is a big difference between leaders and teachers. Sure, its great to be both, but I think most often someone is one or the other. I think the young guys can lead, but we need vets to teach. Modry is the perfect example, a teacher but not a leader. The pens moddled this well with crosby leading and the likes of sykora and sydor teaching but not leading the team

    As for JJ… Yeah, he rules.

  • yesitscal

    I’m glad to see some people starting to leave positive comments about Jaroslav Modry. A mentor isn’t necessarily the best player on your team or even a star. Kids need to learn how to be professionals both on and off the ice. Modry isn’t the best defenseman in the world, but he worked extremely hard to get to where he is. He’s a UFA, and I do believe he would be a very good influence on the young kids the Kings will have this year. it’ll be a long season and I’m sure a frustrating one, and I think a guy like Modry will be able to help these kids see the bigger picture.

  • Pat McGroyn

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Modry back, but let’s not forget Aaron Miller is still out there, too. He could possibly be a good mentor for guys like Matt Green and Teubert….

  • Mike

    Jack you’d better knock Blake on his rear end.

  • Shutout

    Let’s forget about Modry altogether. He was a liability most nights on D and made some really bad plays. Sure, he did have great skills at times but his inconsistency outmatched his highlights. The Kings D better learn how to clear the front of the net and help get the team goals against average down to a respectable level. Last season the D let the team down and the goaltending… well, let’s just say it can’t get much worse.

  • lakingzfan

    lets not forget that DL keeps saying we are a few L hand d men short…..Modry? Plus, he fits the budget of our stingy ownership and is a perfect “bridge player”.

  • Duckhunter

    JDM, thanks for the comment, and right back at you. Nothing like being a Kings fan!

    Your right on the difference of leadership and teaching. But I still don’t see the kids as leaders just yet. If I had to, I give a nod to Brown, but I would prefer someone with just a little more experience.

    yesitscal said, ” A mentor isn’t necessarily the best player or even a star” and I think he’s correct. and I’ll even go farther than that. The leader on your team isn’t necessarily the best player or star. That’s Little League and High School stuff.

    A leader is a constant improvement in motion. A student of the game, who knows his role as well as everybody else’s. One who makes everybody better, one who has a answer to all the possibilities throughout a game. A leader knows about every persons abilities and tendencies, on his team as well as the others. He’s not self absorbed, doesn’t finger point when things are going bad……….. You get my point. There’s so many things to being a leader at this level. IMO you need more than 2 years in the league to be a true leader, Of course there’s exceptions and of course thats just my thoughts. There’s a reason why Mr. Fox would pick Armstrong as his Captain. And It’s not because he’s the best player, we all know that

  • billy bob

    Sorry, this is a different topic, but just wanted to pass it along for those you have not read it. It’s kind of interesting since there was that thread about the Kings looking to sell a percentage. Here’s the storythe William “Boots” Del Biaggio III fiasco in Nashville:
    “There are two interesting tidbits related to the investigation into Del Biaggio’s financial wheelings and dealings involving two members of the NHL ownership group, Anschutz Entertainment Group (which oversees the Los Angeles Kings) and erstwhile Predators owner Craig Leipold. Problem No. 1: AEG and Leipold decided it would be a good idea to lend Del Biaggio a total of $17 million on the eve of the Predators sale. Problem No. 2: They decided they didn’t need to tell Bettman or any league official about the loans.

    Maybe Del Biaggio told them it was to help in his messy divorce; maybe he told them he lost the key to his lockbox or he needed a new set of golf clubs. Hey, all of these guys are obscenely rich (except Del Biaggio, of course) — what’s $17 million between friends? Well, the exception is both parties had a vested interest in seeing Del Biaggio close the deal.

    Leipold was so desperate to get out from under the Predators’ mess, he took over as owner of the Minnesota Wild a year ago in a deal first reported in this space. Maybe he ignored the red flags that should have gone up when Del Biaggio approached him about the loan. Maybe the deal was so important to him, Leipold ignored the internal voice that whispered, “Better check with Gary on this one Craig, don’t you think?”

    Likewise, AEG had a stake in Del Biaggio’s presence in the NHL club. They’re the owners of that shiny, new and empty arena in Kansas City, and, along with Del Biaggio, had been trying to lure the Penguins there when it looked like a new arena deal was going to go belly up in Pittsburgh. So, it was important to AEG that Del Biaggio get his feet in the NHL door regardless of the fact the loan request should have made them circumspect of Del Biaggio’s real assets.

    The unwritten rule of the NHL ownership club is no secrets, or, at least, no secrets from the big guy. When Tom Hicks (Dallas) and George Gillette (Montreal) decided to go in on a little soccer team called Liverpool, they weren’t bound by the rules to tell Bettman, but they did regardless because it was the right thing to do.

    ESPN.com has learned, that is all going to change come fall, when owners will be instructed by the NHL to reveal their financial relationships with other owners. It probably should have been done before and the errors in judgment from AEG and Leipold in the Del Biaggio mess revealed that flaw in a way that embarrasses themselves as much as the NHL. Had Leipold or AEG bothered to tell Bettman what they were doing, one has to believe the deal would have been put on hold regardless of how badly Bettman and the rest wanted the sale done. The integrity of the league and Bettman’s leadership demands it, and given his handling of the Samueli matter, we are prepared to accept that. Let’s assume Bettman didn’t cut any corners when it came to Del Biaggio’s inspection. Let’s assume if he had known about the wink-wink loans from Anschutz and Leipold, he would have put the brakes on the Predators sale. What now?”

    Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you very much for the interview. Keep up the good reading.

  • JDM

    Duckhunter,

    I tend to agree with you and always love ur posts, but one thing I wanted to point out- I think there is a big difference between leaders and teachers. Sure, its great to be both, but I think most often someone is one or the other. I think the young guys can lead, but we need vets to teach. Modry is the perfect example, a teacher but not a leader. The pens moddled this well with crosby leading and the likes of sykora and sydor teaching but not leading the team

    As for JJ… Yeah, he rules.

  • Canadian Hockey Fan

    Drew Doughty is already a better overall defenseman than Jack Johnson will ever be. Laugh it up but time will prove this out. With Teubert & Doughty patrolling the Kings’ blueline in a year or two, Jack will become trade bait once again.

  • DHockeyMind

    I always look forward to the games when Jack “MF” Johnson is playing against UND ulumni like parise or J.Toews. Makes for some fun hockey. Go UND! Go Hawks!

  • -J

    Sounds like someone is still bitter about JJ leveling Downie a few years back. Get over it.

    No knock on either of these guys, but Doughty and Teubert making it as full time D isn’t going to marginalize JJ. More likely it’ll mean the Kings have an unrivaled, elite, under 25 top 4 (adding Hickey/Voinov in) anchoring the D- and you would trade that?

  • Jonny

    Hey Rich and Don,
    Thanks again for some great work. I have an interview request :) . I think it would be cool if you guys were able to catch up with Dustin Brown. I’d like to hear what he has to say, since he was hanging around the development camp, and also was there for the Terry Murray press conference. Did the team invite him out to those events, or is he really interested in the organization, and interested in stepping up as a leader? Maybe even ask him about his contract, and the way player prices are raising, is he comfortable with what he signed, and will he be affected by younger less proven players (not mentioning any names) sign larger dollar contracts on the team.

    Just an idea.

    Thanks again Guys!

  • Jonny

    Shutout-
    Modry was a liability on D “most nights”. Come on, you’re still stuck on his first stint with the kings? He was one of the only good defensemen we had this year. I’ll Modry and Johnson, and Johnson was even better when he was on the ice with Modry. Explain that….

  • Anonymous

    nikto said:

    In 3 years, the tandem of JMFJ/Doughty
    could conceivably be the best in the NHL.

    Our 2nd pair of Teubert/Hickey could end up being
    as good or better than most teams 1st pair!

    It will be exciting this season when JMFJ & Doughty
    play together, as they surely will at times.

  • Anonymous

    Rich, do you have any details on Dallman signing overseas? How much did he get?

  • Shutout

    Jonny –

    Why was Modry on the bench for most of the playoff games with the Flyers and only saw extensive action when their best D got hurt? Hey, if Modry is the only option, then so be it because he’s a quality dressing room guy. His +- was awful, but then again so were most of the D on the Kings last season. I don’t think the Kings will find anybody better because the best players want to win and they won’t here.

  • Lori

    I am sorry to totaly change the subject, but I have a question. This is the best Kings web site that I have found. Does anyone know of a place I can post a Kings related question? I am a fairly recent Kings fan (yes, this team is still winning over new fans)& I just bought season tickets. I was wondering if anybody takes the Metro train right outside of Staples after games? I will be traveling south to the Torrance area. I am a little concerned about safety at that time of night but if there is a gang of Kings fan traveling at the same time I believe it would be much safer. Sure would save on gas & parking. Again sorry to disrupt the mood but I am not sure where to go. Maybe somebody can help. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Any of you that want Modry back should go back and look at the games he was in last season. If you want him to teach, hire him as a coach. I don’t want him anywhere near our blue line!!

  • cristobal

    Lori,
    Don’t worry about that area….just get out and start walking south….you’ll be fine…if you get lost there are plenty of friendly faces willing to point you on your way….they’ll be lying under newspapers at about 100 foot intervals…..so, happy trails….

  • cristobal

    Johnny,

    Did you have to twist the knife so cruelly, with your innocent and honest opinions?

  • cristobal

    damn, shutout’s last post was by far the most lacerating judgement yet. most NHL players worth their salt don’t want to come here.

  • JDM

    Lori,

    cristobal is just jealous he has to go to Anaheim to see his Ducks play. =)

    I take the Metro (from Studio City) all the time to Kings games. There is a steady stream of people in Kings jerseys getting on every train, though I don’t know about from Torrance. However once you get on the train that takes you straight to Staples (most people have to switch trains for the last exit) the entire cab is full of Kings fans, so don’t worry one little bit… same with the way home. You’ll be in good company the whole time before, during and after the games!

    The only sad thing about the Metro, because it is a big money saver, is that it no longer is much of a time saver. I’ve found that in the last 2 years that it takes me just as long to get home when I take the train as when I sit in traffic for 15 minutes on the 110 and then fly the rest of the way home.

    BTW, glad to hear a new fan is buying season tickets. Be ready for a life-long love affair filled with lust, betrayal, uplifting and devastating moments… but what is life without love? Not very exciting, that’s what.

  • Quisp

    I would like to comment on “most players worth their salt don’t want to come here.” Cristobal was the last to say it, or quote it, or whatever. But it’s a meme, as they say.

    I just don’t think it says anything really.

    Isn’t that just another way of saying, “the Kings are rebuilding?”

    I think so. Free agents — i.e. the pool of players who have some say in where they play — want to win games and win cups. Stands to reason they prefer to sign with teams that have won cups lately, have gone deep into the playoffs with regularity, or at least have made the playoffs regularly. No team that is rebuilding would ever be in any of those categories (I know, I know, Tampa Bay…).

    The next tier of teams would be the teams on the cusp of making the playoffs. Free Agents might sign with one of these teams if the money is right. Maybe an opportunity (playing time on a certain line, PP/PK/etc.) figures into it. By definition, every single free agent who can go to one of these categories of teams will do so.

    If you are rebuilding team, the only thing for a free agent to assess is how management is handling the rebuild. Is it a half-ass rebuild that is trying to have it both ways (as sometimes happens with teams that want to start fresh but don’t want to tell their fans they’re giving up on the playoffs for a season — you know, the way the kings used to do it)? Does the rebuilding team have a strategy that makes sense? Does management have a track record? What is the outlook for the prospects in place? What opportunities are there for a veteran?

    There is usually at least one Gary Roberts or Dallas Drake or Ray Bourque or Chelios or pick your elder statesman on teams deep in the playoffs. Even teams who were in total rebuild mode just a few short years ago. A veteran might look at the Kings and see a possibility that he could be that guy in three years. Even if he’s referred to as a “bridge” player. And I don’t think DL means “bridge” player as a pejorative. It just means you’re not building your team around said player. A vet who needs a second or third chance, maybe is coming off an injury-plagued season, or needs to rebound from a bad year, or is just getting long-in-the-tooth, guys like that who have some intelligence and vision (and maybe relationsnhips with DL or TM) might well look at the Kings and see a bright future that they might be able to see come of age.

    But such players are not going to be the top tier or even second rung FAs. And that has nothing to do with the Kings, per se.

    When people say “no one wants to play here” I feel like it’s embarrassing to the person, or it’s some kind of self-loathing in the way that sports fans identify with their teams and feel personally like they are better people if their team is better and worse people if their team is worse. Like the actual phrase is “no one wants to play here WAAAAAH!”

    I guess I could have just said, rebuilding is rebuilding is rebuilding. If players worth their salt (as defined above) want to come here, you’re doing it wrong.

  • Shakes

    Here’s a neat article on ESPN.com

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?page=brophy080724

    Basically they think that next year will be hard for us, but 2010 could be something else…

  • Anonymous

    Lori, hockey’s future boards and LetsgoKings (LKG) both have active boards centered around Kings hockey. Someone there should help. The area around staples at least is safe before and after the game (unless you park on the street and then they’ll rob your car while your in the game).

  • Naturallawyer

    I live five blocks from Staples Center and can tell you it’s safe and you’ll be fine walking to either the blue line or red line trains (I walk to Staples Center for Kings games). There are even some really nice restaurants between Staples and the red line. Those of you worried about car break-ins obviously aren’t among the tens of thousands who have bought or rented lofts, condos, or apartments in the immediate surrounding area in the last couple of years.

  • cristobal

    quisp – i think what many LA fans don’t understand is that LA is seen by many as a retirement club or a place to get paid. This is nothing new. LA fans must wonder why a guy like Anson Carter comes here, does nothing, then moves to Vancouver and is an all-star. Or why a guy like Mark Parrish won’t sign with the team, if they even offered, that rated him and Sopel high enough to trade 2 promising young players for him.
    I just don’t get what Lombardi is doing. Why take the guys that DO perform, like Stuart, and trade them on for rubbish like Richardson and a 4th rounder. If somebody gives themselves to the team, don’t toss them aside.
    I really wish we could get honest interviews from guys like Blake, Cammalleri, Stuart, Tukonen, Sopel, even Crawford, to hear what is going on from an insider.
    Most King’s fans don’t know why Blake left years ago, or this summer. Why wouldn’t he waive a trade clause, but then not resign in the summer? There are reasons things like this are going on in LA.

  • Quisp

    cristobal –

    You might be right. There may well be answers we’re not privy to. But if there is a secret, it won’t stay secret forever. And then we’ll know.

    But I do think that Lombardi is nothing if not consistent. He makes trades that move in the direction of shedding salary, bringing in leaders (prospects who are leaders), accumulating picks and prospects, and making room for the kids who are about to be ready. Blake doesn’t fit ’cause he’s old and not a great leader. Cammellari was about to be an expensive problem, and was not a good leader. Stuart (who I was sad to see go, and sad to see not return) was unfortunately one of our tastiest baits at deadline time, and I have a feeling DL wanted to stockpile picks in order to do what he wanted in June. Now, not having re-signed Stuart (which he was hoping to do, or at least tried to do) and not yet having brought in any other UFA D vet, there is certainly a hole where Stuart was that makes it look like a potential mistake on DL’s part. This of course depends on what happens with Richardson (who I like) and what happens to the D this year, and more importantly, next year (2010, I mean).

    I would also add (not that I think this is the case, but it is an explanation nevertheless) that you could make the argument that one of the benefits of Staurt and Modry being dealt is that the porous Kings D would be left out in the rain, thus insuring a higher pick in June. I don’t think this was a conscious motivator. But by the deadline, I don’t think DL was worried about a total meltdown for the last couple of months.

    Anson Carter — I don’t know. He’s an enigma. I don’t blame the Kings exactly for that one. Though I forget who we gave up for him.

    Sopel — to me he’s one of those guys I will have a hard time remembering if he ever really passed through here.

    Crawford — I don’t know what the thinking was on hiring him. I never really liked him before. I tried to like him when he was here. I almost sort of did. Now he’s gone and I’m glad.

    I guess my short version would have been, Crawford was a mistake and the rest of DL’s moves basically make sense to me.

  • cristobal

    quisp

    I’m sorry to say this to you, but it seems like you’re buying the company line…

    Crawford, Cloutier, Handzus, Nagy, Calder (maybe he’ll pan out ok) McAuley. 5 out of 6 of these are horrible. Stuart is the best move he’s made. The arguements about Johnson and O’Sullivan have yet to be decided, they are good, but will the be great. Otherwise, he has taken a defenseman (Hickey) 4th overall when he wasn’t ranked anywhere near that. He’s taken a goalie high in the 1st round and that is always a gamble, and to get Teubert he had to trade a 26 year old proven goal scorer who deserves 5 million a year.

    You say he traded Modry and Stuart because he was preparing for June, but why didn’t he fire Crawford then and ensure himself 1st overall? He just makes no sense.
    Why play Ersberg and play yourself out of last place over the last 10 games of the season?

    If the Kings are worst in the league this year, they will get Tevares in 09 draft. Will Lombardi take credit for that? How is that in any way acceptable?

  • cristobal

    Not to tell Lombardi how to do his job (wink, wink). But I see Jay Bouwmeester is still a RFA in florida, and that Karlis Skrastins is an UFA. I would trade JJ for bouwmeester in a heartbeat, and all Skrastins would take is a little of your dough.

    Of course the Kings are going for last place and 1st overall in 09, so the Bouwmeester thing is likely out of the question.

  • Quisp

    Crstobal –

    It’s true. I AM buying the company line. The “DL” line anyway. The reason is, it was MY line before it was his, or at least before he was ever here. I’m totally in favor of the total rebuild, and I like his picks.

    Now, as far as the UFAs you mentioned:

    Cloutier — BLECHH, I totally agree with you.

    Handzus — sucked last year but I like him.

    Nagy — mistake, obviously. It was a gamble and DL lost.

    Calder — I like him, but I don’t know if there will be room for him.

    McAuley — can’t even remember what I didn’t like about him. Obviously a mistake.

    Stuart — I like him.

    Priessing — I like him too. Like Handzus, I think he’s worth keeping around.

    UFAs are always going to be a calculated risk. As with the prospects, you hope that a reasonable percentage work out. Thsi time last year, we were all hoping for a Nagy breakout season, etc.. This year, we’re doing the same with the prospects. I prefer that.

    I do expect that DL will bring in a few veterans between now and camp. I don’t any especially high expectations about, for instance, making the playoffs this season. I think it’s about as likely as finishing dead last again. I wouldn’t say either of those eventualities is exactly UN-likely either.

  • Quisp

    Just for fun, here’s a file on my harddrive from the not-too-distant past, my Kings chart from some time in ’06 I think:

    Trent Klatt Craig Conroy Dustin Brown
    Alex Frolov Mike Cammellari Martin Straka
    Luc Robitaille Eric Belanger Derek Armstrong
    Jeff Cowan Sean Avery Esa Pirnes
    Lauri Tukonen Yanick Lehoux
    Scott Barney

    Kip Brennan
    Ryan Flinn
    Brad Chartrand

    Mattias Nordstrom Aaron Miller
    Lubomir Visnovsky Stephane Quintal
    Nathan Dempsey Joe Corvo
    Tim Gleason Brad Norton
    Jason Holland

    This is why I am so much happier now.

  • cristobal

    quisp

    Good stuff that list.

    Now compare some of last years names:

    Zeiler, Guiliano, Klemm, Dallman, Ellis, Labarbara, Willsie, Petiot, Ivanans, Cloutier, Jon Quick, Daniel Taylor, JS Aubin, Purcell….

    I don’t think there is any comparison.

    I don’t think Quintal ever played, did he? He was just part of the Garon deal to allow for cap room.

  • Quisp

    I can picture Quintal in a Kings uniform. But my memory is sometimes faulty.

  • Quisp

    you’re right. i guess he went to play in italy.

  • JDM

    I don’t think Quintal ever played for the Kings.

    And as far as Lombardi not playing Cloutier in order to tank for last… he tried, he called him up didn’t he? He didn’t want two of his goalie prospects bearing the brunt of the last ten miserable games of a miserable season. Crawford didn’t play Cloutier, that’s his fault, not Lombardi’s. Cloutier was there, on the bench, looking like a baby.

  • cristobal

    JDM——

    Lombardi should have fired Crawford by then. That’s what I’m (also) being critical of him for.

  • Quisp

    That’s an interesting point about Cloutier/Crawford/Lombardi. I hadn’t thought about it before, but could it not have gone something like this:

    Lombardi calls up Cloutier but Crawford sees the writing on the wall. He’s supposed to play Cloutier and then the Kings will finish last and he (Crawford) will be fired. The image of Crawford playing Cloutier in the last weeks of the season, and the Kings deadlast, would be all the public would need to forever cement the Crawford-Cloutier marriage/error in the minds of everyone. It’s like Crawford and Cloutier are walking around holding hands.

    But Crawford says f-you. Cloutier can sit. This has the effect of distancing Crawford from Cloutier. Crawford isn’t stupid. He doesn’t want to be associated with Cloutier for the rest of his life. After all, Lombardi is the one who signed Cloutier. So Crawford plays Ersberg and the Kings don’t finish dead last (technically). Crawford kind of wins that battle.

    it’s all sort of pathetic because of course Craw will be associated with Cloutier for the rest of his life to some degree…but that doesn’t mean he wants it rammed down his throat.

    still doesn’t explain why crawford is fired two months later. maybe it’s a kind of torture (DL torturing MC, you’re not fired, we love you, sooooo much, not really you’re fired). maybe he’s trying to impede crawford’s ability to get another job for the fall…

    i’m just talking out of my a*s. i’m sure really they love each other.

  • JDM

    I remember ready a few articles calling DL a genius for firing Crawford when he did (day of a big lakers playoff game), which effectively suppressed it in the major media. It got reported on, but not as much as it would have been right at the end of a horrible season. Really I wish Crawford was fired last November/December. I can understand Lombardi waiting to after the season to fire him, but 2 months is a little long.

    It’s a interesting point though about the timing of the firing.

  • cristobal

    In my mind it is Lombardi who will be tied to cloutier, Handzus, Nagy, McCauley until he proves something in LA. Not Crawford. Crawford has a cup ring, not Lombardi.

  • JDM

    Difference is when Lombardi gets fired he’ll find other work, as a GM or scout or something. Crawford is low on a looong list of “respected” out of work coaches, with only one opening for the moment. I doubt anyone is gonna sign Crawford over whoever is left after NYI hires someone and after the first few inevitable quick coach firings in the first few months of the season.

  • cristobal

    Still, he has a ring and that’s what dreams are made of. Nobody can take that away from him.

    Lombardi will have to actually DO SOMETHING significant in order to have any value going forward.

    Running a team into the ground in order to get the 1st and 2nd pick is something either one of us could do. Getting scouts you trust and actually finding gems at 11th 18th and 20th is something else. Taylor didn’t have to trade Dustin Brown in order to draft Kopitar.

  • metalmaster

    Christobal.
    You make a nice point. Anybody could run a team in the ground to get into lottery. Taylor drafted atleast 3
    players better than anybody that Lombardi drafted and
    that includes his Shark year.
    I will take Frolov, Kopitar and Brown over the best of
    DL picks the best of which were probably Marleau and
    Cheechoo. In a couple of years we will see if that changes.

  • Lydia Wells

    I think we can all agree that the Times’ hockey coverage blows, but at least one of their readers seems to know what he’s talking about. Ian in Westchester really rips Lies-Weekly in today’s letters. Way to go Ian, if you’re reading this!

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-letters26-2008jul26,0,7775695.story?page=3

  • tainted

    finishing last only gives you a 50-50 shot at the #1 pick. there is a stud Dman on the Chiefs?

  • JDM

    “Getting scouts you trust”

    This is what Lombardi spent his first year and a half doing.

    “and actually finding gems at 11th 18th and 20th is something else. Taylor didn’t have to trade Dustin Brown in order to draft Kopitar.”

    If Andrew Campbell, Garret Roe, Voinov, etc. pan out then Lombardi found gems. Simmonds is shaping up to be a steal at #61, and Moller at 52. Holloway at 86, Meckler at 134. Martinez, 95. As for Taylor not trading Brown to draft Kopitar… I’m assuming you’re referring to the Cammy trade to draft Teubert, in which case, especially if Tyler Myers doesn’t pan out too well and Teubert does then Lombardi will look like a genius. And Cammy was traded so that we have TWO top 15 picks in the best draft pool in years. How is that bad? Taylor drafted like crap beyond the first round, which is where the real drafting takes place. Huet was Taylors best gem beyond the first round. Even in the second round, Cammy was Taylor’s only decent pick. Taylor also never bothered drafting defenseman in the first round except for Grebeshkov. In all those years, Taylor even waited until the 3rd round and on to draft his defenseman. Sure, he drafted a few in the second round, like Lilja… but perhaps his lack of using high picks on defenseman is one of the reasons DL had to spend 3 years stockpiling defensive prospects. Taylor could have drafted Mezsaros in 2004, instead we have/had Tukonen. He could have taken Carle over Pushkarev in 03. In 02 he drafted Sergei Anshakov at 50 when Duncan Keith went at 54.

    Hindsight isn’t pretty for Taylor. Brown, Kopitar and Frolov were awesome picks and I’m thankful Taylor made them. But his constant knack for trading away 2nd round picks and not drafting dman until the 3rd round or later has really come to bear its fruits today in our poor defense.

  • JDM

    And yes, I know he snagged Visnovsky very late, and he was a diamond in the rough, but one good dman draft pick doth not a d-core make.

  • cristobal

    JDM –

    Come on, man. Get real. All you can say about Lombardi’s drafts with the Kings is “what if”. Don’t go and list these guys who won’t even be candidates to make the team for a couple of years, like voijnov.

    You say taylor never drafted decent defensemen, but then go on to list Visnovsky, and Lilja (who just won the stanley cup); and you forget corvo, fran kaberle (also won a cup); and you slight Grebeshkov (who edmonton seems to like just fine).

    Taylor drafted you Kopitar, Brown, Cammalleri, and Boyle. How are you able to even compare that to Lombardi. His best pick with San Jose was either Cheechoo (great one) or Marleau. Marleau was 2nd over all for pete’s sake. He deserves no credit for that.

    There is no GM anywhere who misses good players in the draft, but come on, its easy to go back through the draft a couple years on and pick out all the missed opportunities. And if you want to talk about poor draft choices just consider Andre Zyuzin, 2nd overall by Lombari in 96.

  • JDM

    Well, I never slighted Grebeshkov. I just said he was the only 1st round d pick Taylor made in years.

    Also, my comment was riddled with IFS about the Voinov’s of the world. Obviously we’ll just have to wait. Just as I can’t assume they will make it, you can’t assume that “won’t even be candidates to make the team for a couple of years.” So don’t tell me not to do something then turn around and do the same thing in the very next sentence.

    It is clear by Taylor’s draft history that he didn’t put nearly as much stock in drafting defenseman as he did forwards, which was mostly what I was pointing out to you. If you’re going to bring in Demitra, Allison, Deadmarsh, Palffy and so many offensive talents throughout the years in trades and free agency, why not use some of those 2nd and 3rd round picks on defenseman. I know this is all in hindsight, but its also pointing out a matter of philosophical choices Taylor made over many many years of the draft. You can’t assume that all picks will pan out, or that you will be able to retain the ones that do, this is something all GM’s know. Which is why the types of players you draft and that balance is so important. We don’t need all of Hickey, Voinov, Teubert, Doughty, Martinez, Campbell to pan out. If one is a top pairing guy, one or two are solid 3-4 and one is a specialist, or if 2 are great and 4 suck, our defense is still looking a hell of a lot better. Drafting is in the numbers and playing the odds as it is spotting talents. Taylor had a good eye for talent, much, maybe 50% of time, but didn’t play the odds very well.

    You also didn’t address the fact that Taylor frequently traded 2nd round picks away. Go through the last few draft years of Taylor and count how many 2nd round picks the Kings made. Not many. All I’m saying is that had Taylor been more interested in using his higher draft picks on defenseman then our situation would look very different. Lilja is good, and won a cup, but most Detroit fans also want him gone. He’s bottom pairing at best on a reasonable defense. Corvo is decent, not great by any means and usually ends up disliked by him teams. F Kaberle is good, but again, Taylor never solidified out defense through the draft, thus resulting in our current situation, among other things. You may not think so, but many sports writers and nhl commentators and personal think Lombardi is one of the better drafters. You are saying Stuart was a bad pick? He draft Sturm and Stuart who landed Thorton! Even though Sturm isn’t so great. Lombardi has made some poor and excellent choices. He also left San Jose a rock solid foundation that he and the next GM have turned into a constant playoff contender. Something Crawford never did that, he only managed already playoff caliber teams, he never really “took” anyone anywhere. Taylor also left us with a strong forward core, no goaltending depth in our farm system, and no defensive depth. So I just don’t understand where this distrust of Lombardi never having done anything right comes from. His track record as a GM is better than Taylors from everything I’ve seen, read, heard or observed.

  • kyle

    Is Cristobal subbing for Anthony on this string, or is it really Anthony writing under a pseudonym?

  • ryan oliver

    C’mon Rich. I’m sick of reading cristobal, Quisp and JDM. Give us some Kings news. Even if its an update on Cloutier, I need something.

  • cristobal

    JDM – Go to wikipedia and look at the drafts where Taylor and Lombardi were both drafting. Taylor only 1 pick above 11 overall, Jokinen. Lombardi also seems to have had few picks in 2nd or 3rd rounds. Lombardi eventually resorted to trading prospects and young players for veterans before being fired. He may have drafted Stuart and Sturm, how the Sharks were able to get Thornton for those two, God only knows, and it certainly has nothing to do with Lombardi. There is not a hockey fan alive who understands just what Boston was thinking when they made that trade.

    Dave Taylor’s drafting is not beyond reproach. He definitely could have found more solid, character defenders. Biron was a horrible pick. Defenseman can be acquired, however, much easier than quality forwards as proven by the Ducks (Neidermeyer, Pronger, Beauchemin, O’Donnel), and Detroit (Lilja, Stuart, Rafalski, Chelios of a couple years ago). Bouwmeester could probably be acquired currently, but with a commitment to young prospects the odds are there will be no effort to acquire.

    Goaltenders are another position where drafting high is often a mistake. Where has Dipietro gotten the islanders, or Luongo gotten florida? Fleury was great for Pittsburg last year, but goaltenders are impossible to predict. Look at the hype there was for Marc Denis in Colorado, or in LA for Jamie Storr.

    Voijnov is in no way expected to walk on to this team this year. Those are not my opinions but those of Lombardi, and probably the player himself. Not only does he have to develop physically, but language will be an issue for him right now. Teubert is really not supposed to be playing this year, although big in frame he’s not heavy enough yet. Doughty is likely to make the team but that’s only because the kings have almost nobody at defense. You brought up Thornton, but as good as he is, it took him a while to grow, adjust, and start leading the team, pretty much his 3rd year.

  • cristobal

    ryan oliver

    if you think you’re sick now, wait until you see the kings this season.

  • JDM

    I expect Doughty to be the only rookie this season. My mistake, I read your statement as “These guys won’t be candidates to make the team IN a couple of year”, when you had actually said “FOR”, so my misread, and I agree you with you there. I guess I’m just really stoked that we finally have some depth there. I absolutely don’t expect the Kings to keep all of these guys, but like I said, we don’t need to, they will give us the assets necessary to make some good trades when the time is right and we see who flourishes for us and who doesn’t.

    As for drafting goalies high, it is dangerous, but I think goaltending is one position where you really need to draft and develop your own. Mostly because a quality goaltender is very hard and tends to be expensive to acquire in a trade, and most of the good ones don’t make it to FA. Of course there are a few exceptions. I think quality forwards are easier to come by (not of Kopitars stature) than top quality defenseman. Burke did an insane job of picking up all that great d depth, but I don’t think that is as common as drafting your own top defenseman (Phanuef, Kaberle, Bouwmeester even though Florida screwed that one up it seems, LIdstrom, even Niedermayer was a Devil for a loooong time, Foote, Eric Johsnon). Drafting your own defenseman can not be overlooked. Really its all about putting together the right combination and chemistry. I always felt like Taylor was strictly a ‘top talent’ first over putting together the right types and personalities of players. Just my feeling. I love that Lombardi is so concerned with character and leadership when drafting.

    Lombardi sure hasn’t done anything amazing for this team yet, but after so many years of Taylor coming up short, I’m willing to give DL another two years to do something. If I was still hoping and believing in Taylor in 05 and 06, then Lombardi has atleast a few years of credit to put something special together, which I see the seedlings of, and aside from purely loving watching Hockey, its all I have to look forward to in the sports world. I can’t stand watching any basketball or football or baseball, I’m all hockey, and all Kings, and I don’t see any horrendous mistakes by DL AFTER hiring Crawford and trading for Cloutier.

    I’m not sure what we’re talking about anymore… this has been one of the longest ongoing arguments I’ve had on a blog or forum.

    I’m with ryan oliver, I miss Rich!

  • cristobal

    JDM – I think much of my frustration with the Kings can be attributed to my interest in other sports. I’ve become a huge fan of european football in the past 2 years and in football (soccer) there are no drafts and entirely different league structures. If teams there flounder they are relegated to lower divisions. It would be like the kings being sent to the AHL.

    The Kings ownership is a huge bone of contention for me because they were instrumental in getting the salary cap instituted.

    As a fan of professional sports, it is difficult to swallow the idea of dismantling the team in order to gain access to “prospects” and high draft choices.

  • Jonny

    Cristobal-
    Are you crazy? You really honestly think that Defenseman can be acquired easier then forwards?? wow

  • JDM

    I too despise AEG. I really hope we can get new owners and keep the team here. I don’t mind the salary cap per se, since my issues with AEG haven’t changed since before the cap. I have many friends who also follow many other sports, and they tend to fall more on your, frustrated side than my hopeful one. It’s also really tough, for obvious reasons, having the Kings as the only team I root for.

    I’m not totally ignorant as to the functions of others sports, albeit I know infinitely more about hockey, but the idea of building through the draft is not exclusive to hockey I think. If anything, I wish hockey was a little more like football where the draft order is determined soon as the season is over, strictly by reversing the league order. The lottery sucks.

  • JDM

    ryan oliver –

    found this, should quench some Rich thirst. Its a week old, but maybe people haven’t heard it.

    http://media.switchpod.com/users/hf_radio/hfphammond.mp3

  • cristobal

    Yes, I am crazy. And yes, defenders are easier to acquire than forwards. Defending is an easier task in the NHL than scoring consistently. That is why I don’t like the Cammalleri trade.

    Remember when the Kings struggled in the past when Smolinski, Conroy, and their forwards couldn’t buy goals for long stretches.

    Carolina won a cup with a largely recruited defensive corps. Even Colorado acquired Borque and Blake and won a cup. I gave you the example of the Redwings and Ducks. How many teams win with a defense that is built through the draft?

  • ryan oliver

    Cristobal, I personally cant wait for the season to start up. All the rookies and no veteran scrubs. I love it. I’m not expecting the playoffs, in fact I hope the finish last again. But an entertaining last. Tavares or Hedman, and then the Kings will be in buisness.

  • JDM

    Well all of any position isn’t going to be filled by draft picks. But Lidstrom has led that defense, whoever is one it, as Phanuef will lead Calgary’s for years to come. The Devils won the cup with Niedermayer, can’t remember who else was on that team or if they were drafted or not by NJ. But many temas BEST defenseman is a draftee, and I’m glad DL is willing to use high picks on defenseman.

    Teams are more willing to give up scorers in my opinion than they are quality dmen. I think I would buy your point more if you said AVERAGE defenseman are easier to acquire than AWESOME forwards. Like you can get all the #3-4 dmen in the world before landing a top 3 forward. We saw that the value is 2-1 in the Jokinen trade at the draft. Two solid, but not top pairing dmen for a top line center. But teams NEED that #1 guy. So lets just all sit back, bury our heads in the sand for a while and see if when we pull them out Doughty is that guy. Why not hope he is? He’s definately our most promising defensive prospect in a looooooooong time.

  • Anonymous

    Cristobal-

    “And if you want to talk about poor draft choices just consider Andre Zyuzin, 2nd overall by Lombari in 96″

    Yeah that’s a great example of a bad draft choice- a guy whose played ~500 games so far in the NHL. Just horrible.

    “You say he traded Modry and Stuart because he was preparing for June, but why didn’t he fire Crawford then and ensure himself 1st overall” “If the Kings are worst in the league this year, they will get Tevares in 09 draft”

    Finsihing last doesn’t guarantee anything. You know there is this thing called the draft lottery that determines who picks first overall, right?

    “I just don’t get what Lombardi is doing. Why take the guys that DO perform, like Stuart, and trade them on for rubbish like Richardson and a 4th rounder. If somebody gives themselves to the team, don’t toss them aside.”
    Hmm, lets see, Stuart only wanted to sign a 1 year contract with the Kings heading into last year, that’s really giving himself to the team. DL traded a UFA-to-be for picks- and you thinkg this is starnge. Dude do you even look at all the trade deadline deals- this is a common move that happens all the time. DL tried to bring stuart back, but there is no way in hell anyteam, not just the Kings, are going to pry a guy away from Detroit after they just won the cup with ridiculously overpaying for them.

    “Voijnov is in no way expected to walk on to this team this year. Those are not my opinions but those of Lombardi, and probably the player himself.”

    Oh, really. That’s not what S. Bobrov had to say, you know one of the people who might actually know what the Kings are thinking about Voynov since he’s an REAL scout (not some biased fan)- according to him, they expect VV to challenge for a spot this year (next year at the latest).

    “There is no GM anywhere who misses good players in the draft, but come on, its easy to go back through the draft a couple years on and pick out all the missed opportunities”

    Funny that you bring this up when some is using it against you, cus i read back through your comments on this and another post and it seems your all to willing to use hindsight to bash DL.

    One crack in an argument can destroy the entire thing, no matter how good the rest of what you’re saying is.

  • cristobal

    ryan oliver – have fun watching Kopitar toil in futility and end up leaving the team in a few years. This guy is one of the top 5 players in the league and the Kings are tearing down the team around him. You have just got to have veteran leadership at some level. If not, you risk destroying young players by overwhelming them.

    JDM – Lidstrom and Phaneuf are great, but the NHL is not like it was 10 years ago when NJ won with a very homegrown team. Look at Lombardi’s former team, the Sharks, and there are very few cogs left that he put in place on the defensive side.

    In addition, detroit and calgary didn’t have to tear down the team in order to draft those players. Lidstrom was synchronicity, and Phaneuf was a great pick at #9, like Kopitar was at #11.

  • Duckhunter

    cristobal, I respect everybody’s views and opinions, and there some truths to what your saying,but just let us King fans enjoy our team. I’m not saying this to be conflictive, but your taking this way to serious. Have you ever thought about following a different team? It might be best for your health. And taking peeler to heart in everything he says will only make you more negative. We all have our faults, but we also have the power to do things or follow teams that make us happy, not sad.

  • Jonny

    Ducks acquired Pronger because he had to be moved, Neidermeyer they acquired thru his brother. Blake wanted to be traded, Bourque went to Colorado because he wanted to win a cup before he retired, and everyone knew it. There isn’t much acheivement in acquiring any of those guys. Teams don’t give up guys like that all the time. There are way more forwards in the league then defensemen. And scoring is an easier job then Defending. That’s why 18-20 yr old defensemen don’t step right in, and 18-20 yr old forwards do. Cammalleri wasn’t consistent either.

  • Quisp

    Cristobal –

    You say, “have fun watching Kopitar toil in futility and end up leaving the team in a few years.” What you are really saying is, “I’m afraid Kopitar will toil in futility and end up leaving the team in a few years.”

    If you subtract the hostility from your comments, I think you’ll find a lot more common ground with your Kings-loving brethren.

  • ryan oliver

    Cristobal, is your name really anthony?

  • -J

    “have fun watching Kopitar toil in futility and end up leaving the team in a few years. This guy is one of the top 5 players in the league and the Kings are tearing down the team around him”

    It’s funny how people can see the same situation so differently- to me, the Kings are building a team around Kopitar (and Brown, etc). Yeah, they’re doing it through the draft and development approach, but that is really the only way to build a core to last in the NHL. As DL has said many times (and by your own examples, eg. Blake and Borque to Colorado, cristobal it seems you’d agree) the best use of free agency is to add one or a couple key pieces to an already solid team to put them over the top.

    “Lidstrom and Phaneuf are great, but the NHL is not like it was 10 years ago when NJ won with a very homegrown team.” Jersy last won 5 years ago, not 10, with a very home grown team. Also, what do you call Detroit- Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Osgood, Hudler, Kronwall, Filpula, Helm, Draper, Lebda, McCarty, – all drafted and developed by Detroit. That’s nearly half their playoff roster. 7 of the 11 guys that played in all of their playoff games were drafted by detroit.

    I think the thing to look at is that teams that have won multiple times in the last 20-30 years, going back to the Islanders and Edmonton dynasties (as far back as I remember) they’ve all been able to do so by having a solid core of players that were acquired through the draft, developed within the organization and kept together for several years.

    “Defending is an easier task in the NHL than scoring consistently” Maybe someone should tell our young forwards that then, cus their D sucked @ss last year. I can’t believe you seriously think that.

  • -J

    “Cristobal, is your name really anthony”

    Yeah, where is anthony, he’s noticibly MIA from these posts lately.

  • yesitscal

    In case anyone is interested, the Kings signed Stephane Quintal to a one-year contract during the summer before the lockout. As the lockout ate a year in all the players’ contracts, he again became a UFA after the lockout and never suited up for the Kings. Thank god…

  • Anonymous

    It’s a new season folks and it’s time to let the past go. What is needed now is focus on making this team successful with the new coach and the new players. In my opinion, there is only one choice for the new Captain and that is Dustin Brown. Other than Armstrong, he is the longest serving player on the Kings. This kid has earned his stripes and has shown his determination and loyalty to this team. To those who think he doesn’t have what it takes to be a leader at this point in his career are clearly mistaken. He has the knowledge of the game and the understanding of what it takes to win. Reading all these posts about what Sully should get or what Kopi should get is a joke. Both of them just completed their first full year in the NHL and should not be looking for mega bucks in their contract. Dustin has gotten better each year and deserved his contract and the other young players should do the same. To pass Brownie over for the C would be a total slap in the face.

  • cristobal

    J – you make some good points about detroit’s homegrown talent. But I have to point out that only 2 of those are defensemen that played consistently in the playoffs, or did Lebda play more than I noticed. The funny thing about Osgood is that he took a journey in the middle there and brought Dallas Drake back to Detroit with him. The Defense was in large part acquired outside of the draft (Stuart, Rafalski, Lilja, Chelios (i know he didn’t play much)). My other point, about tearing apart the team to get high draft choices, applies here as well. Lidstrom and Kronwall, like many of those forwards, were lower first round and beyond. This is a testament to the winning mentality in Detroit and their ability to draft skilled players that others underestimate because they don’t fit profiles; Zetterburg, Datsuyk, Kronwall, Hudler, and Draper. It would be interesting to see what would have happened to a player Lombardi drafted, Zyuzin, if he had gone to Detroit. I cannot believe the player Daniel Cleary has become, and I think this is largely due to the Detroit ownership and their philosophy.

    Jonny, you’re arguements just don’t make any sense, it’s like you’re adding 2 and 2 and coming up with 3.

    Duckhunter – I used to love to dream of the future, like most Kings fans. Now I’d rather call out AEG and Lombardi because I don’t agree with most of what they do. Besides, it is fun to post my comments on blogs like this, I’m not in the least stressed out about it. It does make me frustrated, however, to see the Kings turned into a joke. It’s hard enough for players to take LA seriously as a place to come in their career, a “Bad Franchise” label does nothing to help that.
    Besides, I’m a sentimentalist. I think the Kings have a lot of nerve tossing aside guys like Norstrom, Visnovsky, Conroy, Belanger, Parros, Modry; even Stuart and Cammalleri. Not to mention a career King: Dave Taylor. Everybody here seems to turn on a player the second he’s not a King anymore, where’s the loyalty there? There has been a lot of derogatory comments about Cammelleri and Visnovsky. Those little guys gave this team everything when they were on the ice, especially Visnovsky. Why don’t Kings fans stick up for these guys instead of listening to the lies of Dean Lombardi and Philip Anshutz.

  • Jonny

    Cristobal-
    Why didnt we stick up for these guys?? We’re we supposed to run down to El Segundo and ask DL not to trade Lubo? What difference does it make? THose players are gone, get over it. We’re moving forward. If you still think youre right about defense being easy to acquire, then why don’t we have any defense? Because defense is easy to acquire if you’re willing to give up guys like Fro, Brown, or Kopi. You think you can acquire a top 4 d-man for army and Richardson? come on man.

  • Duckhunter

    cristobal, thats good then, you don’t get stressed. This last year, was the first time ever I turned a game off. O.K. maybe more than one:) It was hard to watch last year, but I think thing are going in the right direction. Hard choices have to be made when retooling. Hopefully this one will be completed.

    Very hard for me to see Norstrom and Visnovsky go. Those two are still my favorites. I was glad to see Norstrom at least have a shot at the cup, because he wasn’t going to win it here. Funny thing is I think he would have rather stayed with the Kings, thats what type of man he is. Of course he didn’t tell me that, but I have that feeling. Visnovsky, I agree has gotten the cold end of the stick. I am with you on this one,I love this kid (can I use the word love on this manly blog?). I don’t think people know how tough this guy is. Did he miss any games while playing for the Kings. I know he missed a few, but not many, and how many times did you see people take runs at him. More than once. I saw him take a lot of punishment and never leave the ice.
    Hang tough cristobal this is the time it’s all going to come together. If not I’ll start watching soccer with you, and I don’t really care for soccer.

  • Andre, Norway

    I did not plan to comment this but I have to.
    First we could have had Pronger but deano did not want to trade kopi away because he is the face/body/soul of this team together with brown,jj and sully. Im sorry to see Lubo got traded and if he had not have this no trade clause we would have kept him along for some more years.And that is of course DL fault by giving him that no trade clause. Cammy thought the best of himself by going to arbitration after 1 good season. Could we have got more for him??? maybe, maybe not that would have depended on his play this season. if he would have another bad year we could have ended up getting nothin for him – now we got Teubert.
    Regarding Matty we gave him a shoot at the cup with Dallas and he would likely had retired anyway after this season.
    A lot of those prospects we have will never wear a kings jersey, thats just how this game is. Maybe they dont have what it takes in 1-3 years, maybe they will get traded for the last puzzle to get lord stanley or they get injured and never come back (remember brett lindros)
    Anyway this future is bright and I will gladly wait 2-4 years for lord stanly to come home:-))
    Anyway just over 10 weeks to hockey starts.

    GO KINGS GO

  • Bob Bobson

    Rich, sorry to get off topic but has there been any updates on Dan Cloutier’s buyout ?

  • -J

    Cristobal-
    Lebda played in 19 of Detroit’s playoff games, so half of their D for most of the playoffs was homegrown. Even if he hadn’t it still wouldn’t change the fact that Detroit is a powerhouse because of their draft/development skills. I totally forgot Drake was drafted/started his play with Detroit- man that was a long time ago.

    (Zyuzin’s played in ~500 games in the NHL so far, yet you seem to imply that he’s a bust?)

    As for tearing down their team, they didn’t need to. Detroit was one of the worst teams throughout the 80′s-I know, I was a huge Detroit fan because Stevie Y was my favorite player growing up. They’ve done remarkable drafting since but that “winning mentatility” was born out of this stretch of mediocrity, and did not happen overnight. If you look at their draft history, aside from Yzerman, the tone of the franchise was set with their 89, 90 and 91 drafts, were they picked up Kozlov, Lidstrom, Fedorov, Primeau, Konstantinov, Osgood, and Lapointe (they also picked up Sillinger, Boughner, Drake, York, Knuble, and Pushor, all played over 500 games and most were used to get other pieces of Detroit’s juggernaut)
    Only time will tell, but i look at the talent the Kings have brought in recently and i think it oozes with potential to rival Detroit’s success.

    I look at the Kings roster and talent pool and I see its full of guys with a winning mentality, as evidenced by their accomplishments. Most have been brought in by DL, now the task is making sure their development proceeds well. Anyways, i posted this a month or so ago, but here is a run down of some of the present and future Kings-

    “This will probably get lost in all this, but i think this is an important point, important in that the organization is filled with guys from successful teams (eg. they know how to win) …..

    Thomas Hickey- 2008 U20 WC Gold
    Jack Johnson- 2004 U18 WC Silver, 2005 U18 WC Gold, 2007 U20 WC Bronze
    Patrick O’Sullivan- 2002 U18 WC Gold, 2004 U20 WC Gold
    Alexander Frolov- 2002 U20 WC Gold, 2007 WC Bronze
    Jarret Stoll- 2002 U20 WC Silver (Captain)
    Vyacheslav Voinov- 2007 U18 WC Gold, 2007 U20 WC Silver, 2008 U18 WC Silver, 2008 U20 WC Bronze
    Andrey Loktionov- 2007 U18 WC Gold, 2008 U20 WC Silver
    Marc-Andre Cliche- 2007 U20 WC Gold,
    Jeff Zatkoff- 2007 U20 WC Bronze,
    Trevor Lewis- 2007 U20 WC Bronze
    Oscar Moller- 2007 U18 WC Bronze, 2008 U20 WC Silver
    Jonathan Bernier- 2008 U20 WC Gold
    Drew Doughty- 2008 U20 WC Gold
    Wayne Simmonds- 2008 U20 WC Gold
    Colton Teubert- 2008 U18 WC Gold
    Brian Boyle- 2006 NCAA Northeast Regional winner, NCAA championship Runner up, Hockey East Champion, 2007 NCAA Northeast Regional winner, NCAA championship Runner up (Captain)
    Peter Harrold- 2006 NCAA Northeast Regional winner, NCAA championship Runner up (Captain)
    Matt Greene- 2005 NCAA East Regional winner, NCAA championship Runner up (Captain)

    This isn’t an all inculsive list, i know there’s a bunch of guys i’ve left off and some other titles (like Cliche (Captain) and Bernier leading Lewiston to the QMJHL Championship) and captaincies (and assistant C’s) missing, but hopefully you get the point.

    July 4, 2008 10:11 AM”

  • wavesinair

    Someone said, “Besides, I’m a sentimentalist. I think the Kings have a lot of nerve tossing aside guys like Norstrom, Visnovsky, Conroy, Belanger, Parros, Modry; even Stuart and Cammalleri. Why don’t Kings fans stick up for these guys instead of listening to the lies of Dean Lombardi and Philip Anshutz.” And from someone else, Those players are gone, get over it. We’re moving forward.

    Wake up! I’m done being a sentimentalist with this organization. I’ve been, like many of you, a life-long kings fan. I think what’s happening now is very dangerous. The plan was never to go this young. It was to have ‘bridge’ players and they’re all gone. I think giving up those players was wrong too and I now see what’s really happening. Its a fire sale. Cut costs. A corporate nightmare. Way beyond hockey. I don’t think DL is at all responsible. He answers to someone else and when the purse got closed; his hands were tied, no matter how great his plan was. So DL has two choices: quit or tow the party line and adjust his plan around the money he has and sell the hell out of it. I see DL trying so hard to believe his adjusted plan but I dont buy it for one second. So I tell all you season ticket holders, you’re all suckers! You are unknowingly in bed with AEG and they do not care what happens to these young guys, the organization or the fans. Any decent owner knows the first thing to do is put up a winning team the fans can support. Anything other than that, the owner is just a numbers cruncher and not a fan of the sport. We are the Clippers of hockey. Donald Sterling should buy this team so we can just recognize it for what it is. The commitment is gone from AEG after last years debacle. No money made, simple! DL is on the ropes and he’s trying one last ditch effort by betting it all on a very young group of players. For our sake, the fans, I hope, hope, hope it works. But I’m done thinking naively about this team. We may be moving forward, but were about to fly right off a cliff. Should make for a hell of a ride!!!! Bruce McNall, you kicked ass!

  • wavesinair

    Someone said, “Besides, I’m a sentimentalist. I think the Kings have a lot of nerve tossing aside guys like Norstrom, Visnovsky, Conroy, Belanger, Parros, Modry; even Stuart and Cammalleri. Why don’t Kings fans stick up for these guys instead of listening to the lies of Dean Lombardi and Philip Anshutz.” And from someone else, Those players are gone, get over it. We’re moving forward.

    Wake up! I’m done being a sentimentalist with this organization. I’ve been, like many of you, a life-long kings fan. I think what’s happening now is very dangerous. The plan was never to go this young. It was to have ‘bridge’ players and they’re all gone. I think giving up those players was wrong too and I now see what’s really happening. Its a fire sale. Cut costs. A corporate nightmare. Way beyond hockey. I don’t think DL is at all responsible. He answers to someone else and when the purse got closed; his hands were tied, no matter how great his plan was. So DL has two choices: quit or tow the party line and adjust his plan around the money he has and sell the hell out of it. I see DL trying so hard to believe his adjusted plan but I dont buy it for one second. So I tell all you season ticket holders, you’re all suckers! You are unknowingly in bed with AEG and they do not care what happens to these young guys, the organization or the fans. Any decent owner knows the first thing to do is put up a winning team the fans can support. Anything other than that, the owner is just a numbers cruncher and not a fan of the sport. We are the Clippers of hockey. Donald Sterling should buy this team so we can just recognize it for what it is. The commitment is gone from AEG after last years debacle. No money made, simple! DL is on the ropes and he’s trying one last ditch effort by betting it all on a very young group of players. For our sake, the fans, I hope, hope, hope it works. But I’m done thinking naively about this team. We may be moving forward, but were about to fly right off a cliff. Should make for a hell of a ride!!!! Bruce McNall, you kicked ass!

  • yesitscal

    Players get traded all the time. I believe Gretzky was even traded once or twice. Deal with it!

  • cristobal

    For those of you pointing out that Andre Zyuzin has played 500 nhl games, come on. He was a 2nd overall pick. He’s nearly as big a flop as The Daigle. How many games did he play?

  • JDM

    Geez… your gone half a day and you’ve missed most of the argument… how dare I ever go to a bbq again! =).

    I don’t share your enthusiasm for pessimism wavesnair, though you bring up valid points. I’m glad you can see far enough that Lombardi is doing a good thing, all the while trying to tread water and appease the unappeasable, uncaring and unforgiving step parents that gets drunk at night and beats their children; AEG.

    I also don’t think we are anywhere near as bad for as long as the Clippers. We are not a perennial bottom franchise.

  • JDM

    Daigle – 600 some odd games, in with 4 more seasons than Zyuzin. No one’s saying Zyuzin was an awesome franchise defenseman, but he has contributed to several teams defense in a positive way, positive enough to see 500 games of ice time in 10 years. I also don’t remember Zyuzin being hailed as the next bobby orr or anything the way Daigle was supposed to be what Crosby is today.

    I think, disappointing is a better term than bust. A bust, atleas to me, is someone who can barely crack the NHL roster. If a player contributes on a regular basis, but is not the all star he was supposed to be, that’s a bit of a disappointment, or a shame really. Not a bust.

  • cristobal

    J – You make very good points about Detroit’s struggles in the 80′s, but that was 20 years ago. Remember also, that they won the cups with players like Shanahan, Larionov, Hull, Vernon, Chelios, Kocur, Maltby, Fetisov, Hasek, Draper. Those are some big name free-agent or trade acquisition. Not to mention some of the latest, again Stuart, Rafalski, Samuelson, Lilja.

    But look at the Redwings since Illych bought them, and they have been only going forward.

  • cristobal

    Jonny – Once again, your arguements don’t even warrant a response because you have no idea what you’re talking about. Just love the team if you want, but you have no ability to understand what is going on and why I don’t like it.

  • Jet

    just a quick point to those of you who think AEG management is cheap. they have spent a King’s ransom on the glaaxy the last couple of years and where had it gotten them. NO WHERE The Glaaxy have trade away too many promising first and second year defenders to feed this instant fix attidue and now the defense is terrible. Soccer is very close to hockey in that Goal (ies and keppers) aling with a stout defense win championships. On a weekly basis, I wish that AEG had the pucks to build a team from the back forward through the draft as the Kings are. But no, they have 4 top forwards (their current alignment allows for 2 no the pitch at once) and one good defender ( the alignment requires four defenders to play at once). The current alignment would be difficult to change due to the width of their home field. The galaxy will be exciting to watch, but they will never go deep into the playoffs.

  • cristobal

    Mr. Anonymous – If that’s your real name….

    Are you serious?

    Zyuzin is a horrible bust, I don’t care if he played 1,000 games. His highest points total in an NHL season is 21.

    Your ideas about the 1st overall draft choice are completely incoherent. You first tell me there is a 50-50 chance of getting the first overall pick if you have the worst record. That is just false and does not reflect how the lottery works. You then go on to say that if the Kings finish last this year, they’ll get Tevares, completely invalidating your other arguement. The team with the worst record has a 25% chance of winning the lottery, of the 14 teams in the lottery. From there the odds decrease with 2nd worst team having an 18% chance.

    As far as Lombardi’s trade deadline deals and his contracts with Stuart, he made those deals, not me. If he can’t get a player to sign more than 1 year at a reasonable price, that’s his, and the Kings, problem. Stuart was traded for very little return. Take a look at the deadline deals last year and you will see teams that gave up a lot for players they thought would help them win a cup. It happens every year. Steve Bernier moved for an UFA, also 1st round draft picks were exchanged for players like Adam Foote, an UFA. Lombardi is the one who’s a GM and he’s not getting value for the players he trades in these cases. What’s happening with the players LA got in the Avery trade?

    As far as me saying every GM makes mistakes, or misses great players in the draft, do you really want to go there with this guy Lombardi? Zyuzin (2nd), Jillson (14th), Morris(27th). Hardly “franchise building by a genius GM.” The only truly great pick he made was Cheechoo in the second round. Take a look for yourself, go to wikipedia and go through the drafts from 96 to 2002 and see who you think did better – Taylor or Lombardi, especially taking into draft position.

    Don’t you Lombardi people get it? Why do you think a guy like Voijnov is going to waltz into this league? That rarely happens on teams that are good. He’s 18 years old, he weighs 180 pounds. They expect him to come to North America to play in juniors or the AHL, not the NHL this year.

  • DellaNooch

    Cristobal – There are two things I’ve determined about you:
    1) You’ll try any angle to hate on DL and the Kings current situation, widely exposing the moves that yielded poor results and avoiding the pluses.
    2) You must not work for a living, because I don’t know how you post so often

    Just about every complaint you’ve had has been brought up numerous times and argued by the regulars on this blog. Fact is, DL is taking an approach that has never really been used by the Kings in the 40 years of existance. Being that we didn’t win the cup in those 40 years, I’ll give it a try.

    Complain all you want…bring wildly slanted arguments as much as it makes you happy…it gives all of us something to write about.

    BTW – Where is Anthony? He hasn’t posted in a week

  • JDM

    Cristobal-

    You’re half right about the draft lottery. The worst team has a 25% of HAVING THEIR NAME DRAWN. However, a team can only move up i believe 3 positions. SO, if any team below the 26th team is drawn, what amounts to about 23%, then the worst team retains the first overall pick. Effectively the worst team has a 48% of picking first.
    And for the players we got for Avery, Cliche has been turning heads and projects to be a very solid two-way forward and future captain material.

  • cristobal

    Jet – are you the same jet from WSD?

  • cristobal

    JDM
    If doughty is as good as Zyuzin, will you be happy?
    I believe in Cliche when he IS an NHL captain, and turns heads there.
    There are only teams that don’t make the post season in the lottery. They can move up a maximum of 4 spots.
    For all those that are waiting for the likes of voinov and martinez, go look through Lombardi’s draft history and then tell me if you’re still confident.

    DellaNooch – I don’t have a job right now. Thanks for reminding me. I’m a carpenter (rough framing) who has seen all the jobs go bye bye. Maybe you won’t hear from me anymore when I can’t pay the rent next month. Don’t even get me started on politics and the economy. You think I’m critical of Lombardi……

  • JDM

    Ok, so 4 spots, not 3. The worst team still has a 48% chance of keeping the 1st pick. And thank you for pointing out that only non playoff teams are in the lottery… that explains why the Cup winner never gets a top 5 pick… btw… just a touch of sarcasm.

    If Doughty is like Zyuzin, oh well, that sucks. If martinez, voinov, etc don’t all make the nhl roster in a few years, again, oh well, that sucks, but that’s also why DL has stockpiled d prospects, because he knows better than anyone that they don’t all pan out… ever. I said it before, it’s a numbers game and DL is playing the odds quite well.

    As for Cliche, you asked what the players from the Avery trade had been doing lately, and there’s your answer, turning heads in the AHL and getting NHL.com write-ups about pushing for a roster spot this year or the next.

    I still don’t know why you’re hung up on Zyuzin, that was 12 years ago. You yourself have made the point that the NHL is totally different today than it was just 10 years ago, so why constantly use 1996 as a frame of reference? As for the likes of Jillson, he was a flop, but was also part of the deal that brough McKlaren to the Sharks, who, even though now is over paid, certainly did that team a lot of good for many seasons.

    We are only hoping in a pipe dream, and we know its a dream, that all of our d prospects form our core. But they don’t have to, DL has brought in assets that have some value, and whether or not they make the team is just as important as how those assets are managed in trades. When we need to bring in a vet in trade from a team that has little prospect depth, it will be very easy to deal a martinez or voinov, someone who is 20-22, kicking AHL butt and is just about ready for NHL action. Those players are valuable in more ways than one.

    As for not having a job right now, I feel you. I’m an editor and at times an assistant editor and my jobs range from just days to weeks to months…. sadly the months ones are hard to come by right now…

  • -J

    “For those of you pointing out that Andre Zyuzin has played 500 nhl games, come on. He was a 2nd overall pick. He’s nearly as big a flop as The Daigle. How many games did he play”

    Zyuzin is nowhere near a bust and is certainly not even comparable to Daigle. Who cares if his highest point total is 21- Norstrom never put up many points around here, but he’s that’s what you get with many D-men, not all are drafted for their offensive skills. There are only a couple of D drafted in his year that have played more, so it’s a pretty poor example of a bust. Also, weren’t you the one to counter someone else’s draft assesment with “, but come on, its easy to go back through the draft a couple years on and pick out all the missed opportunities”. Anyways, i agree you could expect more from a 2nd overall pick, but he’s really not a good example of a poor pick.

    As for Detroit, of course they signed and acquired key pieces of their dynasty (and i even pointed out some of the players that they drafted that were used to do this). However-the core of the team was built based on guys they drafted and developed. Again, i say, go and look at all of the teams that have had continued success over the last 20-30 years and you’ll see that the main tool of all of them was drafting/development.

    I’m not new to the whole prospect watch thing- i’ve been keeping tabs on many of the top prospects now in the Kings pipeline for a couple years before they’re drafted, mainly through following junior seasons and international tournaments (i’m learning how everything goes down for when my kids hopefully get to that point). I’ve been doing this since long before DL came so when i look at the pool the Kings have, I see something that is quite special. I’m not the only one either- look at how unanimously well regarded the kings prospect pool is by hockey journalists and news rags. I’m particularly keen on Voinov- if you go back to the draft day posts i was calling for the kings to take him with a late 1st rounder. I think very few people over here have ever even see him play or actually know anything about him beyond what they’ve read in scouting reports, but i’ve got high hopes for him from what i’ve seen of him, assuming he doesn’t get caught up in the whole NHL-KHL thing.

    Also, i think that anonymous post you got worked up about was quoting your comments of the draft- you were the one to say “You say he traded Modry and Stuart because he was preparing for June, but why didn’t he fire Crawford then and ensure himself 1st overall” and “If the Kings are worst in the league this year, they will get Tevares in 09 draft” I think that you may have blasted someone else for comments you made yourself.

    Sorry to hear about your job situation. Hopefully the housing market turns around soon-my cousin used to do tile work, but had to find a new job because everythings gone so south.

  • yesitscal

    Cristobal, when you have a defenseman who only scores 21 points in a season as his best offensive output, you can be damn sure he’s doing something right on the other side of the puck to have hung around so long.Get a clue – offense isn’t the only part of hockey!

  • yesitscal

    I just did some checking to see who the San Jose Sharks could have drafted in the 1996 draft other than that good-for-nothing bust, Andre Zyuzin and came up with these much better hindsight choices:

    Alexandre Volchkov
    Richard Jackman
    Boyd Devereaux
    Erik Rasmussen
    Johnathan Aitken
    Lance Ward
    Dan Focht
    Josh Holden
    Marty Reasoner
    Mario Larocque
    Jaroslav Svejkovsky
    Matt Higgins
    Matthieu Descoteaux
    Jeff Brown
    Craig Hillier
    Peter Ratchuk
    Jesse Wallin

    Seems like there must have been a lot of stupid scouts and GM’s back then.

    Then again, San Jose did draft Marko Sturm in the first round as well, who they later traded to the Bruins for some stiff named Joe Thornton…

  • cristobal

    I apologize to those I have been arguing the Zyuzin case with. He was an outstanding choice at 2nd overall. Clearly the 6 NHL teams he’s been with are proof. Actually, in all seriousness, I had been confusing him with a smallish forward that played with San Jose around the same time, who’s name I can’t remember.

    Anonymous did mention the 500 games, but not the 6 different teams – journeyman.

    It’s funny how your own words can get taken out of context and you have to keep explaining the same thing over and over.

    About pointing to the draft to see how a GM has fared over his tenure:

    I was debating the effectiveness of Dave Taylor’s drafts compared to Lombardi’s drafts
    This is what JDM had to say -

    If Andrew Campbell, Garret Roe, Voinov, etc. pan out then Lombardi found gems. Simmonds is shaping up to be a steal at #61, and Moller at 52. Holloway at 86, Meckler at 134. Martinez, 95. As for Taylor not trading Brown to draft Kopitar… I’m assuming you’re referring to the Cammy trade to draft Teubert, in which case, especially if Tyler Myers doesn’t pan out too well and Teubert does then Lombardi will look like a genius. And Cammy was traded so that we have TWO top 15 picks in the best draft pool in years. How is that bad? Taylor drafted like crap beyond the first round, which is where the real drafting takes place. Huet was Taylors best gem beyond the first round. Even in the second round, Cammy was Taylor’s only decent pick. Taylor also never bothered drafting defenseman in the first round except for Grebeshkov. In all those years, Taylor even waited until the 3rd round and on to draft his defenseman. Sure, he drafted a few in the second round, like Lilja… but perhaps his lack of using high picks on defenseman is one of the reasons DL had to spend 3 years stockpiling defensive prospects. Taylor could have drafted Mezsaros in 2004, instead we have/had Tukonen. He could have taken Carle over Pushkarev in 03. In 02 he drafted Sergei Anshakov at 50 when Duncan Keith went at 54.

    Hindsight isn’t pretty for Taylor. Brown, Kopitar and Frolov were awesome picks and I’m thankful Taylor made them. But his constant knack for trading away 2nd round picks and not drafting dman until the 3rd round or later has really come to bear its fruits today in our poor defense.

    —–my comments about looking at the draft in hindsight and looking at all the players that COULD have been picked is a non-starter. If you want to look at all the players Taylor COULD have drafted, you’d have to do the same with Lombardi. If you want to compare actual players drafted and who got more quality, we can do that and I believe Taylor wins, hands down.

  • cristobal

    J

    I know what you’re talking about with Detroit, but I feel we’re going in circles. The original point is that it is easier to acquire defensive players that can help you win cups, than it is forwards. If you disagree, you disagree, but that’s my point about the modern capped nhl and the teams that have been winning the cup lately, even before the cap. Detroit, Anaheim, Tampa Bay (does not support my opinion as much) Carolina.

    I am no rookie when it comes to the waiting and hoping game. I’ve listed many of the past bright stars that never shone. Aki Berg for example. I don’t care how many games he played, he was a bust at #3. I saw O’Sullivan and Johnson in the WU18′s before they were kings. I am not convinced they will be the players many believe them to already be. They are promising, but not there yet.

  • yesitscal

    I guess Paul Coffey must be more of a slug than Andre Zyuzin was, as he played for nine teams in his embarrassing NHL career…

  • cristobal

    Anonymous

    Maybe you know. I don’t. How did tampa acquire the no. 1 pick for lacavalier in 98 via san jose and florida?

  • cristobal
  • lblocal

    I pontificate: (slightly off subject)

    Why not sign the combo of Shanahan and Chelios for one year? It will benefit the club in three demonstrative ways; First, it gets the Kings closer to the league salary minimum, while giving two future HOF players, Stanley Cup winners a few mil to end their careers’ here in LA LA land.

    Second, it provides the younger players, veteran leadership and an identity of grit and toughness that DL’s Kings Vision demands.

    Third, and most important, it would fill holes in two vital positions: 2nd line LW and depth veteran gritty defender.

    What remaining two UFA players can make a better impact on young players than these two?

    Gettr’ done, Deano!

  • yesitscal

    Lblocal, you’re making a pretty big assumption that Chellios and Shanny would want to come to los Angeles to end their careers, and I can’t see that happening. Why could Chelios, after winning another cup, want to come to a team who he knows is going to be slop this season? Same with Shann y. They both come from winning traditions, and if they can help it I believe they’d want to go out as winners, too.

  • cristobal

    J – good info on the Tampa – San Jose connection in reference to that draft.

    lblocal – I agree with the Shanahan half of your idea, and have proposed the same thing myself. I don’t agree with the Chelios part. The Kings need someone who can perform back there, as well as lead. Shanahan’s leadership would be worth it even if he wasn’t able to put up numbers, but the Kings don’t have that luxury on the defensive end. I don’t know if he’s gone horribly down hill, but I think Karlis Skrastins is unrestricted, and I was always impressed by him at Colorado.

  • cristobal

    yesistcal – are you proud of that comment about Coffey? You should be embarrassed. I can’t stop myself from saying: Coffey – 11 years, 2 teams, 4 cups. Zyuzin – 10 years, 10 north american teams, 120 NHL points, 1 ticket back to where he came from at the ripe old age of 30.

  • Anonymous

    C- I don’t know what WSD is? No, it is not I.

    I believe 48.7% is the percent chance of receiving the first overall when finishing last.

    C – I am not a shrink, but this is not therapeutic if you’re job hunting. Try to stay positive in all aspects of your life. One last thought, a neighbor who did rough carpentry until a year ago had to switch to finish and now works on rebuilds, mostly cabinets and wall boxes for plasmsas and LCDs. It pays a little less, but the work is steadier.

  • yesitscal

    So now it’s ten North American teams whereas before it was only six NHL teams? You keep on changing your argument here. Why not go through the other first round selections from Zyusin’s draft and tell me which other player you would have liked to have. yes, there are a few, but i doubt you would have been clammoring to draft those players in the weeks leading up to the draft. I was only using your criteria of him playing for so many teams, which according to you makes him a bust. Oh, yeah, forgot that his best offensive year was only 21 points. You don’t seem to see that there are other things to being an NHL player other than scoring. Zyuzin was a credible enough defenseman during his day, but he (and others, including Norstrom and Aaron Miller) saw the game pass them by when they removed obstruction and they become plodding, defensive liabilities in a game of speed.

    Tell you this. Why don’t you go back to school, get a degree in business management, become the next GM of the Kings, reacquire Tukonen, and bring the Stanley Cup to Losangeles then. You’d be doing all of us a favor.

  • cristobal

    yesitscal – good idea about me being GM. I think I’d be better than dean Lombardi.

    About Zyuzin, again. I posted that I had him mixed up with, I think it was Nazarov (not sure) at first. your comparison to coffey was insulting to coffey. Zyuzin played on 10 North American teams as far as I can tell, ahl and ihl?, over the last 10 years. Coffey played on 2 teams over his first 11 years, winning 3 cups with edmonton, and 1 with pittsburgh. Norstrom and Miller were never journeymen, for the definition of journeyman defenseman, look up michel petit (a one-time king). he was a good journeyman defenseman, whereas Zyuzin doesn’t really seem to stick around too long, unless its to chop an opponent on the neck.

    As far as the draft that year, i won’t play that game, i know its not fair. there are good names there but that’s why i’ve always said the draft can be a sketchy tool for rebuilding. Lombardi seems to be selling that every pick he makes is a future nhl star, when we don’t even know if they’ll be nhl players. I left myself open to debate by attacking Lombardi but not many people wanted to go and look at Lombardi vs. Taylor in the draft. I still feel that a top 5 pick SHOULD play in the NHL no matter who drafts him. Also, I don’t see too many nhlers, let alone impact players, that Lombardi drafted outside of the 1st round besides Clowe and Cheechoo. Maybe you want to go through the years and show me different.

    ANONYMOUS – WSD is world soccer daily (available through itunes podcasts). there is a guy from texas named Jet who is a caller and when you mentioned AEG and Beckham, i thought you might be him. I could tell by some of the other JET posts that you probably were not, after the fact of posting that question.

    By the way, thanks for the positivity about my employment situation (unless you just don’t like me posting here and want me gone). I’m kinda an odd duck when it comes to personal profiles as i’m one of the few people i know laboring in construction with a BA degree in English from UCLA. Money concerns drew me back into construction and i’ve been looking back ever since. But anyway, thanks for the support, it’s really kind of people to even wish me well when they don’t even know me and i’m posting my criticisms.

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