Coaching alumni update

Just a few days after he signed on to be a television commentator, Marc Crawford has emerged as a finalist for the New York Islanders’ head-coaching job. According to published reports, former Columbus coach Gerard Gallant is another finalist.

Former Kings assistant coach John Van Boxmeer has suffered a heart attack and is recovering in Switzerland.

Still pretty quiet on the Kings front. There’s nothing substantial on this at the moment, but don’t be surprised if the name of St. Louis defenseman Jay McKee emerges as a potential target for the Kings. McKee is a left-shot defenseman who is due $4 million over each of the next two seasons. This isn’t to give the impression that there’s anything imminent here; it’s just a name right now.

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  • ryan oliver

    Good one Rich. I like McKee and his shot blocking. I was hoping the Kings were gonna sign him a couple years ago, but he went to the Blues. A good fit, but also a often-injured guy.

  • Davis

    Rich, what are your thoughts on that previous post re. the NHL investigating AEG for going behind the league’s back concerning Nashville?

    And they are already planning to raise ticket prices again next summer regardless of this season’s performance? I must have missed that announcement.

  • old man

    Welcome back Rich. Hope you had a chance to relax a bit. You were truly missed!

  • yesitscal

    Not as tough as I think they should be looking for, but with only two years left on a too-pricey contract that’ll still allow the Kings to buy time for Johnson and the rest of the kiddy corps defensemen to mature with a little bit of veteran leadership. It’ll be interesting to see what happens and, if a trade is made, what the Blues get in return. Too bad they don’t have Tukonen anymore or else they might have been able to get McKee for Tukonen straight up. The Blues would have then been celebrating their steal…

  • Anonymous

    McKee for Armstrong, straight up!

  • anthony

    But who or what would DL trade for McKee.
    I thought he was going all out on this youth movement thing.
    I’ve also been told, by most of you guys, that there shouldn’t be any troouble reaching the cap floor. We still have Sully, Stoll, Richardson, and Doughty to sign.
    Mckee is what, 30 31 years of age – that’s too old for your taste Mr. DL.
    Better move on to the next.

  • patrick

    30 is too old? Hey Anthony, in case you havent noticed, there isn’t exactly a plethora of defensemen out there to choose from.

  • JonG

    Get well soon, Boxie. I lived in Rochester back in the late 80s when he coached the Amerks. He did a great job for them – always had them ready to play.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps we should see if Richie Dunn is available to play for the Kings this season.

  • Anonymous

    Anthony…you’re right. All McKee will do is take a slot where we ought to be playing the young guys. We all know the Kings are going to suck this year, and probably the year after that. Every player in the league is watching what has been happening in LA and decided they want no part of this. I can’t blame them, nor do I blame Lombardi. AEG should be forced by the league into selling. A new owner with the desire to win the Stanley Cup is our only hope for the future.

    Over the weekend I kept checking for updates and read many of the comments concerning Tukonen. I love that you guys are true fans and into the workings of the club but I noticed that nobody has asked the question, Why hasn’t the O’Sullivan deal been signed yet? Exactly what are they so busy doing down at Kings HQ that one of the most promising young players on the roster is going to start next season without being locked up long term?

    Rich, can you find out what the strategy seems to be, please? This seems like gross mismanagement.

  • psycho

    here we go again! The hockey novices showing their lack of hockey knowledge. Please folks, you can’t skate all of the young defencemen – it is not good for their development and it is not good for the team’s. You need veteran experience – even if they are mediocre players – who can share / teach the game both on and off the ice. Blake and Modry did this last year. We have too many young guys who in a few years will be ready to take the reigns and fortify this defence. Defence is a different beast and you must bring these kids up slowly – this is why Crawford held Johnson’s offencive game back. He wanted him to familiarize himself with defencive schemes and situations first and once those are ingrained, then he’d let him loose. Patience. the rebuilding is not going to happen in one year. This is a PROCESS and if done correctly, all or most of these kids will be excellent defencemen.

  • Anonymous

    If this gets rid of Zeiler..I’m all for it…

  • JDM

    McKee would be fine. I still say Hedican or Carney or Nummenim (sp?) is the answer. Isn’t Brisbois a UFA too? I like McKee, but why trade when you can just sign?

  • JB

    Rich- Why such an emphasis on a lefty. What exactly is DL trying to balance out? Do we need a lefty to work the point on power plays or is it an issue of moving the puck out of our zone.

    I’m trying to understand what the deficiency is that is trying to be addressed. For me I look at our potential roster and think it would just be nice to have a stable defensive specialist that can separate a guy fromt the puck and get it out of the zone.

    What specifically can a lefty do that a righty can’t? Only thing that comes to my mind is point shot.

  • cristobal

    Based on what the Kings trade Modry and Stuart and Sopel for, they should be able to land McKee for 2nd or 3rd round draft choices, that’s if St. Louis doesn’t really want to keep him around as a steward to E. Johnson and their new draftee from this year.

    I wonder whether Lombardi’s access to FA money has been cut off by AEG/Lieweike. He’s not had much return from his FA moves and they may be holding back to see if his Handzus and Calder signings turn things around this year. I agree that trial by fire in the NHL can destroy the young guys (see gilbert brule), and worry about trying to infuse TOO many young guys at once. Modry, Dallman, and Norstrom are all guys that could at least have gotten the Kings through the season without overexposing the young guys. But those ships have sailed and its going to be interesting to see what happens between now and Dec.

  • txkingsfan

    JB… its all about angles on the ice. If you have different options at the point (e.g. right vs. left shot), this forces the defencive team to adjust to your scheme and forces them to scramble their best guys depending on how well they match up. A good proportion of goalies in this league also have left handed gloves – this creates a favorable angle for a left handed shot on the ice coming from the top of the left circle or from center ice to the right (facing the goalie). This sounds more confusing without a board to show you on, but the shot from the point is VERY important and the more weapons – and kinds of weapons – the better chances you have.

  • JB

    txkingsfan- Thanks for the info and I appreciate the details about goalies and such but then wouldn’t you need a d-man w/ some offensive flare and not someone like McKee?

    To me the whole left handed thing seems like putting the cart before the horse. I don’t look at our roster and think, “OMG what will we do on the point during a power play?” What I’m wondering is who we roll out against the Thorntons, Perrys, Morrows and Zetterbergs of the league.

  • txkingsfan

    JB – you make a good point but as you see with all teams, the guys that get to play on the powerplay are usually guys who have proven themselves on the ice and not just in scoring situations. There are distinct roles on a powerplay and one thing that is often overlooked is finding a guy who has composure and thinks quickly depending on the situation. This normally comes with a guy who has been in the league for a while who often compliments and provides a safety net, so to speak, for the offensive minded guys who are there to score. McKee is known for having a hard and fairly accurate shot which is key not necessarily for scoring but for quick passes, shots on the goalie that can either be deflected or knocked in on a rebound. One of the problems with Blake was that although he had a rocket, over the years his aim had diminished with many of his shots not hitting the goalie. McKee is not necessarily on the point to score but to keep the puck in the zone, take hard shots ON the goalie and make those cross ice and pin-point passes that take advantage of a team that is one man down. In this role, his experience and talents are benefits.

  • yaknow88

    Lets be real, we need a couple of d-men to mentor the young guys. If you look around the league it takes young defensemen years to develop. Lets not rush these young goalies and defensemen if they are not NHL ready. I think McKee might be a decent signing.

  • JDM

    There’s my problem with McKee yaknow… he’d be a trade, not a signing. I like McKee, and txkingsfan makes several right on points, but I think you can get about as much as you do from McKee, in two of Carney/Hedican/Nummenin and a few others that are out there. They can all be had on one year, fairly cheap (~2-3 mill tops) contracts, AND without having to give up even one draft pick. I say hold on to every asset we have for now until its deadline time, and use those to sweeten the pot when we are inevetiably sellers and are unloading whoever doesn’t fit in to the system by then. We will have a better idea of which prospects will pan out (not a sure one, but a better one), and be able to either snag a good player coming back, or swallow up first round picks instead of 2nd, 3rd and 4th’ers.

    For now, Hedican and Carney are both left hand shots, so they round us out there, but more importantly are grizzled veterans. Our team D doesn’t need a vitamin boost at this point so much as it needs to be taught how to take of themselves. These guys, while certainly not remarkable players anymore, know more about the game than anyone on our team at the moment. I’m really really hoping we sign at least one of these guys, maybe then, I’ll be more willing to trade away our assets for someone else if it will really improve the defense, which a guy like McKee definately would.