Here’s the second, and final, part of the “open forum” questions. Seems as though there’s only one big question left to answer: when will the Kings sign Patrick O’Sullivan? We’ll see… Here’s the other answers…
Question: Why would the Kings want to acquire a guy like Schneider at 5.75 Mil/Year, which would not only help but require some sort of asset to be given to our hated rival, rather than a guy like McKee who is cheaper, more responsible in his own end, and who we would have as a vet anchor/tutor for two years? If any of the speculation is true it seems like the Kings are leaning toward Schneider which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Answer: Well, asking price might be a consideration here. If you’re observing that McKee is much more valuable than Schneider, than perhaps St. Louis feels the same way. It could be a matter of what Lombardi wants to give up in order to achieve his goal. Schneider has more offensive potential, but I would think the Kings would focus more on a “defensive defenseman” type player anyway.
Question: Rich, do you play Video games? And If so, have you played the new NHL09 on PS3 or 360?
Answer: From what I’ve seen, it looks fantastic, but it’s been quite a while since I played any of those games. Rock Band, however, is a different story…
Question: – You’ve had inklings before about the possibility of trades for Visnovsky & Cammalleri. Given what you see as a journalist, what you witness on the ice and breaking down DL’s philosophy, do you see any way that Frolov is DL’s next and possibly last big trade bait?
– You’ve said before that going into next season, the Kings would probably either be very young, very good and have a breakout (sort of like the TB Rays, IMO) or be very young, make mistakes and quite dreadful (sort of like Chicago 2 years ago). Where do you see it finishing closer to? As for myself, I fully expect to see something like Phoenix or Chicago last season – Okay start, very good middle and bad ending (the sign of most young teams).
– It seems as though DL and TM are setting the expectations for this coming season very low. Knowing that a lot players read the papers, is that a safe thing to be doing publicly?
– If YOU had to pick a team captain, would you pick a savvy veteran who is in his final years like Derek Armstrong, an older veteran who can still grow with the team like Jarret Stoll or Alexander Frolov or a young kid with raw leadership capabilities like Dustin Brown or Jack Johnson? Or would you go with a rotating captaincy like Columbus and Minnesota?
– Since this point last season, has your faith or trust in Dean Lombardi’s plan and philosophy grown or diminished in the past 365 days?
– Give me your strangest, funniest or most interesting Kings-related story.
Answer: 1) No, I don’t think so. It doesn’t make any sense to me, from a hockey or financial standpoint, unless someone offered a very attractive deal. Frolov is a highly capable second-line winger and, at $2.9 million over each of the next two seasons, he’s actually a bargain. This might be more of an issue in 12 months, if it seems unlikely that the Kings will be able to re-sign him.
2) This will sound like me hedging my bets, but I really don’t know. It depends almost entirely on how this revamped defense holds up. There could be major struggles at first, as these guys adjust to each other — and in some cases, to the NHL — but then again, the schedule is very home-heavy at the start, so that helps. I agree that the end of the season could get ugly, with all the young players and the tougher part of the schedule. If the defense comes together quickly, there’s the potential for a solid start, but I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it.
3) Good question, but with this team, I don’t think that’s a problem. These are young, hungry guys who are eager to prove themselves as individuals and as a team. They’re more likely to want to prove people wrong. with the exceptions of Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, nobody on the team should feel completely secure in his roster spot. That’s all the motivation a professional player needs.
4) I started off thinking that rotating captains wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I increasingly think that it will be Dustin Brown, and I would consider that a very good choice.
5) It has probably diminished, because Lombardi has yet to show that he can bring in impact free agents. Obviously his focus, at the moment, isn’t on bringing in high-caliber free agents, but his batting average has been astonishingly low so far. Other than Brad Stuart, who has worked? The amount of young talent in the Kings’ system is extemely impressive, but at some point it needs to be supplemented by veteran free agents, and Lombardi has to show that he can identify and sign quality free agents.
6) Wow… So many little memories come to mind. Jeremy Roenick sliding down the airplane aisle at takeoff from Columbus. Sean Avery arguing with Brian Hayward in the middle of the locker room, post-practice. Andy Murray returning a phone call, hours after he nearly died in a car accident. Bob Miller living it up at honky-tonk bars in Nashville. So many stories and jokes require long set-ups. It’s been a lot of fun.
Question: Just curious… Is there a lot of “behind the scenes” stuff/information that you know about our Kings that you can’t share with us? Do you have reasons to be even more excited than us about the Kings future? Or, does DL and Staff pretty much only give you what you can give us? (Obviously I’m not looking for specifics, just in general)
Answer: I hesitate to answer this, so as not to sound holier-than-thou, but yes, reporters are often told things they’re not allowed to explicitly share. There’s no huge, Earth-shattering news that’s being kept secret, but there are things that come up that can’t be made public. That’s why it’s somewhat comical to me when people freak out about trade rumors. There are so many trades discussed behind the scenes that it would make your head spin. Ninety percent of them are never made public. As for “reasons to be even more excited,” you pretty much see what I see. The players are there for everyone to see. If you go down to training camp, you’ll see the talent just the same way Dean Lombardi sees it.
Question: Do you think the front loading of so many home games at the beginning of the season will hurt or benefit the team? On the one hand, i’ve heard many players say that a team bonds much better being on the road early. On the other hand, i presume the team will have more practice time which is better when installing a new system and when you have a lot of players that are developing as nhl players and a team.
Answer: It’s sort of six-of-one, half-a-dozen of the other, huh? You can look at it either way and draw positives and negatives. It’s probably slightly better to have the home games early because, as you point out, it allows for a lot of practice time. The Kings may suffer in the standings for it, but they might also be a better team in the long run because of it. It’s a good question for Murray, one I will ask.
Question: Should fans be optimistic that this rebuild will be different or pessimistic since AEG is still in charge? By that I mean AEG has owned the team for 15 years now and if DL – like GMs before him – is required to run every option passed Anschutz and Leiweke, what chance is there for success when the 2 folks with the final say obviously have little hockey acumen?
Answer: But Leiweke is staying out of hockey decisions! Of course he is… There should always be a healthy skepticism about AEG, at least until they show that they know how to build and run a successful hockey organization. Your best hope, as a Kings fan, is that AEG removes itself from the picture as much as possible. Lombardi may or may not be the answer, but he certainly know more than the AEG folks.
Question: Ginger? or Mary Ann?
Answer: Great question. Mary-Ann.
Question: Will Thomas Hickey be the next King to wear #4…but be less pompous in wearing it???
Answer: I don’t know and…I don’t know. Hickey has been wearing No. 37 with the Kings.
Question: There are quite a few teams in trouble with the cap. What has DL been offered to take on salary? I imagine we might get a 2nd rounder from the Ducks for taking on Schneider’s 6M. But, I do not see any other team that would be interested and a buy out would still leave the Ducks on the edge. Does DL think he can get a first if he waits until opening day?
Answer: I’m not sure I totally understand the question… You think the Kings will get Schneider AND a first-round pick? I don’t really see that happening. It’s too late for the Ducks to buyout Schneider, as that had to happen in June. If a deal is done here, it’s likely to be a third- or fourth-rounder for Schneider.
Question: OK, we’ve got a young team, we’re still somewhere along the spectrum of “rebuilding”, and nobody expects us to be world beaters just yet. Now, say we don’t win many games this season: What signs can we look forward to that might reassure us that we’re on the right track? (And I’m not talking about rhetoric from anyone in management, or anything the pundits have to say; I’m talking about on-ice performance.) Win or lose, what in the upcoming season is going to sell us on the long-term course that DL has chartered for this franchise?
Answer: A couple concrete things. You’re going to want to see Brown, Kopitar and O’Sullivan develop into a legit No. 1 NHL line, one that has the potential to lead this team for the next decade. Not just a No. 1 line on a bad team, but a No. 1 one that a strong team like Dallas could be proud of. You’re going to want to see players such as Purcell, Stoll and Boyle show that they can provide secondary scoring. You’re going to want to see Jack Johnson take a big step forward. You’re going to want to see that Drew Doughty isn’t overmatched. Same goes for Bernier, if he makes the team. In general, you’re going to want to see a team that plays responsible defensive hockey.