Forum answers III

The next set of answers from this morning’s open forum questions…

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Question: I never hear AEG respond or anything at all from Leiweke or Anschutz other than their interest in developing more arenas throughout the world. Do you think AEG is at all interested in selling the Kings to a local group that is committed to winning? Why would AEG continue to want to own the Kings if they claim they lose money every year? Just curious if AEG ever notices the angry fan sentiment since there are never any media interviews with AEG brass unlike with other local owners such as Buss, Moreno, Sterling and McCourt who all make themselves available to the media and seem to understand the benefit of selling the sport to the masses. I fear AEG really has no clue when it comes to what is best for the Kings. Or even worse, they know but do nothing about it.

The Kings’ negotiations with the Boston Celtics ownership about buying a piece of the team slowed down considerably after they were made public. Otherwise, there’s nothing there. Why does AEG keep the Kings if they lose money? Think big picture. The Kings might lose money, but they also provide AEG with a great avenue to promote its other ventures. Think about all the events that get promoted during Kings games, and all the AEG-operated arenas that the Kings have played at. Plus, the Kings give Staples Center a tenant for at least 41 days every year. That’s one theory as to why they won’t sell. Leiweke and, to an increasing degree, Robitaille, are the public faces of the franchises. Anschutz, for better or worse, has no desire to be that Buss-McCourt type of owner who loves the cameras. Does that hurt the Kings, to not have that civic-minded local ownership? It’s a good question.

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Question: Can you find some more info about Lombardi’s “cash budget” for each season? When he first came to the Kings, he said that he was very excited and that the MAIN reason he came here was that AEG promised to stay away from hockey decisions and that they were willing to spend up to the cap each year. Now, this season, he said that he now has a cash budget for each year. What gives? I understand that there is no point to spend up to the cap THIS season, but I hope that in future seasons that AEG won’t butt-in. Also, I hope that since this season we are barely at the cap (and probably under since Doughty is not likely to meet all of his bonuses), that in future seasons, we won’t hear AEG crying about losing money.

Lombardi isn’t complaining about the cash budget this year because he wasn’t going to spend the money anyway. If this budget is still in place in, let’s say, two years, Lombardi is going to have a big problem with it. It’s very, very fair to hold AEG’s feet to the fire in the next couple years. If they don’t give Lombardi the resources he needs, they will be going back on the promise they made to him and they will be harming the franchise. There is no indication right now that that will be the case, but keep an eye on it.

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Question: Rich, do you think Dean Lombardi can manage the cap well enough to keep together all this talent for years and years ? Or do you eventually see Frolov moving on to make room for someone like Loktionov ? I know contract amounts depend on each player but how realistic do you think it is for Dean to keep all his potential star players ?

I guess it depends on which players you consider “potential star players” and what you mean by “years and years.” Brown, Kopitar, O’Sullivan, Stoll, Doughty, Hickey, Teubert and Bernier are all locked up through 2011, at least. It’s impossible for any team to keep every player on the roster. There’s always roster attrition, and then players are brought in to replace them. Out of all the players on the horizon, yes, it’s most likely that Frolov would sign elsewhere, but a lot can happen between now and 2010. It will be interesting to see what happens with the salary cap, for one.

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Question: Any chance you could get an interview with Dave Taylor and get his opinions on the direction the Kings are going now? I’m curious about what he sees and what his feelings are in retrospect about the team and his parting ways with the organization. I know it’s not terrribly likely, and sure he has plenty more important concerns regarding the team he is currently working for, but would be interested in hearing what he’s thinking about the Kings nowadays.

Good idea. I saw Dave in the press box at the home opener and wanted to say hi, but he was engaged in conversation. I’m not sure how willing he will be to analzye everything going on with the Kings, but Dave is a good guy and very helpful so I’ll try to get his thoughts the next time I see him.

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Question: If trade deadline comes and the Kings sit in 9th in the Conference… What do you think DL does? What would you do? Get assets for what you will lose after the season and trade Armstrong, Calder, Ivanans and/or Gauthier? Or do you keep them and only make trades if there’s a more than semi-gain?

The only thing I know I wouldn’t do is give up highly regarded prospects or high draft picks (first or second round) in any trade whatsoever. Then you become what the Kings were in recent years: a team willing to mortgage its future in an attempt to finish eighth in the Western Conference. In your scenario, if someone is willing to give Lombardi something of value, whether it’s draft picks, prospects or servicable NHL players, and all they want is players whose contracts are going to expire — such as the guys you mentioned — go for it. If it’s a matter of trading a guy like Martinez or Quick (just picking random names) for the possibility of finishing eighth in the conference this year, no way.

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Question: I like the pick up of Quincey but my question is why? Just because? Does DL think we aren’t deep there? Will Quincey be a starter or a 6th or 7th D man this year?

It’s a few things. Quincey is a legit player. The Kings weren’t the only team to put in a claim for him. As Patrick O’Sullivan alluded to yesterday, he’d be playing on most other NHL teams. Losing Jack Johnson increased the need to get a defenseman who is ready to play in the NHL right now. In general, yes, the Kings are still looking to improve the depth on defense. In terms of young guys, the top guys are Doughty, Hickey, Teubert and Martinez. Who knows how many will pan out? There’s very little risk in picking up Quincey, and potentially a good reward.

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Question: I know this is a ticky-tack question or statement. But I thought one of the classiest things the Kings did (that the Ducks did not do) was give their sticks away to the crowd after the “stars” of the game took thier bow. I noticed that so far this year they are not doing that. I wonder if it is a cost saving move?

That’s not at all “ticky-tack.” As I usually get in the elevator immediately after the horn, I hadn’t noticed that. I’ll ask. I always thought that was a good gesture. Hopefully they just haven’t reminded the players to do it this season.

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Question: Please explain Jack Johnson’s contract situation. As I understand – rookies are signed to 3 year entry level contracts. This is his second year playing for the Kings, so shouldn’t his contract extend into next year? Why is he already a RFA after this season?

Believe it or not, Johnson’s “first year,” when he played five games, counted as a year on his entry-level contract. There are a few readers who seem to know the CBA inside and out, so maybe someone can shed some light on why exactly that is.

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  • Boris

    Question: Please explain Jack Johnson’s contract situation. As I understand – rookies are signed to 3 year entry level contracts. This is his second year playing for the Kings, so shouldn’t his contract extend into next year? Why is he already a RFA after this season?

    The first year (5 games) that he played counted as one year of his entry level contract, but it will NOT count towards his (7) years pro before he is UFA-eligible.

  • Boris

    Question: Can you find some more info about Lombardi’s “cash budget” for each season? When he first came to the Kings, he said that he was very excited and that the MAIN reason he came here was that AEG promised to stay away from hockey decisions and that they were willing to spend up to the cap each year. Now, this season, he said that he now has a cash budget for each year. What gives? I understand that there is no point to spend up to the cap THIS season, but I hope that in future seasons that AEG won’t butt-in. Also, I hope that since this season we are barely at the cap (and probably under since Doughty is not likely to meet all of his bonuses), that in future seasons, we won’t hear AEG crying about losing money.

    Lombardi isn’t complaining about the cash budget this year because he wasn’t going to spend the money anyway. If this budget is still in place in, let’s say, two years, Lombardi is going to have a big problem with it. It’s very, very fair to hold AEG’s feet to the fire in the next couple years. If they don’t give Lombardi the resources he needs, they will be going back on the promise they made to him and they will be harming the franchise. There is no indication right now that that will be the case, but keep an eye on it.

    Thanks Rich, I completely agree about this year. All I hope was that we wouldn’t have the same drawbacks in the future when this team is actually supposed to start contending.

  • Marc Nathan

    For the people who are skeptical about the pickup of Kyle Quincey…

    the draft is always a crapshoot. Quincey was part of that 2003 draft that has yielded more than its share of regular NHL players…

    Quincey was a late 4th round pick. 132nd overall.

    You might note that defensemen chosen before him that have not panned out include: Shawn Belle (30), Danny Richmond (31), Mike Egener (34), Tim Ranholt (39), Matt Smaby (41), John Doherty (57, and the player chosen directly after Patrick O’Sullivan), David Liffiton (63)…

    and there are a few drafted after him that have made their presence felt: Lasse Kukkonen (151), Bruno Gervais (182), Nathan Paetsch (202) recently converted to forward, Dustin Byfuglien (245) and Shane O’Brien (250)

    You just never know, but if Quincey had been drafted by the Kings, you might have felt as protective of him as you do their other 3rd, 4th and 5th round defensemen drafted over the past few seasons (Campbell, Martinez, Andersen, Baier, etc.)

    I’m psyched about his upside and hope that he’s part of the nucleus for the next few seasons.

  • brianguy

    I too noticed the stick thing. Kopi is named one of the 3 stars at Staples more frequent than anyone, and I ALWAYS have seen him give his stick away to some kid. I think maybe the team would rather they auction them off for charity or have them for future giveaways i.e. fan appreciation instead of some kid (or some kid’s DAD) winning the “stick lottery” just because they bought some front row seats. unless (not as likely) the teams don’t have an extra supply sticks since it’s early in the season and players usually do a feeling-out period during the summer and in training camp.

    it’s more fair to all fans if they do something give them away on fan appreciation though… and yes, they also sell them in Team LA, for a profit, so there’s even that angle.

  • AntWorks

    Some of you are being really simply minded when it comes to the AEG bashing. I also have a hard time understanding the questioning of DL in regards to Quincey. Why not pick him up? It’s a zero risk/high reward move, why would anyone have a problem with it?

  • becky

    AntWorks said:

    Some of you are being really simply minded when it comes to the AEG bashing.

    Really, what part? The one where they have owned the team for 15 years and accomplished nothing or the one where they have consistently lied to the fans about their plans?

  • Ed

    As for Jack’s contract situation:

    I asked Jamie Kompon about that during the Kings Fantasy Camp.

    Because Jack was in such a powerful negotiating position with the Kings. It was written into his contract that the first few games he played will count as 1 year of service in the NHL, and he will become a RFA a year sooner.

    Basically he did NOT get the standard 3 year entry level contract.

    Ed

  • Mark

    I thought I saw Kopitar give his stick to the little girl that Mark Hardy was saying hi to on his way back to the locker after the game.

  • jc_9

    I am so sick of hearing people talk about how AEG should sell the Kings or that they don’t care if the Kings win or lose and all the complaining about ownership. More whining about a 5 year plan and how they’ve accomplished nothing.

    AEG bought this team out of bankruptcy. The organization was in shambles. So their first plan didn’t work and their second plan didn’t work. Does that mean they should sell? That’s idiotic. If you want to argue that Lieweke should be fired or moved as far away from the team as possible fine.

    The organization finally has the right people making hockey decisions and we’re seeing the results. This team will be a force for a long time.

    So AEG mismanaged the organization in it’s early ownership years. Their plans have been failures in the past. But look now. Can’t you see the difference? You want to say they they’ve accomplished nothing? The player development in this organization has changed dramatically. They’re playing in a great arena. They own their AHL affiliate. I think the steps this ownership has taken in the last 3 years have been huge.

    Go ahead and keep whining and hoping that the organization gets sold. Then see how happy you are when the whole thing is blown up.

  • AntWorks

    jc_9,

    BRAVO!