Forum answers II

Jill should have some stuff from the morning skate, but until then, here’s the second set of questions/answers from the open forum…

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Questions: 1. What percent chance would you give the Kings to acquiring Gaborik if they can sign him longterm before the trade? 2. What do you attribute Kopitar’s slow start to? 3. Will Bernier be our goalie next year? 4. Will LaBarbera get extended?

Answers: 1) You probably have to ask the question the other way around. First, the Kings would have to decide if they actually want to sign Gaborik to a long-term contract, given his injury history and the red flag that comes with players who are attracted by the “Southern California lifestyle.” So there’s that, then they would have to figure out a long-term contract, then they would have to decide what to give up, all of which made this a tremendous longshot from the beginning, Internet rumors notwithstanding. 2) It could be a couple different things. The two most likely things would be his inability to adjust to the more itense defensive attention he’s receiving, or some type of pressure he’s putting on himself, based on his big contract and his new leadership role. 3) Impossible to say. Depends entirely on how he plays this season and in training camp next year and how other guys develop. Nothing is predetermined. 4) See above. Under any scenario, it’s unlikely that he would get a multi-year contract. That could lead him to look elsewhere.

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Question: I was wondering how much tinkering, if any is by Dean or if he just lets TM do what he wants? I mean it is Deano’s job on the line, and if it was me I would be giving some input on what/how things happen on the ice.

Answer: Lombardi has input on all personnel moves, which would include which players get sent to/recalled from Manchester and things such as that. As far as who plays on the first line, and decisions of that nature, it’s all the coaches’ call. Lombardi made his big decision when he hired Murray. After that, he has to support the coach he hired.

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Question: What do you think of Derek Armstrong’s role on the team, and do you think he will get an extension from the Kings?

Answer: Armstrong didn’t really do anything wrong, and he has accepted his role without complaint, so he deserves credit for that. He got pushed down when both Moller and Simmonds made the team, and if Boyle continues to show that he can play regular minutes, that won’t help Armstrong’s cause either. At this point, his NHL career is a year-by-year situation. There probably isn’t any team that will give Armstrong a multi-year contract at age 35. If the Kings wanted to keep him for another season, at a reasonble salary (perhaps on a two-way deal), he would probably want to come back, all things being equal.

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Question: What’s gotten into Teubert offensively? He has 16 points in 19 games, a ton of penalty minutes, and he’s a PLUS 16! This kid looks remarkable. Have you heard anything about his progress around the rink? Does he have untapped offensive potential to become more than just a defensive d-man? Thanks.

Answer: I’m not sure if anyone from the Kings has seen Teubert in person this season, so it might be difficult to get a comprehensive answer at this point, but he’s certainly off to a great offensive start. Teubert had seven goals and 16 assists in 66 games last season. He already has eight goals and eight assists in 19 games this season.

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Question: Do you notice any issues between TM and Kopitar? It’s very hard to get the tone of the comments when you’re just reading them. I thought since you are doing the interviews, maybe you might have picked something up. With the team struggling for offensive consistency, is there any reason why Murray only gave Sully 1 game together with Kopitar and Brown? They sure didn’t look great together, but knowing their history, maybe its a way of getting some type of consistent scoring from ANY line. It’s one thing to spread the wealth around, but it’s hard to spread the goal wealth when everyone is goal poor.

Answer: Issues, as in personal conflicts? No, certainly not from Murray’s end, and if Kopitar has any issues, he’s certainly smart enough — as an alternate captain and top player — not to air them publicly. But no, I haven’t had that sense. As far as O’Sullivan, people are losing sight of the reason he is where he is: the coaches don’t think he’s playing well. You can argue with that, but that’s the reason. It’s not because they willfully don’t want to play him with Kopitar and Brown, and it’s not really out of a sense of finding offensive balance. They don’t think he’s playing a responsible game and they want him to get back on track. Did O’Sullivan deserve more than one game to prove himself with Brown and Kopitar? Perhaps, but Murray has been very decisive about that, for better or worse.

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Question: Rich, what is the reasonong of having Richardson and Armstrong polishing the teak and having Harrold playing forward? Are the Kings looking at sending the two done to the minors or trading them?

Answer: The initial reason was that Murray wanted to get Preissing in the lineup. The coaches believed that Preissing could be beneficial to the power play but were concerned that he might be a defensive liability. So they put Harrold in as a safety valve, knowing also that he could play a few minutes at wing. It hasn’t really worked out, since the power play is still struggling, but Harrold hasn’t looked bad at wing and it seems that the coaches want to get a longer look at this group.

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Questions: 1) How much leniency do you feel Kings ownersip and/or DL will give TM for not having a successful season from their perspective(what they would call successful, whatever that may be)? Do you feel they’ll give him more or less time than Crawford? 2) Who do you personally see as being the future #1 Kings goalie?

Answers: 1) Well, only Dean Lombardi knows what he’s looking for, given that this season is more about development than it is about the standings. Crawford got two years. If it’s completely clear, after two years, that the Kings aren’t making any progress, it probably won’t be Lombardi’s call to make. At that point, the Kings would probably be shopping for a new coach AND a new general manager. 2) Jonathan Bernier is still the favorite to get the job in the long term, but keep an eye on Jeff Zatkoff. Expectations are lower for him, and he’s looking real solid in the ECHL so far.

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Questions: 1) Since you’re around the team and staff on a fairly regular basis, have you noticed any change in attitude or camaraderie between players or players and coaches since the beginning of training camp?

2) Do you feel as if Kopitar’s just trying to do too much and not getting any results, or is his lack of production due to the new system / coaching staff? Big $ contract shock…cough..Lubo?

3) Why does our powerplay stink when we have so many gifted offensive players?

4) What do you feel it is going to take to turn the losing streak around and string some wins together?

Answers: 1) Since the beginning of training camp? No. There’s been a change from previous seasons, in that the guys seem to hang out with each more after practices and they seem to enjoy being around each other. The ping-pong table seems to bring that out, and I learned this week that the coaches don’t want the TV in the locker room turned on, so that players will talk to each other.

2) I answered the question a bit earlier. I don’t think the system has anything to do with it, unless you’re of the mind that being asked to play more defense has taken Kopitar’s focus away from the offensive game.

3) Because those gifted players aren’t putting the pucks in the net?

4) scoring more goals than the opponents and allowing fewer goals. That’s a smart-ass answer, but there is no formula. Play hard and play smart and hope you catch the other team on a bad night. There’s no magic involved.

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  • Paul from Oxnard

    Regarding Teubert scoring in junior hockey. It’s junior hockey. All the top prospects have points coming out of their ears in junior hockey. John Tavares will probably break 150 points down there. That’s how junior hockey is.

  • Dan H.

    Teubert is a defenseman. His points are pretty impressive for a D man.

    I agree with you from the forward side of things though.