Forum answers V

Here’s the final set of answers for the open forum questions. Thanks again for all the fun, insightful questions. I’ll be out at the morning skate shortly, so there will be updates, notes and quotes throughout the late morning and afternoon. Here are the final answers…

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Question: shaken or stirred?

Answer: What’s the line there…“Do I look like I give a damn?” Something like that, right?

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Question: Finish this sentence…Preissing will be traded on ___ to___ for_______.

Answer: April 1, the expansion franchise in Las Vegas, 200 tickets to Jerry Bruckheimer’s next movie. Actually, Preissing would probably be the veteran most likely to be traded, but I wouldn’t expect more than a late-round pick.

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Questions: Do any of the Euro players get their teammates involved in hall-soccer before games or at practice? How do the Kings work “film” with the players? Do they watch every game as a group? Study individually with coaches? What’s the process of teaching, with film, what coaches want and what players need to improve? Have you any knowledge of whether Lombardi has ever entertained the thought of offering a ’08-’09 contract to any of the veterans that are not currently playing – Sundin (before he signed) or Shanahan, McLaren or Kaberle? Do players get to stay on the ice after practice and work by themselves or in small groups? Do guys like O’S and Brown shoot on a goalie, or does Kopi work with linemates? That sort of thing? Do players on the team get on the stationary bikes after the game to increase stamina and fitness? Are the coaches and management happy with fitness levels? In my opinion, weight is a great asset to have if it doesn’t slow a player down, are the players like Simmonds, Kopi, Brown, O’S, Purcell focused on putting on “good” weight and muscle?

Answers: 1) I’ve seen a few other teams do the soccer-ball thing in the hallway before games, but I’ve never seen the Kings do it. It’s all about ping-pong. 2) There’s a lot of different film breakdown that takes place. Coaches obviously watch the most, then they can show stuff to the group in total or break it down in groups. Power-play and penalty-kill units probably have the most meetings, and obviously Bill Ranford spends a lot of individual time with the goalies. 3) No interest in any of those unsigned vets, to my knowledge. They’d rather give the spot to a young player. 4) There are always players who stay on the ice after practice, usually the younger guys. After a morning skate, the guys who are scheduled to be scratched that night — along with the backup goalie — will stay on the ice for quite a while. 5) There’s constant training going on. To the best of my knowledge, every player is pretty much on his own schedule. There’s no “workout time,” per se, but all the players are watched closely by the training and development staff.

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Question: did Calder tip Brown’s goal last night? I didn’t think so, but someone tells me he did. I have yet to go back and watch for myself.

Answer: I got an e-mail question on that as well. Unfortunately, the press box offers the absolute worst view. We’re miles from the ice and have to squint to watch a TV replay. I’ve yet to watch an up-close replay of the goal, but all of the goals are looked at, so if Calder touched it, I’m surprised the league didn’t catch it.

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Question: Has the ice been any better since the NHL-Ice guy was here last month?

Answer: I personally haven’t noticed any difference, and the players never complained about it before so I haven’t heard anything different from them either.

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Question: I don’t understand the degree of expectation that is set on rookies. Some bounce up and down, like Boyle, and some remain, like Simmonds. I am happy with Simmonds play, but his offensive contribution is minimal. When watching the games, I don’t see glaring errors made by Boyle. What is it that I don’t see? Does Simmonds have a different locker room presence or attitude that defines in a greater manner than Boyle? What is the quality that Simmonds possesses that allows him to remain in the NHL? as opposed to the Manchester others?

Answer: It’s pretty simple. Simmonds is playing the game the Kings are asking him to play; Boyle, for the most part, isn’t. It’s not necessarily about “glaring mistakes,” and it’s absolutely not about offensive contributions. What the coaches ask of Wayne Simmonds is for him to bring energy, strong, fast skating and a defensive mindset. He has done what’s asked of him. What the coaches ask of Brian Boyle is for him to use his body is a physical way and be strong on the puck. He can’t seem to consistently find that level they’re asking of him, so that’s the difference.

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Questions: 1.What are their plans with Zeiler with Armstrong and others getting healthy? He still has two more years on that 1 way contract and players like Moulson and Lewis more than able to take his shifts.
2.What are the thoughts on last years draftees and their seasons so far?
3. Which prospect in the organization is opening the most eyes?
4. Best inexpensive place to grab a bite to eat before/after the games?

Answers: 1) Fair question, and yes, nothing personal against Zeiler but it’s hard to see him having a long-term future with the Kings. 2) Well, you’re seeing Doughty live and in person, and you just watched the other top two guys, Colten Teubert and Viatcheslav Voynov, win medals at the World Juniors. Teubert is putting up strong offensive numbers in the WHL and Voynov is getting good reviews in the AHL. It’s a bit hard to keep regular tabs on some of the mid- to lower-round guys, but Andrei Loktionov appears to be one to watch. Justin Azevedo has been intriguing but is having a hard time staying healthy. 3) Good question, hard to answer. I know they’re real happy with Thomas Hickey’s development. 4) Drive south down Figueroa and stop at the place called La Taquiza. Have a mulita (or three).

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Question: Do you know of any movement amongst the NHL teams to push the NHL to move to a larger ice surface? What’s your opinion on ice size?

Answer: I love watching games on bigger ice surfaces, but it will never happen in the NHL because some (if not most…if not all) are strictly configured for the current ice size.

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Question: Here’s a question that struck me during Tuesday’s telecast- why was Heidi Androl doing a report for the Ducks? Doesn’t she work for the Kings?

Answer: I didn’t catch that, to be honest. I’m not sure how that works, whether he’s technically a Kings employee or a Fox Sports employee. Are you hoping for Bill MacDonald to do some Kings reports?

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Question: Rich, I can’t help it…I’m obsessed with the idea of the Kings making a splash with a free agent or a trade sooner rather than later. Assuming that with your close attention to the team, you know better than any of us…what are the odds that the Kings could hunt down a guy of say Hossa’s or Kovalchuk’s caliber? Is the feeling that DL is aiming that high?

Answer: The “obsession” is certainly understandable. That’s going to be a huge piece of the puzzle for the Kings going forward. Are the Kings going to be in the running for a big name like Hossa or Kovalchuk? Yes. Now, before you get too excited, there are about 100 variables that go into a trade like that. Just because the Kings want a top-level guy doesn’t mean they can just pluck one off a tree. Free agency would probably be a more reliable bet than a trade, because Lombardi seems disposed to keeping those top prospects and high draft picks as close to his vest as possible.

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Question: how important is the plus minus rating and could you explain the kings defensive system and why it effects their offense thanks

Answer: 1) Plus-minus frankly isn’t a very reliable statistic, but it’s one of the few ways to measure defense, for lack of a better way to explain it. “Grading” a defenseman is much more subjective, because you have to look at things such as positioning, how he helps his partner, jumping into the play…so many different things. 2) Well, it’s not really possible to break down the entire defensive system for you, but I’ll start where Terry Murray started. On the first day of camp, he spray-painted five dots directly in front of the Kings’ net. He called it “home plate” and drilled into the players’ heads the need to defend that area of the ice. That’s what he comes back to defensively. Players and coaches seem to agree that it does, at least at first, take away from the offense a bit, but the Kings feel it’s absolutely necessary to shore up the defense before anything else.

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Questions: 1. What’s the harm (despite the fact that most fans would consider this blasphemy) of sending Jack Johnson down to Manchester for a couple of weeks as a “conditioning” stint?

2. Why not do the same with Armstrong and Richardson, as they have both missed enough time as to need to get back into game shape, and they would not be subject to waivers if listed as “conditioning.”

3. Who do we have to pay to get Kyle Calder assigned to Manchester? If the Kings did try to recall him, maybe some team would take half of his salary. If Lombardi wants to be generous he can throw in the 7th he got for LaBarbera, right? ;)

Answer: 1) No harm at all. It might actually be a really good idea. The positive thing for Johnson, though, is that he’s already been skating for weeks, so I don’t know how much “conditioning” will be necessary. He needs to take some hits and get back in game shape, so I think they would definitely consider it. 2) Richardson might fall into the same category we’re talking about. Armstrong skates every day in practice, and skates more than most on game days, plus he’s a veteran so I wouldn’t really include him in that category. 3) Maybe if the Kings could ever get everyone healthy at the same time, you might see something there. Maybe not. Who knows?

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Question: Cubs??? oh no! oh my. I forget, isn’t Bob Miller a Cubs fan? I think he said that on the air once or twice… last I remember Jim Fox roots for some really stupid team, the Yankees I think.

Answer: Bob is a White Sox fan, something he takes great glee in reminding me about on a regular basis. Jim has a very eclectic taste in sports teams, and by that I mean he cheers for the teams that…well, win. Although I did pin him down on a BCS title-game pick this week, and he picked Florida, so kudos to Jimmy.

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Questions: 1) When a player is put on waivers are all of the GMs notified? Do they get a league-wide email or something? 2) Do you know the system on how player’s ice time gets measured? Do they have a few people just watching the bench and documenting who and how long people are on the ice?

Answers: 1) I’m not certain of the exact protocal, but yes, teams are made aware and have a chance to pick up the player while he’s on waivers. 2) The league keeps official stats — you can find the box scores on NHL.com — so yes, they measure the exact time that each player comes onto the ice and then goes back to the bench. It’s not mistake-proof, but it seems to be an accurate representation.

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Questions: 1.) Who is your all time favorite King? 2.) Who is your favorite NHL’er all time?/right now? 3.) Do you think Handzus will be a king next year? I love him this year, and I think he would be an asset to any playoff team, and i’m worried about losing him at the deadline. What are your thoughts?

Answers: 1) My favorite former Kings are Jim Fox and Daryl Evans, two guys I’m fortunate to work with on a regular basis. 2) Of course it’s a completely cliched answer to say Wayne Gretzky, but like a lot of people in this town, I started watching hockey as a youngster because of Gretzky. OUtside of Gretzky, and because I started watching during that era, I enjoyed watching Bernie Nicholls as well. 3) I don’t think Handzus is going anywhere. He’s having a great season, he’s good for the young players and Terry Murray is a big fan of Handzus’ work ethic and his game.

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  • Moondoggie

    Rich,

    Your forums are excellent and your insights into the game and the Kings are FANtastic! It’s like having one of us one the bench with the team practically at all times. I remember your start with the team, frozen rinks and mornings in El Segundo, right? You’ve come along way dude. Thank you for all you do for all of us diehard, hockey starved, cup starved Kings fans.

    One other thing and almost forgot, who’s in goal tonight? The goaltending situation is going to get interesting QUICKly. LA now has practically two No.1′s. Alternate? What’s your take? Tough to sit either one out for any game.

    Thx!

  • David

    Hey Rich, thanks so much for keeping us all up to date with what’s going on, your insight is truly appreciated. I know the forums are over but the question above about a larger ice surface reminded me of something. I heard on NHL Network the other night, one of the guiys was talking about not necessarily changing the dimensions of the ice, but doing something similar to baseball where teams could tinker with things within the ice. Maybe a team like Detroit or Calgary who is so fast has a bigger neutral zone so there guys can fly, and then you take a little bit out of both end zones. Or a slower team like New Jersey of old would have a smaller neutral zone, with mroe room in the end zones and maybe bring the goal line up a little bit for more room behind the net to work with. What do you think about that, small changes for more of a home ice advantage?

  • m

    If memory serves, I believe Handzus has a no-trade clause…therefore, he’d have to be asked to waive it by management and then he’d have to be willing to do so.

    Right now the Kings are using him in their top-9 (which Murray seems to like). He’s planting his butt in front of the goalie on the powerplay and he’s playing valuable penalty-killing minutes. I don’t think he will be asked to go anywhere this season.

  • m

    in regards to the soccer ball thing… I’ve see several players generally 6-10 of them doing it in the halls before warm-ups on game days. kings and visiting teams. from what i understand, it really helps in their communication and connections.

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    Well, the first time to be here. Nice to meet you all.

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