Forum answers III

The third set of answers from today’s open forum questions…

—–

Question: Do you think the fans on here will ever stop complaining about everything all the time and understand we are not winning the Cup this year so just relax and enjoy the season and be happy our coach has us waaaay ahead of where we were as a team the past 3 seasons?

Answer: It’s sort of the nature of sports, that a segment of fans is never going to be happy. You can even look at USC football and UCLA basketball, and some folks still aren’t happy until there is perfection. To a degree, that’s understandable. If your team doesn’t win a championship, there’s always room for improvement. Most people just choose to keep some perspective along the way.

—–

Question: Does Heidi Androl work for the Kings or Fox Sports or something else? I see her all over the place like Ducks games and NHL.com as a featured guest.

Answer: I’m not totally sure about that. She started out just working for the Kings, but then she got the job doing the show for NHL.com as well. I haven’t seen her do anything for the Ducks other than the Kings-Ducks games, but perhaps she’s branching out on Fox Sports.

—–

Question: The Kings have great depth in defensive and goaltending prospects, however I don’t see anyone in the minors that could be a offensive threat, with that how are the Kings going to address the situation? Through the draft or getting a top tier free agent? If the Kings can add a top 1st liner, this team will be in the playoffs

Answer: I think, at this point in their development, the Kings are much more likely to address the offense through free agency and trades, rather than the draft. When you draft a kid, you’re looking at two or three years of development in most cases, and by that point, the Kings hope to be in position to cotend. It’s safe to say that the Kings are looking to add two top-six forwards who will be able to contribute immediately, not in three years or so.

—–

Question: DO you actually root for the Kings? I know you can’t when at Staples but when you’re say at home watching an away game? Are they your favorite team so to speak? Just wondering.

Answer: Being a sportswriter is a great job, but one thing is does is take away your desire to be a fan. When you cover sports, you stop cheering. You’re much more worried about covering the team, about news and, most importantly, about making deadlines. It is, in general, easier to cover a winning team, because there’s more interest and people are easier to deal with. But the only professional team that I have loyalty to is the Chicago Cubs. Please spare me the ridicule, thanks…

—–

Question: Rich, I recall that in an earlier forum you were gonna follow up with the Kings about their petty practice of only announcing the attendance when it is a sellout which would seem to slight those of us who are there every game and without whom a sellout would not occur. Did you ever do this, and if so, what was their response?

Answer: No, I haven’t really followed up on this, and I’m still unclear on it. I’m pretty sure that the last time I was out there, it was a sellout and they didn’t announce it. Maybe I can get some clarification on this from those of you who follow it every game.

—–

Question: When Ersberg got injured they kept the injury as best under wraps as possible. In my opinion, this means they are protecting the value of their asset…which may suggest that they are considering his “market value” for a trade. This especially heightens my interest with how he is a UFA this summer. If he were under contract for at least another year, I would assume they would have no concern in disclosing his injry status (except during the playoffs). Also, getting him back in the lineup so quickly looks like a move to showcase him to the teams looking for goaltending help. Do you agree? Is a trade looming? Am I just crazy? Wait…don’t answer that last question. I know the answer…

Answer: Honestly, there’s absolutely nothing to that. Ersberg’s injury got kept “under wraps” because that’s what hockey teams do. For whatever reason, they think it’s important to disclose as little about injuries as possible. I would urge you to not worry so much about this “showcasing” idea. To buy that, you have to believe that Terry Murray is motivated more by trade possibilities than he is about wins and losses, and quite frankly, that’s laughable. Murray makes the on-ice decisions. A few weeks ago, I asked Lombardi, randomly, if he was thinking about a Johnson-Doughty pairing, and his only answer was, “That’s up to the coach.”

—–

Questions: -Do you predict a trade for an offensively skilled forward. If Yess, Who? -Kopitar and POS have only scored 22 goals between them, Do you see them having more of a productive 2nd half. -How would you rate TM’s performance thus far? Is he the right coach for this team. -Are either Handzus, Calder, Preissing, or O’Donnell trade bait. -Why is Zeiler on the roster? -Will DL resign Gauthier to a new contract.

Answers: 1) Eventually, yes. In the next month? It’s probably less than a 50-50 bet, if I had to guess. Who? It could be just about anyone. You already know how I feel about trade rumors and their validity. 2) Simply based on their talent, their past performances and their potential, you’d have to say yes, right? That’s about all I can go on. 3) I believe that in my midseason grades, I have Murray a B or B-. He’s the right coach for this particular team, because this year is about learning and growth. The question will be whether he can take them to the next level. 4) Everyone on the team, with the exception of a handful of players (and I’m sure you know who they are), has the potential to be traded. 5) Because he’s a fourth-line energy player and because Terry Murray wants to have a fourth line that hits and brings energy. 6) On a team with a lot of young defensemen, there will always be a place for a couple veterans. Gauthier may or may not be one of them next season.

—–

Question: Rich, Got any ideas/insights on possible signings for the Kings? Any news on who they might be looking at? Who would you like to see Dean go after? Who would you give up for said player(s)?

Answer: Free-agent signings? Let’s wait a couple months on that one. We still have to get through the trade deadline and see which young players are going to sign long-term contracts with their current teams.

—–

Question: Do you have any sense of what Sean O’Donnell’s intentions are for the future? Has he given any hints or indications as to whether he might play one more year? What’s your opinion – if the Kings got a little bit more “team tough” could they go it without an enforcer? I believe they could.

Answer: I haven’t asked O’Donnell about his plans for next season, but players in that situation (late 30s, potential free agent) usually give a “We’ll see what happens in the summer” answer. I don’t get the impression, at all, that O’Donnell is ready to retire, so I could certainly see the Kings bringing him back on a one-year contract, the way they intended to do with Rob Blake last summer. O’Donnell has been a good mentor to the young defensemen. That’s a really good question about “team tough.” I like that term, and I like the concept. I think the answer to your question is yes. You’re always going to want a fourth line that can run around and hit people, but playing “team tough” definitely reduces the need for a designated enforcer.

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  • Jean

    Rich, I am at every game and unless I somehow miss David Courtney’s announcements every single time, the attendance is only given when 18,118 tickets are distributed.

  • vicarious

    Rich, thanks for the great work.

    Hey you asked awhile back about raising money ideas. I hv one. If the computer guys can manage it, maybe they can set up a Top Hat marked “Pass the Hat” icon so people can send a few bucks for looking at this site via paypal or credit card or some such by clicking on the icon and sending a smll payment.

    It would be a bother to pay something every time, but if it were a voluntary payment and you reminded people say 2-3 times a year, I’m sure many people would voluntarily pony up a few bucks or so a year, and if 1k, 5K, 10K persons each put up $5 bucks a year that will pay for something. Kinda like how the street comedians on the Venice boardwalk used to do it.

    If payment is made mandatory the DN will be booed so I suggest not trying that approach.

  • Kevin

    Rich, How long until our cubbies will win a world series? or at least a playoff game

  • Meg

    FYI guys, Heidi Androl actually works for Fox Sports now, which is why you see her going other spots and coverage beside just the Kings.

  • Matt George

    Meg – That makes sense, Heidi never really gave me the impression she was a Kings fan. She always seemed like another pretty face “doing time” until she got a bigger break. I wish her the best and more importantly… wish her to move on quickly.

    Rich – “It’s safe to say that the Kings are looking to add two top-six forwards who will be able to contribute immediately, not in three years or so.”

    That’s a helluva an exciting statement. I’m going to paste that on to my computer monitor and start stashing cash to go back to staples … if they get 2 top sixers … oh my.

  • Quisp

    Follow up, re “It’s safe to say that the Kings are looking to add two top-six forwards who will be able to contribute immediately”

    I’m wondering why this is “safe to say.” By my count, these are the Kings top-six forward players and prospects:

    Centers: Kopitar, Boyle, Lewis, Loktionov, Azevedo
    Left Wing: Frolov, POS, Moulson
    Right Wing: Brown, Moller, Purcell, Simmonds

    Five of those guys — Kopitar, Frolov, POS, Brown and Moller — are top-six guys right now (although Moller is in training). You could put Moller or Brown on a third line, but not for the long term, and we know DL makes deals for the long term.

    Simmonds, for the sake of argument, I will say is a third line guy. So, maybe one could reason that some kind of super-powerful third line with Simmonds and Brown could co-exist for years to come (even though they’re both ring-wingers).

    And I’m not mentioning two guys, Stoll (who is supposed to be a #2 center but isn’t playing like one) and Handzus (who is playing like a #2 center at least in my opinion).

    So the idea of bringing in two top six guys would require several pretty interesting conclusions:

    (1) Stoll and Handzus are no longer considered top six; this is fine, in Handzus’s case, because he’s defensively dominant; in Stoll’s case, I think it means he gets dealt.
    (2) DL is envisioning Brown as a third line energy forward with goal scoring ability. I can see DL envisioning a line-up with Brown on the 3rd line, so I’ll go with that (even though I don’t really believe it).
    (3) Moller is going to have to wait in the wings. Eh, not sure I believe this is what DL wants him to do, but I can see him being part of a third line for awhile, maybe with Brown and Simmonds. Okay, I’ll buy that one, too. But not for long term. I think Moller will end up being center #2. A couple of years from now. Maybe that’s just my hope, but what the hell.
    (4) Purcell, Moulson and Boyle have really disappointed DL in terms of their performance this season. Not sure I buy this conclusion. This is the biggest stickler for me, actually. I think Purcell has done okay this year. Moulson didn’t have much of a chance. Boyle has been a fairly big disappointment, but I don’t think (or didn’t think) DL was ready to write him off. He’s been given the most opportunity of the prospects, though, so I’ll grant that he’s becoming more vulnerable. Lewis is the best suited to third line duty of all of them, since he’s so sound defensively, but he could end up top-six as well. So DL is just closing the door on those guys?
    (5) One of Kopitar, Frolov or POS could be dealt. And actually this is an even bigger stickler for me than #4. Not because I wouldn’t do it, but because I don’t think DL would do it.

    I can see bringing in one guy. Say, Heatley (really just to pick a name). But let’s play the thought experiment, in which DL trades for Heatley now and then signs Hossa over the summer.

    Now you have a new first line, and it’s Heatley/Hossa/x, followed by…let me think…

    Heatley/Hossa/POS
    Frolov/Kopitar/Moller
    Simmonds/Handzus/Brown
    (and some kind of fourth line)

    Since I’m pretty sure DL isn’t penciling in any of these current Kings as fourth liners, I’m going to say that if the Kings are bringing in TWO top six guys, Stoll and Calder are both moving.

    We would, then, be in a position of having a nearly fully matured set of top-six forwards. Not much (or any) room for Purcell or Moulson (or Loktionov or long-shot Azevedo) to crack the line-up (except as fourth liners, and that’s not really a job they’re suited for — unless TM wants to go with an all-speed unit, like we used to have with Donnelly-Millen-somebody else) even a couple of years down the road.

    One big top-six guy seems (even) likely at this point. But two, even by the summer, would strike me as being a little impatient on DL’s part.

    Or maybe I’m missing something. I actually have a concussion as I’m writing this. Good night. There’s a Kings NCAA prospects round-up on Hockey’s Future.

  • Ersberg

    In a nutshell, it is completely possible to have both Heatley and Hossa on this team. With Kopi between them..

    Heatley-Kopi-Hossa(aka the HHK line)

    We just went from a moderate team to a contender in two signings.

  • Quisp

    Ersberg –

    You’re right. For some reason, I keep thinking Hossa is a center. So the fantasy/thought-experiment first line would indeed be Heatley/Kopitar/Hossa.

    My question is still, does that not require a shift in long-term strategy, away from youth movement, going with the kids, etc.? I have no special desire to be mired in eternal prospect-itis, but I also don’t want to make moves that send our prospects elsewhere to be other people’s superstars, just because — what — we had to have Hossa and Heatley?

    Again, my question is not whether it’s possible, of course it’s possible. You could get yourself three top-six players, why stop at two? The question is not what’s possible, it’s what’s desirable for the long term.

    If you go out and get two top six guys who are going to be here for a few years, this closes the door on several prospects. Maybe that’s a good thing. But whether it’s good or not, it’s NOT the stated plan we’ve heard from DL. It’s closer to the old ways of bringing in people to win now. (although the new version of that is apparently, “win now AND in the future”).

    It’s certainly not what I would call patient.

    And I would expect some of those prospects to be dealt away, accordingly.

    I personally will be very surprised if Stoll is still a King on March 5.

  • Ersberg

    Quisp-Heatley is 28 and Hossa just turned 30, so they both have plenty of miles left in the tank. Consider Iginla, who’s 32, scored 52 goals last season.

    I think DL’s plan in the “youth movement” shouldn’t necessarily stay within an age category, but those that still have plenty of game left in them, and those players that have a proven track record.

    As far as aquiring these 2 players, Hossa, as you know is a UFA at seasons end, so that’s just a matter of cap money.

    Heatley would require a large overpayment, which would probably require an amount close to what DL would need to trade for both of these guys in normal circumstances.
    For DL to get Bryan Murray to listen to him, he’d need to start with one of our top 2-3, then go from there. Picks/prospects wouldn’t get this deal done in my opinion.

    I feel Dean has set himself up to make a deal like this, if he so wishes, since AEG stated they’d fund if DL felt it was as a good deal(how much of that is actually the truth is anyones guess).

    Also, my comments regarding making this line was purely in fun, and I honestly feel we can’t and/or won’t get either them. If we did manage trades at this level, we’d contend for several years, maybe even longer.

  • Quisp

    Ersberg –

    I will comment more on this later (after the game probably), but I wanted to jot down some quick thoughts.

    (1) The Heatley/Hossa thought experiment doesn’t bother me in terms of their ages. I agree, they’re still young. And I think DL is in fact in the market for someone like that, one of those guys even. I just think bringing them in means that there is no longer room for other top-six forwards in our pipeline, primarily the kids in Manchester. The previous fantasy of a lineup including 2 or 3 of Purcell, Boyle, Moulson, Lewis, would probably be totally inoperable, with only third and fourth line spots open for the foreseeable future. This would not be a tweaking. It would be a tectonic shift in the future “picture” of the club. I’m not necessarily against it. However:
    (2) If Ottawa isn’t shedding salary, trading Heatley (or Spezza) doesn’t make sense, really. So they’re not going to want a bunch of salary back (e.g. Kopitar). We’re going to give up POS or Frolov? And what else? I think it’s a huge mistake to trade either one of those guys for Heatley, unless it’s straight up, and that’s not going to happen. POS, Teubert and a 1st for Heatley? Uh, I think no. I think it’s only happening if it’s Stoll and a 1st or something. Maybe Stoll, Calder, Preissing and a 1st. Like anybody would make that trade on OTT’s side.
    (3) It’s not “just” cap space. The Kings have the cap space now, but we’re going to have to sign people in the future and having Heatley and Hossa or whoever sucking up 15 million a year of cap space is not going to work. We would instantly be at the top of the cap, which is not somewhere I think DL wants to be.

    I still think there’s a high likelihood of ONE big deal going down in the next month. A Heatley-ish kind of deal. Stoll, Ersberg, Preissing and a conditional 2nd round (up to 1st if we get out of the first round of the playoffs this year) for Heatley. There. That’s my best offer. Thoughts?

    Still, don’t change your name.

  • Anonymous

    Quisp, I hear ya, regarding cap large hits against the cap with only a couple of guys. Two things to look at with regards to that isssue, though:
    1) DL could do a “Zetterberg” type deal with a guy in Heatley’s age range, but I wouldn’t with Hossa, busting the 30 age mark
    2) Both Heatley and Hossa, or even just one of them, could contribute as much in 1-2 seasons as much as 2-3 or more of the guys you mentioned in several or more years time(just from the scoring perspective, not overall). I.e Heatley being a 2-time 50 goal scorer, etc.

    As others have mentioned, including Rich, we have plenty of energy guys, so I think we could part with 1-2 of them, plus as you mentioned Stoll, a pick and prospect. We’d have to give them a defensive prospect for sure. From what I’ve gathered and heard so far, Ottawa is in need of a puck moving d-man.
    So, what do you think..

    To the Kings: Heatley

    To the Sens: Stoll, Preissing, 2nd round pick
    or
    Stoll, Hickey, 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick

    We’d probably need 1 item from any category to sweeten the deal, essentially making it an overpayment.

    Ottawa would probably want more if we offered the prospect, because Preissing is a proven player(not for the Kings’ system, of course).

  • Ersberg

    Quisp-Ah, wasn’t signed in, the anon post was mine.

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