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.