Here are the fourth set of answers from today. Looks like I still have quite a bit of work to do!
Question: As a goalie myself, I tend to keep a close eye on goaltending and I am greatly encouraged by the fact the Kings have 4+ solid goalies in the pipeline as opposed to when Storr was our great hope and that fizzled out. I am however concerned by Bernier’s performance in the AHL. From seeing his play I was very impressed by his technique, so I can only imagine his troubles have been mental. Do you get any sense from the organization that they’re concerned about Bernier’s development?
Answer: Lombardi often jokes about how he has Ron Hextall and Bill Ranford deal with the goalies because he has no idea what goes on in their heads. It’s a joke, but it’s not too far from the truth either. Goalies, as you probably know, can be notoriously fragile. I have not sensed, at all, any concern about Bernier from Kings management. At the time of Quick’s call-up, Bernier and Quick had numbers that were almost identical. Remember also that in the minor leagues, the defense isn’t quite what it is in the NHL. I haven’t seen Bernier play at all in Manchester this season, so I can’t say if he’s struggling, or if there are defensive issues, or both. But there hasn’t been any concern from the Kings.
Questions: Any chance of geting an interview with DL to see where he thinks the Kings are at this point? Do you see the Kings being buyers or sellers as we near the deadline? I would think we could be a little of both. We have veterans like OD that could be moved to a contending team.
Answers: 1) Yes, definitely. Lombardi has been traveling quite a bit of late, and I’ve had a lot of office responsibilties, but there will definitely be a long sit-down feature in the near future. 2) It could very well be both. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see players with expiring contracts get traded, and it also wouldn’t be surprising to see a big trade that helps in the long term. Again, I would urge people to think less about this season’s playoffs and more about trades that look to the future.
Question: 2 seasons ago when Lombardi was hiring Crawford, why didn’t he stop to think about hiring a coach who has been known for
teaching, like Terry Murray? I find it very surprising that Lombardi didn’t even think about hiring Murray back then when he has first
hand knowledge that Murray’s style of coaching would haver perfectly suited the Kings.
Answer: That’s more of a statement, or a question for Lombardi, than it is for me. Lombardi spoke extensively, during training camp I believe, about how at one time, he thought the Kings could go with a “hybrid” plan and contend earlier. Looking at the rosters in the last couple years, the Kings weren’t exactly an ultra-young team. Last summer, the Kings went all-in with the youth plan, and Lombardi came to the realization that he needed a coach who was better suited to coaching young players.
Question: What is Steve McKenna doing nowadays?
Answer: An answer from Ian:
Perhaps I can help with this one, last I heard he was living in Adelaide South Australia skating in the national league there. Was there more for the lifestyle and experience of it than anything career wise, aussie-land isn’t exactly a hotbed of ice hockey talent!
Actually I just looked it up, he’s still there coaching the National team..
Question: What will Kyle Calder fetch us at the trade deadline? What other expiring contracts can you see us trading so we can acquire some assets?
Answer: Any player with an expiring contract has the potential to be traded, but unless they’re packaged as part of bigger deals, you shouldn’t count on anything more than mid-to-late-round draft picks.
Question: Do you have to be diplomatic, or can you admit that the second half road-heavy schedule is going to make it impossible for the Kings to do much more than sink to the bottom in the West?
Answer: If you take out the word “impossible” and replace it with “very difficult,” I’m with you 100 percent. It’s not impossible, not when the team is six points out of a playoff spot. “Impossible” is the Islanders making the playoffs. But it’s certainly not something I’d bet on.
Questions: 1. out of all the names being bandied around as possible acquisitions, who would be the one that the kings would likely be most interested in? 2. who are the best of friends on the kings? are there two or three players that are inseparable off the ice? 3. we always hear about how the great announcers who cover the kings sometimes participate (maybe some more than others) in a variety of team activities. How much of an ‘ear’ does bob, jim, nick and darryl have w/ d.l.? 4. d.l. seems to be very approachable for you and the other media members. is he much different than dave taylor when it comes to accessibility? how does dean prepared same/diff. than previous gm’s? 5. it seems like you do a lot of travel. with the paper being in the valley and the individual kings mostly further south via 405, i hope you have a prius or something fuel efficient?!?! w/out getting too personal, have you had to adjust yr living situation accordingly?
Answers: 1) Any of the top-level centers and wingers. They will look at any who can help. There’s no priority list, necessarily. The first question I’d ask is, is Kovalchuk available? Then you go from there. 2) O’Sullivan and Quincey are probably the closest friends on the team, because they go back to juniors together. Brown and Kopitar are also good friends, and O’Sullivan is in that group as well. 3) Lombardi does so much traveling, and is so involved with all aspects of the organization, that he doesn’t do a whole lot of “hanging out.” I personally don’t know about the relationship between Lombardi and the announcers, but I don’t know of any particular closeness. 4) That’s a good question. I can’t remember a time when Dave Taylor didn’t return a call. He was always available and pleasant to talk to. I’d say that Lombardi is more open and willing to share things than Taylor was. You’ve seen some fairly wild quotes from Lombardi (such as his stuff in Sports Illustrated about Sean Avery) that you would never have seen from Taylor. 6) You have no idea. I’d really like to buy a helicopter.
Question: I seems to remember that when Ersberg was first called up last year, you asked him the difference between AHL and the NHL, and why he was having success in the NHL, even though his AHL numbers were not that good. I believe Ersberg’s answer was that the NHL shooters were more disciplined, where as in the AHL, shots would come from all over the place. Can you post the same question to Quick?
Answer: Sure. I thought it was an interesting point by Ersberg, one I hadn’t really heard before. Ersberg also made the point that is was easier for him because his own defenders were better, and he had a better idea of where they were going to be at all times.