Tonight’s Kings `teleconference’

The Kings tonight held a 90-minute “teleconference” in which season-ticket holders were allowed to call in and ask questions of Dean Lombardi, Terry Murray, Luc Robitaille, Ron Hextall, Chris McGowan and Jeff Solomon. According to Nick Nickson, who moderated the event, more than 1,300 people called in, and the Kings allowed me to be one of them. There were some technical issues that made it a bit difficult to hear at times, and I wasn’t attempting to get a full transcript anyway, but I’ll give a rundown of each of the questions and answers.

Here it goes…

– First question was about why the Kings didn’t acquire a “big-name left wing” at the trade deadline. Lombardi said a number of players fit that description, but none of them were available at the deadline. He said they made a serious run at one player but that none of those type of players ended up getting moved. “It just wasn’t there,” Lombardi said. “You don’t want to end up bidding against yourself and paying too much.”

– Next question was about the Kings’ greatest need for next season. Lombardi talked about 5-on-5 scoring needing to improve. He talked about the young “back end” (defensemen and goalies) and how that needs to continue to develop, but stressed the need for 5-on-5 scoring and for players with greater size. How do accomplish that? Lombardi downplayed the idea of the draft bringing immediate help but said he now has “the cards to trade for that player. … We can even talk about trading our first-round pick if it’s (for) the right player. We couldn’t talk about that in years before.” As far as free agency, Lombardi talked about not “carpet-bombing” for free agents, the way he has in the past, and focusing on the correct fit. “Hopefully this cap will kick in and give us an advantage,” Lombardi said.

Murray also addressed the offense, and said that the emphasis this season has been to strengthen the defense, “and we saw a dramatic improvement in that. When you push that every day and your focus is on that part of the game, there’s clearly a change in focus on the part of the offensive-minded guys, because they want this to be a team that improves quickly. … I guess I’ll take responsibility for the lack of offense early in the year. Now we’re starting to see more creativity and more ability to generate shots. … It’s important that the players grab a hold of the concept of the whole game. The offense will come. It will be there for us, as long as we keep the structure of the defensive part of the game. The other side will come and the chemistry will build.”

– The next question was about how to improve the schedule. Lombardi talked about how the Kings’ decision to move all of their business-side people to El Segundo will help, because they will be able to “fight for” the Kings in terms of securing better dates at Staples Center. He talked about being on the road with the team and seeing first-hand how difficult the schedule is, “and I don’t have to play,” he said. Lombardi praised the players and coaches for never complaining and said that Robitaille and Solomon are working toward getting a more favorable schedule next season.

Robitaille also addressed the schedule and said he didn’t like it and also didn’t like the number of Monday night home games the Kings had. Of the schedule, Robitaille said “the building has been working with us to make sure it won’t happen again.”

– The next question was about the trade of Patrick O’Sullivan and whether it was “the end of the playoff hopes.” Lombardi said that wasn’t the intention and said he saw an opportunity to get a proven 30-goal scorer. He said it wasn’t just about getting a 30-goal scorer, but about getting a guy who had done it on a good team. He talked about the importance of getting guys who had been in the Stanley Cup Finals and about getting a guy such as Williams who is still relatively young and fits with the long-term plans. “The hockey people agreed, even on the other side, that we were getting the best player,” Lombardi said. “We thought we could hold the fort with Oscar Moller until Williams got healthy. The idea of getting a player who was a proven winner and could fit in with our play, we felt we had to make the move.”

– The next question was about incentives for those fans who buy 22-game packages. McGowan said the Kings would consider things such as price reductions and different payment plans.

– The next question was about why the Kings didn’t sign Brendan Shanahan or Mats Sundin. Hextall said the Kings talked about both players but that both players had made it clear that they wanted to play for Stanley Cup contenders. He also talked about not wanting to take ice time away from young players. Lombardi added, “Let’s be honest. If you get a player of that age, they are clearly toward the end. They are picking contenders and, quite frankly, we weren’t there yet. … The other thing is, we have to start establishing an identity with players who come from within our organization.”

– The next question was about Murray’s process for selecting participants in the shootout. Murray joked that he puts “names in a hat and I pick them out.” Murray talked about how he and his assistant coaches discuss which players have played well in the game and what they have shown in the offensive zone. He said that during the season, they gravitate toward players who have had success. He singled out Jack Johnson as a player who has had particular success in the second spot. Murray said he can choose from between 10 to 12 players every time but “nobody has really grabbed the ball and taken off on the goal-scoring side of it. We’re looking at young players who are playing in the National Hockey League for the first time and giving them a chance to show what they can do in those situations.”

– The next question was about what Murray thought went wrong for the Kings in their playoff pursuit. He said the team had exceeded his expectations, even though he wanted to make the playoffs this season. He talked about the growth in the locker room, in terms of the players enjoying hanging out with each other and going to dinner, etc. Murray theorized that the Kings didn’t respond as well to the post-All-Star break style of hockey, which features tighter checking and tighter defense. “Me, as a coach talking about in a team meeting, it means something but you have to go through it as a player,” Murray said. He talked about how the team initially “climbed a mountain,” then “hit a valley” and now has started to climb again. He talked about the importance of playing well in these late-season games in order to start taking momentum into next season’s training camp.

– The next question was about Ron Hextall’s work with the young goalies. Hextall said that Bill Ranford spends time with all the young goalies and that Hextall tries to help out on the mental side. Hextall said, “For example, Bernier has never been challenged. When he had a bad game, he went right back in. It’s been different for him this year. He had to fight for ice time. He’s going through a process that he’s never been through before, and when he gets through it, he’s going to be a much better player.” Hextall talked about the young players in Manchester and singled out Voinov, Martinez, Drewiske, Campbell, Piskula, Bernier, Westgarth, Lewis, Clune, Parse, Meckler and Cliche. “Overall, I’m happy with where the club is,” Hextall said, “but I’d really like to make a push for the playoffs.”

– The next question was for Lombardi, about whether he feels the Kings are ahead of schedule or behind schedule. “Quite frankly, I think we’re ahead of schedule,” Lombardi said. “I didn’t anticipate being this young this quickly. When I came here, I talked about the dearth of young players on the back end. We not only addressed that, but they’re already playing. When you look at our defense two years ago, we had Blake, Norstrom, Miller, Sopel and Modry. That would have been a great defense 10 years ago, but obviously it didn’t have a lot of upside. That was a problem. Within 24 months, we got Doughty, Greene, Quincey, Johnson and Drewiske here. That’s a radical change and that’s a lot quicker than I anticipated being able to do it, with (young players). … With goatending, my experience (with the Sharks) is that it takes a minimum of two years in the minors. When we went with Quick, I had my fingers crossed. … This team went young quick and became a better team. It has upside and hope. The team the last couple years didn’t have a lot of hope. They were as good as they were going to be.” Lombardi again talked about being pleased with the chemistry and with the surprisingly strong play of Moller and Simmonds.

– The next question was more of a complaint, about fans who sneak into different sections and stand at inappropriate times. McGowan and Robitaille urged fans to let them know about issues they can discuss with arena officials.

– The next question was about whether the Williams trade “signified that the rebuilding was over” and asked about Jack Johnson’s contract status. Lombardi stressed that he had not shifted focus and that, at age 27, Williams is “arguably still not in his prime. So now, that’s not the end of the building process … but we are starting to fine-tune what we’re looking for.” Solomon talked about Johnson’s contract and compared it to the questions he got last summer about O’Sullivan. Solomon talked about the need to not only get a contract done, but have it fit within the salary structure of the entire team. “We consider Jack Johnson to be a part of our core group, but he has to fit in the overall picture.” Solomon explained that contract talks started last summer but stalled, in part, because Johnson changed agents. “It’s an ongoing process and we have had discussions,” Solomon said, and added that Johnson’s injury this season “did play a part in putting the discussions on hold.”

– The next question was about whether to keep Quick and Ersberg together or trade Ersberg. Hextall talked about how it’s ideal for a young goalie to spend two seasons in the minors but said “Quick has come up and started to make everyone think he might be our guy. Erik has done a good job as well. A couple years ago, we were in a situation with Brust and Fukufuji. Compared to that, I feel very good with where we are. We can let our goalies develop the way they should, rather than fast-track a guy, the way we sort of did with Quick. … It worked out but, again, we don’t like taking those risks. If Jon Bernier proves he can be a NHL goalie, we will bring him up. Quite honestly, to this point he hasn’t proved that he’s a NHL goalie. … We’re happy with where Jon is, but in a perfect world we would start with Quick and Ersberg next year. But we all know those things can change in a hurry.”

– The next question was about the Kings’ propensity toward “backhand passes without any smoke…that teams seem to anticipate.” Murray pointed out that the Kings rank high in statistics such as turnovers and giveways, and talked about the basic need to get the puck to the net more. He pointed out that Dustin Brown leads the Kings with 278 shots on goal, while Alexander Ovechkin leads the NHL with 482 shots. “Putting the puck to the net is never a wrong decision,” Murray said.

– The next question was about Alexander Frolov and if the Kings are likely to re-sign him. Solomon said, “If you look at how thin the unrestricted free-agent market is for scoring wingers, that in and of itself would tell you that it’s something we have to look at very closely and talk to Fro and his agent about coming back.” Solomon talked about the salary cap and how the Kings should be in good position if, as expected, the cap drops in the next two years. Solomon said, “When we look at a contract for one guy, we have to look at all 23 guys.” Solomon also pointed out that the Kings cannot start talking to Frolov about an extension until July 1.

– The next question was actually about a half-dozen questions for Luc Robitaille, who responded by saying that he doesn’t “miss getting out of bed, but you always miss playing,” and singled out Doughty, Quick and Simmonds as three rookies who have impressed him this season.

– The next question was about the Kings’ plans for summer player development. Murray talked about how the summer is an important time for young players to develop more strength, particularly in the core areas (abdominals, back, quads, hips, etc.) He said the Kings’ strength and conditioning coaches will spend a lot of time with programs for young players this summer.

– The next question was about adding a goalie from outside the organization. Hextall said, “I don’t see us bringing anybody in. There is enough upside for us to continue with the young players. The one thing with Jon QUick is, he didn’t have a veteran guy behind him. I’m not sure I can emphasize the pressure that puts on a young player. It’s something we felt like we had to do, because we were out of options when we traded LaBarbera. The way Jon responded to that said something about his character and the poise he has. … That’s one sign that he has passed the test and has the potential to be a very good NHL No. 1 goaltender. This doesn’t mean he is proven and comes in next year and plays 65 games. He’s got to come in next year and essentially prove what he did this year. He has the inside track but I don’t think (Murray) would say he’s the No. 1 guy under any circumstances.”

– The next question was about the Kings’ perceived tendency to play a “prevent defense” with the lead near the end of games. Murray refuted the idea but noting that the Kings’ record when leading after two periods “is pretty impressive. It’s not like we’re sitting back and preventing. That has never been something that our coaching staff has ever talked about. In fact, we push it the other way. `Let’s stay on the forecheck.’ We feel the best defense is the one that pressures in the offensive zone with the forecheck.” Murray went in-depth about why the Kings deep a forward high, and why it helps them with their checking philosophy and also with their ability to break the puck out of their own end. Murray said, “We always want to be an aggressive, on-the-move team. We want to be cycling, we want to stay on the hunt and we want to put pucks to the net and build on the lead. Sometimes, as you go through games, there is a step back in the understanding of a young hockey team, but overall I’ve been proud of the way we’ve been able to shut teams down. Our goals-against numbers, broken down period-by-period, are almost identical.”

With that, the Kings wrapped up the call…

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  • cristobal

    ” The other thing is, we have to start establishing an identity with players who come from within our organization.”

    How does Lombardi say these things with a straight face?
    He’s not only incompetent, he’s lying through his teeth. Again!

    It’s quite obvious to me that this group feels LA fans have no hockey I.Q..

  • Chris Bond

    Great work Rich….Not all the answer I wanted to hear but we will see. I so hope Fro dont go.

  • Ciccarelli

    Great summary Rich. Good result in the standings for us with Phoenix beating Dallas in ot.

  • khanon81

    “It’s quite obvious to me that this group feels LA fans have no hockey I.Q..”

    Duh! LA fans get a ZERO for hockey I.Q. Bring in some big, physical North American hockey players PLEASE! I’m sick of watching the Kings year in and year out get pushed around. I really hope the Kings will turn into the Flyers of the West

  • SirJW

    Thanks.

  • variable

    rich…

    wow…you always come through for us…even if you weren’t writing for the daily news and about the kings, i would imagine you would be just as dedicated to the subject matter/news story you were assigned to…

    i’m extremely impressed and indebted to yr unyielding and tireless coverage…

    if i ever get a chance to meet you, the drinks…alcohol or non, yr choice, are on me…!

    well…good stuff all-around…encouraging frolov news (?)….i don’t know anymore…and quite frankly, all the prognosticating i’ve and others have done has become internet dust…like i said previously on an another post, flip a coin…

    glad to hear that luc is on top of the scheduling dilemma…

    not much news in the sense of a revelation (no fault of yr own, rich)…but not much was said that i would call ‘surprising’…

    everybody seemed to hold their cards close to their vests…and i don’t blame them too much…especially when a team is in the midst of becoming a future contender…

    draft day will be a pivotal point in both management’s ability to continue with its game plan and team composition…

    counting the days to reckoning…!

  • Johnny Utah

    Thanks as always Rich

  • -J

    Thanks for the info Rich. It’s nice to have you back.
    I have a question for you- do you have any idea if Moller is eligible to go down to Manchester now that Seattle is out?

    Regarding the comments changes, good idea with cutting out the anonymous posts, but can we also do away with or put a tight leash on these posts/posters that have nothing much constructive to add and rather choose to sling insults towards other posters, fans, DL, TM, players, or whoever- you know posts that say thing likes “How does Lombardi say these things with a straight face? He’s not only incompetent, he’s lying through his teeth. Again!” and “Duh! LA fans get a ZERO for hockey I.Q.” Just a thought, one i’m sure most other readers/posters on here share with me.

  • Chris Bond

    I am not a fan of people trash talking about the team, other posters, and so on. With that said it is a blog and it is a way for people to voice there opinon if you all crack down to much I might as well just read the hockey news….I like that you have to log in now to post and Rich can toast people when they get out of line. But we are now in a day and age where you can have endless emails address’s free….So I dont know the point. I hope it all works out because I am hooked on this site.

  • variable

    J….

    in the spirit of civic relations…don’t know if you noticed, but i thanked you for correcting me on kopi’s age…

    once again…thanx…

  • 28 KINGS

    ” The other thing is, we have to start establishing an identity with players who come from within our organization.”

    Cris…is this statement really that hard to understand?

  • Ersberg

    “– The next question was about adding a goalie from outside the organization. Hextall said, “I don’t see us bringing anybody in.”

    I think that’s a great move(or non-move) on the part of management. Quick has definitely shown he is capable of leading us in the goalie department, but he’ll have to do it again in the offseason.

    “– The next question was about the Kings’ perceived tendency to play a “prevent defense” with the lead near the end of games. Murray refuted the idea but noting that the Kings’ record when leading after two periods “is pretty impressive. It’s not like we’re sitting back and preventing.”

    I’d have to disagree with Murph, here. The Kings are notorious for doing just that. It’s not 100% his fault, though. The Kings historically have played the “escort service” defense when they get a lead. This is something he still needs to work on.

    I see people are still at it with each other. I guess people don’t take Rich seriously when he said he’ll start banning people. You don’t always have to learn the hard way.

  • Bring Back the Shield Jersey

    TM: Its PRETTY IMPRESSIVE how well Kings hold leads. Pure fantasyland here. Kings have 24th worst record when leading after 2 periods. Sorry, but TM just keeps giving me reasons not to like him.

    Here’s another one, but a bit more complicated: When leading after 1 period Kings’ winning % is .833; impressive and #4 league-wide. After 2 periods it’s .808, 24th. What’s interesting is that the Kings are one of only two teams whose winning percentage drops from when leading after 1 period to when leading after 2 periods. Which tells you that the Kings have a tendency to give up the lead in the 2nd period and then lose the game in the third or OT/shootout (11 OT losses!). The conclusion to be drawn is that as soon as the Kings get the lead, they go into their “prevent defense”, they don’t wait until the 3rd. (all stats from nhl.com)

    Also, things don’t look promising for Moller. Can’t get into the line-up now even though he hasn’t majorly screwed up. And with DL saying how he thought we could “hold the fort with Moller” (itself an indicator that Moller is a temporary feature) and also saying the Kings need to get bigger up front…Well let’s just say you should hold off buying that #9 jersey.

  • -J

    Hey variable- no need to to thank me, i just thought i’d point that out. He’s been with Kings already so long, it seems, that it’s kind of hard to see him as just 21.

    Chris- i agree that there shouldn’t be too much censorship, and i’m sure Rich doesn’t want to police the blog. That said, there are better ways to express one’s opinion than through insulting others. For example, contrast the two first two posts i referenced with Ersberg’s and BBTSJ’s posts.

  • http://kwisp.wordpress.com Quisp

    Bring Back the Shield Jersey, re Moller:

    I am buying my #9 jersey. I think you can interpret the quotes in the other direction as well. Moller is a kid. They know he’s going to grow into his body. And part of being bigger up front is playing bigger. Moller already plays bigger than most. If DL wasn’t willing to part with OM a year ago — before he surprised everyone including DL and made the team out of camp last fall — he’s certainly not going to part with him now.

  • src3

    Quisp are you out there????

    In regards to your great, previous post regarding salary cap etc……….With your cap numbers, JJ resigned at 2.5 and Hickey on or off the roster. We have no money for a UFA if Frolov gets renewed after July 1. We all agree that Fro gets min 4.5-5.o/yr. With your previous figures, that leaves us over 52 mil without a UFA-correct???

    This looks like the writing on the wall for Fro. Not to mention Quincey will need a new contract.

    IMO…..Both Fro and JJ are posibly gone. Q man gets the 4-5 year contract at 2-2.5 and we go after Hossa, Gabby or trade JJ and Fro for heatley.

    Your thoughts……

  • ibleedkings

    Thanks for the transcript Rich!

  • AK47

    SRC3,

    if I’m not mistaken, you forgot to mention how Calder, Armstrong and Gauthier won’t be re-signed, resulting in more cap space. Or their contracts won’t relate to cap hits because it’s expiring?

  • nykingfan

    I was impressed with reading what DL/TM/Hexy had to say about the team.
    I agree that this team is ahead of schedule on where we all thought they would be.
    We’re still not eliminated and its 3/31. Realistic expetations coming into this season have been met and exceeded in my opinion.
    We had gone through a tough stretch but the team continues to play hard. Only good things can come from the experience a lot of these guys are going thru now.
    The defense should be even better next season with the added year of experience….same with a lot of the young forwards.
    Also the experience that Quick has gotten this year is invaluable.
    The off season is huge but I forsee great things for the Kings starting next year.

  • src3

    AK-

    Kopi and Greeners contracts kick in as well. That eats up calder armstrong, Gautier etc.

  • src3

    ps hope Ottawa is more exicited than Norway at this time of the year!!!

  • Palfan

    Thanks for the transcript Rich. I hung up on this after 20 minutes because I found the set-up so irritating. As a season ticket holder I think we deserve a face to face meeting like we’ve had in the past instead of some cheesy phone conference. If the Kings are worried about the expense, I don’t care about the free food, but I think we do deserve the courtesy of having Lombardi address us in person.

  • wavesinair

    It seems that the general consensus from fans and management alike is we are ahead of schedule for this round of Kings rebuilding and that we have the foundation in place for many good seasons to come.

    With that being said, I’m curious to know if anyone out there thinks that NOT making the playoffs next year will be anything less than a complete failure for the Lombardi administration.

    In other words, is it do or die next season or not?

  • mrbrett7

    Rich, thank you so much for the transcript. I forgot about the conference call, and was dissapionted I didn’t get to at least listen in.

    Waves…in my opinion, yes, if they don’t make the playoffs next season, it is a failure.

    Palphan…even though I agree with you, I think I would rather the management team be working rather than meeting with the fans. Their job isn’t to meet with the fans, it’s to put together a potential winning team on the ice. Personally, I don’t care if we/I ever hear a peep from them, so long as the process of growing this team continues forward. However, it is nice to hear from them, and the format, from all accounts, was terrible.

  • AK47

    SRC3..

    it is also possible that we sign Gaborik to a contract without yet re-signing Frolov. If we don’t sign a big name UFA (Gaborik, Hossa, Havlat), I can see DL pulling a deal for Kovalchuk and including Frolov, Handzus and a number 1 pick (Jared Cowen perhaps).. Adding Jack Johnson to that package becomes way too much for only Kovalchuk, IMO.

  • tantrum4

    src3 –

    as per http://www.hockeybuzz.com/cap-central/team.php?team=LA our cap hit is sitting at just over $41 million next year when you add in Ersberg and O’Donnell’s contracts. Fro’s next contract wouldn’t kick in until the year after next so all we have to worry about is signing JJ and if they think he deserves it, Boyle. So we add those two in at let’s say $3.5 combined and we are now left with about $5.5 million if the cap goes down to $49 million. With the way contracts can be front loaded or end loaded, putting guys on waivers or making trades, we should be ok to re-sign Frolov AND pick up a big name forward. I think we should just leave the cap math to the experts because it just seems to get everyone all worried whenever fans try to do add it up. Remember last year when everyone thought we weren’t going to be able to ice a team because we weren’t at the cap floor and no one knew how we could do it without signing someone for $5 million? That’s what happens when we try to calculate the cap, and it’s also why teams had to hire capologists to figure it all out…I know I can’t!

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Guys–many of the assumptions about trading Frolov/JJ are linked to the presumption that the cap is coming down.

    I would argue that the cap will stay the same, not come down. My reasoning is that the economy-while not bullish yet-is beginning to show a bottom… AND, in watching what the cap did to the Ducks and is about to do to Pittsburgh and Detroit and Washington, the NHL does not want its best teams to explode.

    Quisp–what happens to your calculations if the cap remains unchanged?

  • Bring Back the Shield Jersey

    The only way DL and TM get a pass if the Kings don’t make the playoffs next year is if there are long-term injuries to key players. (Knocks on wood.)

  • Big A

    Rich / anyone else that was at the conference call -

    Longshot but did anybody ask DL about Tyler Bozak? Sounds like he and Don Meehan (agent) are mulling things over and preparing a shortlist of teams this week.

    tantrum –

    I agree with you. Quisp previously did a great job of breaking down the cap situation… and it “is what it is” agggh… did I really write that? Things never unfold exactly the way fantasy players and fans anticipate months in advance.

    Sounds like the cap isn’t going to move much this year, though next year the loss in revenues is going to be felt and the cap will reflect that.

  • nykingfan

    Waves

    my initial thought would be not making the playoffs next year would be considered a failure, but there are a lot of variables that can go into determining where we finish.
    Injuries obviously will play a huge part. We’ve been pretty healthy for the most part this season.
    Other than JJ, who did we lose for a long period of time..until Stoll? We’ve had a bunch of guys who haven’t missed a game all year. that’s pretty rare in the NHL these days.
    But all things being equal, I think this team will make the playoffs and if not…yeah, I’ll be really disappointed.
    I won’t go as far as to say that DL’s job would be in jeopardy. He’s laid the foundation and is now building on that foundation.

  • OneTimer

    “nykingfan: The off season is huge but I forsee great things for the Kings starting next year.”

    In a sentence- that still pretty much sums it up for me.

    End of story.

  • src3

    tantrum,

    I hear ya, and thanks for the respons. Have read the link figures. My thought on Fro goes a little deeper………for the sake of arguement, if we add a Gabby for 6+/yr and he pans out….Fro will get 35+ goals (should) next year. That makes his resign after 2010 at 6+ mil insted of maybe 5 mil over 3 years if we sign him to an extention in the summer. If we wait on Fro and he wants 6 mil we are up a “cap” creek without a paddle and no mulla for Q man on the back end.

    I dont have a problem with JJ at 2-3mil/year over 3 years, but have a problem with not re upping Quincey or having the funds to do so. Gabby at 6 mil and resigning of Fro makes the Quincey signing improbable.

    Hens the play of Drewiske is rather impressing. Jumping in at the right times and fairly damn safe on the back end. Therefore, I could very easily see JJ/Fro and maybe purcell getting packaged to OTT for Heatley. Heatley is locked at 7.5 for 5 more years. This increases our cap only 2.5 mil. Ott needs to shed some cap space badly and needs more secondary scoring, hence purcell or unfortunately Moller.

    Your thoughts……

    Your thoughts…….

  • AK47

    If we don’t make the playoffs next year, it is a FOR SURE failure. Dean Lombardi has done an excellent job in the drafting department, and somewhat in the trading department. There’s 2 things he hasn’t done correctly since he came to LA, signing a big name UFA and more or less, negotiating some key players contract extensions (O’Sullivan, Frolov, Johnson). I know he signed Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar to big term contracts…

    Jack Johnson needs to be re-signed as soon as the season is done, this way he won’t pull a Patty O’Sullivan and hold out on the contract. Someone mentioned on an earlier post “what if Edmonton signs Jack Johnson to a offer sheet of about 5 million a year, DL won’t match that..”

    What do you guys think Dean does if another team signs JMFJ to a huge offer sheet? Does he match it or not?

  • src3

    Sorry AK we take the compensation and dont match. Quincey is more than capable with hpoefully Hickey panning out, not to mention Drewiske and gang.

  • mrbrett7

    AK…if a team signs JJ to a huge offer sheet, he would be out of his mind to match it.

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Bring Back the Shield Jersey said:

    Here’s another one, but a bit more complicated: When leading after 1 period Kings’ winning % is .833; impressive and #4 league-wide. After 2 periods it’s .808, 24th. What’s interesting is that the Kings are one of only two teams whose winning percentage drops from when leading after 1 period to when leading after 2 periods. Which tells you that the Kings have a tendency to give up the lead in the 2nd period and then lose the game in the third or OT/shootout (11 OT losses!). The conclusion to be drawn is that as soon as the Kings get the lead, they go into their “prevent defense”, they don’t wait until the 3rd. (all stats from nhl.com)

    I disagree. Due to the fact the Kings rank LAST in 5-on-5 goals, no matter what the circumstance in any particular game the Kings will look as though they are in a shell. The team simply isnt dangerous enough to change their opponents game plan when the Kings lead. Usually a team behind will change to an increasingly desperate plan (i.e., more forechecking, sending in a defenseman), giving the team ahead more opportunities to counterattack and score. Leads often get bigger, more often than getting smaller, especially with good teams. This simply isnt happening with the Kings, because the other team can assume things likely wont get worse as long as they stick to their game plan. The Kings simply cant score without help from a breakaway, odd-man rush or power play.

    The solution is simple: become a more dangerous team. The Kings need a top thirty scorerbetter still, a top ten scorersomeone who will make everyone else more dangerous due to his dominant scoring talent. It really pains me that the Kings don’t have at least one scorer in the top thirty! With this top talent, the guts of this team will be able to hold a lead, and better, EXPAND the lead!

  • variable

    i think kevin lowe has learned his lesson…?….with the offer sheets…if the dustin penner deal was any indication that it’s a huge risk…penner has been a complete bust up in edmonton…

    plus…if you add all the negative flack that lowe received from other gm’s in the league, i doubt he tries something like that…or anyone else for that matter…again…

    i think the lateral move is more likely in most/all upcoming trades…i think gm’s will be most interested in trading salaries and making sure that they are as close to even as possible…

    that weird trade involving tampa bay and toronto at the deadline was a perfect example of two teams moving luggage to free up cap/roster space…expect deals like that with more important pieces involved in the future…

  • tantrum4

    scr3 –

    I hear what you’re saying, but you have to remember 2 years from now is a loooong way away in terms of what can happen on a hockey team. After next year, Ivanas, Richardson, Ersberg and O’Donnell’s contracts are done, and Cloutiers buyout comes off the books as well, saving us over $4 million combined. Will they re-sign all those guys? I doubt it. Maybe O’Donnell but by then Bernier should be ready to take Ersbergs spot. Will Frolov score 35 next year and get a $6 million contract offer? Maybe. Will he get hurt and miss 30 games? Maybe. We just don’t know. It’s too hard to speculate all the “what if’s” in hockey.

    As for Heatley, again, who knows. It would be a nice addition but does Ottawa want to move him? Alfreddson is older so why not hang on to Heatley and Spezza and get rid of Alfie? Who knows, maybe we make a trade for Zach Parise…or maybe we get nothing. I like to just sit back and let things unfold the way they do. It gets too frustrating thinking up all these great scenarios, only to have none of them actually pan out…..that’s why when we made a trade for Williams, I was delightfully suprised, and not upset that we didn’t get Kovalchuk…..

  • variable

    bako…

    yeah…i think i agree with you that the problem is more a 5-5 issue….

    bring back the shield’s point is not bad and referencing the stats does show a propensity for this current team to collapse more often than not…

    but the bigger issue is 5-5 structure and missed assignments in the transition…

    i do think when a coach constantly juggles lines as much as t.m. does, a team is going to struggle more often than not…i know most of the juggling is based upon generating more team offense, but being familiar with yr line mates tendencies and practicing them in game-time situations helps procure 5-5 leads and better game play…

    the theory that all the players should be able to play with one another sounds good and might be more applicable with teams like detroit or san jose…but not with a team that is looking for structure inside a new system…

    besides t.m.’s handling of fro, this would be my second top issue with his coaching style…

    i do think because of t.m.’s lack of knowledge (something he has previously admitted to) about the kings and most of their players before he took the job has led to his constant search of line combinations…

  • Dom

    variable- Penner has not been a complete bust. But I would agree with you that he is not worth what they’re paying him right now… Nagy was a complete bust. Penner is better and much younger.

    AK – not making the Play-offs would be disappointing next year, for sure. Would it be reason enough to fire DL? I don’t think so.
    Why didn’t DL bring in top UFA’s in?? Because it (still) is a rebuilding team. Let’s see where the team stands, give them time to develop and see who’s the future and who isn’t. Bringing in a big name UFA early is a complete waste of money as the Fans expectations are running high and the boos get loud should you miss the postseason. It also ties up the money you would need to sign or re-sign the Players you want to build the team with. UFA’s are the right choice this or next year but it would’ve been too early until now…
    DL has so far proven (to me) that he knows how to draft (Doughty over Stamkos) and how to make moves (I actually like the Williams deal). Let’s just hope he’ll get us what we NEED and not just any big name to please the Fans.
    Personally, I would pass on Hossa and Gaborik but would love to see Kovalchuk or Heatley. Or even go after Comrie (much cheaper).

  • variable

    dom…

    not to go back and forth on this, but i would think that when lowe executed his offer sheet, he was going to get a burgeoning superstar that was going to build on his 29 goals/45pt. season with anaheim…he had a slight 2pt. increase the following year and this season, he’s might not even get 40pts. and currently only has 5 power play goals as compared to 13 last year…

    he’s heading in the wrong direction statistically and has been a healthy scratch several times…i seriously doubt that lowe gave him 5yrs for $21.25mil to him for this type of production…maybe bust is a bit strong of a word…he’s got a few seasons left still…but it’s not looking like a smart move by lowe…he’s like p.o.s. (another current oiler) that they both are not going/driving to the net often enough…watching p.o.s. in edmonton looks like a carbon copy of why he was traded in the first place….

  • http://kwisp.wordpress.com Quisp

    src3 (and everyone else) re cap figures:

    I can’t remember where we talked about all the cap numbers for next season. But I summarized my thinking and adding here: http://kwisp.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/kings-cap-issues/

    Frolov is not a UFA until summer of 2010, so his contract is not an issue for this summer or next season’s numbers.

    My numbers assume Calder, Gauthier, Preissing (buy-out) and Armstrong will not return. They also assume that Purcell and Johnson are re-signed at reasonable rates. I lay it all out in some detail in the above-linked paragraphs.

    The salary cap is believed to be staying the same or possibly going up a teeny bit next season; and believed to be coming DOWN the following season. Nobody knows really by how much. Some have said perhaps as low as $52MM.

    Someone in these comments said the number crunching is best left to the experts, not the fans. This is wrong. First of all, the experts don’t report cap figures regularly if at all. Second, it’s not rocket science. It’s addition. Also, you have to know what the rules are.

    Cap figures (cap hits for contracts) are known. How many players there will be is known (hint: 24). How to add is known. What the cap is for this season is known. The variables are only (1) how much the cap will increase or decrease next season [conventional wisdom: it will stay the same or increase a tiny amount], (2) the bonuses, which are generally approximations, though there are known limits per the CBA, (3) how much unsigned player x will sign for, (4) what internal cap ownership puts on a team.

    There is no secret algorithm. It’s a reasonably transparent process. The Kings cap figure without signing a big UFA WILL BE between $48-50MM. The absolute lowest figure (no hickey, no UFAs, lots of prospects) is around $47MM.

  • Mickey Keenab

    One thing that must be taken into consideration… if the cap goes down, so will payroll… In teh case of Fro, if the cap goes down $5 this year, then he will not be commanding the same type of money… My guess is that we will say a decline in the cap the next 2 years or more, which means, Fro at $4 million a season is still a good number for him. So many teams are going to be cap hit, that they will not be able to offer him 7 million or 6…

    And judging by attendance at Kings game,s the problem in Phoenix, Colorado (half off tickets to almost every game), Tampa, etc… there is no way the cap does not take a big hit this year… and most likely next… The players will see smaller and smaller offers…

  • http://kwisp.wordpress.com Quisp

    clarification: teams don’t commonly report their cap accounting in sum, but the individual cap figures for each individual contract are reported and kept track of, e.g. http://www.nhlnumbers.com.

  • Big A

    Mickey,
    By all accounts revenue has stayed pretty level this year, and so too will the cap. Next year is a different story, as luxury boxes are going to be a much harder sell and so forth. There is no way the cap is going down $5M this year, though the players may end up losing a large chunk of their escrow dollars.

  • http://kwisp.wordpress.com Quisp

    MIckey -

    Yes, absolutely. I’ve been thinking that too. The UFAs for next summer (2010 – Frolov, Nash) are likely to see a diminished market for their services. Maybe that even starts this summer. I look at the cap figures for different teams, e.g. Detroit, and I really don’t see how anyone can afford the big crazy UFA salaries, certainly not without doing lots of juggling. And with everyone enjoying Bryan Burke’s misfortune last September with his cap issues and nobody wanting to help him out, I don’t think any GMs want to put themselves in that position by overpaying. Or making a huge signing and then being over a barrel, having to shed salary with no willing trading partners.

  • http://kwisp.wordpress.com Quisp

    Yes, right, I was referring to a cap ceiling reduction for 2010, not this summer.

  • dirtmover

    As a longtime season ticketholder I would like to be spoken to face to face with the leaders of the club- having said that – Playoffs next yr are the goal – unfortunately the west is going to be a monster going forward – Stl- Phx- Dal- are all going to be better along with the existing playoff squads – we have got to be better in our building – If we were just ok at home we would be a playoff team this YR- goalie wise and D are set for the future plug the kids in on D with SOD as the mentor – one winger is all I’am looking for there are plenty of guys who fit the bill – also would like to see OM play with kopi as his skill set compliments kopi’s with Justin W on the other side- fro-brown-stoll on the 2nd line – mix and match 3 and 4 and there you go-

  • Trant

    AK47 said:
    There’s 2 things he hasn’t done correctly since he came to LA, signing a big name UFA and more or less, negotiating some key players contract extensions (O’Sullivan, Frolov, Johnson).

    I don’t know how you can fault him for not signing Frolov to an extension when they can’t even begin to negotiate with him until July of this year.

  • variable

    bettman has already speculated and confirmed that the cap for 10-11 will be close or slightly lower than it is now…

    all the cap estimations that indicate such a standard are on point…

    quisp and mickey…

    very good call as i too was thinking that we actually will see a lot of teams prepare for the upcoming financial dip this summer or as soon as draft day…

    i truly believe that the activity on and surrounding draft day will be of historic proportions…

  • nykingfan

    Frolov’s value will probably be higher to the rest of the league than it will be to the Kings.
    The Kings have seen all of the warts in his game on a daily basis and will put a value on the complete player.
    Other teams in the league will see the talent and production and might be willing to offer more than he’s really worth.
    Just a thought…the amount of cap space other teams have available will also play a huge part.

  • Mickey Keenab

    Variable…

    I seem to remember McGuire on TSN mentioning the $5 million figure and that players will be giving back something like %30 of the escrow payments. I cannot recall the exact figures, but with so many teams having trouble drawing, season ticket renewals are way down at least in terms of early sign-ups (Being in Denver, we here the Avs are having issues getting people to re-up). And they have a dedicated fan base. We know the troubles of Tampa, Atlanta, Phoenix, even Dallas is having attendance issues. I think Bettman is just trying to keep a good face on… ticket revenues this year will drop big time.. and worse next year… The cap will have to go down…

  • cristobal

    When I came here, I talked about the dearth of young players on the back end. We not only addressed that, but they’re already playing. When you look at our defense two years ago, we had Blake, Norstrom, Miller, Sopel and Modry.

    This is a lie.

    Lombardi brought in Blake and Modry, and Norstrom and Modry never played together under Lumbo.
    -Sopel is going to the playoffs with Chicago.

    He also fails to mention that he let Corvo walk and traded Gleason. I think even Harrold was already signed to Manchester.
    Not to mention, Lubo was what? 27/28?

    This league is built for parity and Lumbo’s program can’t figure that out.

    Lumbo and Murray talk about improvement and we’ve set a franchise record for being shutout.

    They blame Frolov for quitting in the Boston game and they hamstrung the team by trading a healthy player for an unhealthy player when the team was on the cusp of the playoff battle.

    All I hear is lies.
    And, evidence that these people do not know what they are doing.

    I will credit Lombardi with some decent work drafting (he didn’t ‘choose’ Doughty over Stamkos, though).
    Maybe he should be retained as a scout.

    Cheers.

    PS – Tim Lieweke, where are you when we need you? Bring back Dave Taylor.
    Is Pierre Lacroix out there?

    And, Luc, don’t let them do this to your team….
    Do something…

  • variable

    mickey…

    here’s a brief article from globeandmail.com:

    NHL players to cut owners large escrow payback cheque

    DAVID SHOALTS

    “NHL players will almost certainly take a pay cut this season, but they can at least console themselves with a refund cheque this summer thanks to the Players’ Association.Paul Kelly, the executive director of the NHLPA, confirmed yesterday that the union estimates the league’s 700 players will have to give back about 13 per cent of this year’s salaries to the owners because revenues are not expected to match projections made at the beginning of the season. The payments will come out of the escrow money deducted from players’ salaries over the season.”

    and here’s a piece from james mirtle’s “from the rink” page:

    “If at the end of the season that’s the chunk that’s missing on a $56.7-million salary cap, it means teams are actually paying only $49-million in player salaries. A $7-million player like Thomas Vanek will make only $6-million this season, Sidney Crosby’s $8.7-million deal is worth $7.5-million and the league minimum players fall from $475,000 to $411,000.

    No, no one will be crying poor, but that’s the difference we’re talking about, and that’s also likely the ballpark we should be thinking about (a) potential free agent salaries and (b) next year’s cap.

    And escrow could go up even more? Yikes.”