While we were out…

For those who might have missed it, a few things happened last week…

– Jarret Stoll and Alexander Frolov both went down with injuries. Frolov, who has one of those mysterious “lower-body injuries,” could come back this week. The Kings didn’t practice Sunday so we’ll see if he’s back on the ice today. Stoll is out for the season with a groin injury.

– Bemidji State shocked the college hockey world and reached the Frozen Four, along with Boston University, Vermont (which won on a shot that went THROUGH the net) and Miami of Ohio.

– The Kings went 1-2-1.

– A couple people who you will never hear from again were eliminated on American Idol.

– Brian Boyle came up from Manchester and scored a goal. Kevin Westgarth went back to Manchester.

– Those who went with a conservative NCAA Tournament bracket thrived in their office pools.

Finally, I think this got posted around (and maybe even here, by Jill), but for those who might have missed it, here are some comments that Dean Lombardi had last week about Alexander Frolov…

—–

Question: A few weeks back, you talked about Frolov’s improved `buy-in,’ and how he seemed more interested in winning.

LOMBARDI: “We were getting some buy-in from him. But then we’re in some critical games and we need him to be more consistent. It’s about the highs and lows in his game, the ability to be counted on. Knowing what you’re getting. We’re seeing the spikes in his game. In the Boston game, clearly you’ve got a team that’s buying in, and that was far from his `A game.’

“Out of fairness, when other guys on the team are ratcheting it up, if you’re not going to perform, we’re going to find someone else and you’re going to be on the fourth line or sitting out. That’s the ultimate motivator, and beyond that it sends a message, that if your best player is going to take nights off, it’s unacceptable. That’s the message to him. `Aren’t you getting tired of losing? You have never played in a playoff game.’ It’s, either get on board or somebody else will.”

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  • Jayrew

    FYI-

    I checked out all 5 games between Seattle-Spokane in the WHL. Unfortunately, THomas Hickey looked brutally awful. He was beaten left and right during the games in Seattle, and in Spokane his physical game (which is fairly present in these WHL games) dissappeard.

    Although he is a force on the Powerplay. Man can he move that puck across the blue line and i can see where Lombardi loves his skating abilities.

  • Rob

    Thanks Rich. Glad to have you back

  • Ersberg

    “.. if you’re not going to perform, we’re going to find someone else and you’re going to be on the fourth line or sitting out. That’s the ultimate motivator..”

    So, does this translate as Fro, Zus, prospect, and a pick for or?

  • variable

    i apologize for the following re-post, but i thought we have an opportunity to now discuss all the upcoming possibilities/scenarios the kings could be confronting come draft day: thanx to all for listening!

    the draft is the day and arena where most, if not all our questions will be probably answered….:

    - will d.l. package his first round pick or picks with a player(s) to receive a top flight scorer?
    the daily question every single poster asks themselves every day…maybe the draft is the day that question gets finally answered….i, personally, think it does…

    - will frolov be traded or will they attempt to re-sign him come july 1st?
    if fro is still around after draft day, chances are he stays a king, at least for the beginning of the season…then the absolute deadline day for fro’s future will be next season’s trade deadline day…i want fro to stay with the kings…my brain tells me that’s looking like an unlikely scenario…

    - jack johnson’s long-term status will be answered on draft day…how the kings draft and how many defensemen d.l. picks will be interesting…
    REMEMBER: even though we have a number of d-men in the minors chomping at the bit and looking forward to next season’s training camp, d.l. always picks what in his mind is the best player available, regardless of the needs upfront…he has said this continuously in almost every interview he has given this year…his strategy is firmly entrenched in building through the blueline…don’t be surprised if he picks more defensive men overall in the draft and tries to package a few of them in trades in lieu of getting more top line forward help….and if the deal gets done with j.j., the terms are going to be a major key and indicator as to his future w/the kings…

    - is anze kopitar a number one center?
    all this talk of getting a sniper the last few months maybe overlooking what is also a crucial need…a true number one center…
    i love anze and his game and i hope he can elevate to higher lever next season so that the aforementioned question he answers himself…but i don’t think it’s going to be necessarily handed to him next year….as much as d.l. will be trying to snare the hossa’s, gaborik’s, kovy’s of the league, he will be looking on how to get a vinny/thorton/datsyuk-type of center…this can only help the kings prospects for the cup and further help anze’s development….remember how young anze still is (23 in august)…honestly, he’s just not there yet….

    - who’s the goalie of the future?
    you have to figure somebody will get moved by next season’s start….the draft might be the day that the kings give up a top goalie prospect because j. quick is really starting to showcase his talents and offering a strong case to his candidacy…

    - are brian boyle, teddy purcell, peter harrold, davis drewiske, thomas hickey, brad richardson, colten teubert,trevor lewis,justin azevedo,vacheslav voinov, johnathon bernier and oscar moller kings next year?
    some are more obvious choices than others…but…if you are trying to make yr team better with top flight established nhl talent, yr gonna have to give up something good and promising…just who are those players remains to be seen…but, as much as some of these names have potential, what are they worth to the kings and the rest of the league…i would not be surprised if some of these top prospects are moved before training camp begins…in the case of oscar moller, it’s not a question of skill…but can this kid get bigger and stronger?

    these are just a few pressing questions i think we should have a better idea as to what the answers will be come draft day…very excited…and as fans, i think that’s the next most anticipated event in the kings immediate future for us….

  • Ersberg

    “- will d.l. package his first round pick or picks with a player(s) to receive a top flight scorer?” I think there’s 110% chance of this happening, given what we’ve seen of his trades this season.

    “- will frolov be traded or will they attempt to re-sign him come july 1st?” Before this latest “occurence”, I would have said most likely. Now? No.

    “- jack johnson’s long-term status will be answered on draft day..” If he doesn’t sign for what Dean might think is “reasonable”, he’s part of a package to land a top winger.

    “- is anze kopitar a number one center?” I think it depends on who Dean can round up in the offseason.

    “- who’s the goalie of the future?” Quick next season, followed by JB.

    “- are brian boyle, teddy purcell, peter harrold, davis drewiske, thomas hickey, brad richardson, colten teubert,trevor lewis,justin azevedo,vacheslav voinov, johnathon bernier and oscar moller kings next year?”
    Predictions-BB stays in Man or gets traded, Purcell makes the big club, Harrold stays, Drewiske same as this season-Man and Kings, Richardson I see getting traded or waived, Teubert has another year still, Hickey goes to Man with some call-ups(or can he go to Man?), Lewis, JA, etc stay in Man, JB gets some call-ups, Moller take Richardson’s spot(I hope).

  • variable

    ersberg…thanx for yr response…

    what did you mean about “no” to the fro question?:
    do you think he’s getting traded?

  • Johnny Utah

    I still don’t understand why Frolov gets all the blame and Kopi continually gets a “pass.”

    Plain and simple, Kopi has shown a fraction of the desire that he had his first two years. And the “system” has nothing to do with his inability to fight off defenders and drive the net. When did he become so afraid of contact?

    I am so tired of Murray’s favorites (like Harrold, Calder, etc.) getting key minutes while Frolov, Boyle, Moller, Purcell, etc. make one mistake and they are on the fourth line, scratched, or in the minors.

    We have so many second-liners (pretty much everyone except “Fro”) – it’s time to upgrade and bring in legit “top 3″ type forwards.

    And if Gaborik is the answer to one of those “top 3″ spots, the other 5 “top-sixers” better have great character, cuz you know Gabi will cruise through at least 25% of his games (a la Palffy).

  • Dave in Torrance

    Good afternoon everyone. Rich, glad to have you back. Glad to have the fellas back in town and the toe pickers off the ice. I’ve got 4 tickets for tomorrows game and I’m looking forward to seeing the Kings win at least one more game before we get eliminated on one of our upcoming road games. Its been a fun season, they’ve been fun to watch, awful to watch, difficult to watch, exciting to watch. I for one (and I know there are many) am really looking forward to next year. As far as I’m concerned, trade whoever you feel you need to trade in order to bring us a goal scorer who will (hopefully) buy into the system and take us to the next level. Pass me the Kool Aid and bring me my Nikes. Go Kings

  • Ersberg

    Hey Variable-

    Exactly what you said. I do think he’ll get traded, if we can get an upgrade in return. And with Dean being Dean, I could see him trading Fro for someone that we the fans may call a “laterally talented” player, just because of how Dean/Terry describe him to be “inconsistant”. I think it’s crap, really. If anything, your top goal scorer should be the one to get an occasional “pass”, because at least he’s producing points. You can’t say the same for some of the other non-producing players on this team.

  • nykingfan

    Its seems that DL and the Kings organization have had enough of Frolov.
    I can’t blame them…I agree that its time to get the best you can for this guy.
    DL’s points are dead on…the Boston game was one of the biggest games of the season and our “best player” decides he’s not going to perform to his talent level.
    What do we need that for? We’re going to give him more $$ and use up valuable cap space for a guy who plays with intensity when it suits him? It’s not about talent, its about heart and desire…2 things he gives the impression that he lacks. at least to Kings management and to some fans.
    Does anyone really believe that when we make the playoffs, he’s going to step up and play to his talent level? It’s impossible to believe he would do that when he refuses to do it now.

    I still think that Fro has more talent than 95% of the players in the league…problem is talent won’t equal success…its the hard work and dedication that will separate the journeymen from the stars.
    After his career is over…we’re all going to say there was so much more he could have given…too bad.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com CupRun2010

    Fro is an enigma…when he puts his mind and effort in, he’s a top-liner star, but he takes a few shifts off and is a defensive liability. On the right team, he’ll be a scoring machine, but on the Kings, he needs to pick up his defensive game like he did in the first half of the season.

    Kopi, he’s all over the ice…I don’t understand how someone can say that he’s become afraid of contact? My only observation is that he seems to be tired near the end of the games–probably because he skates 200′ a few times a shift and IS making contact!

    JJ: Too much upside to give up on him–he’s should be a keeper. He’s only been in the league a year and a half.

    As for predictions for draft day…I believe anyone is up for grabs and wouldn’t be surprised if one or even two of the “core” players gets traded. The problem we have as bloggers are that we are homers and hugely critical when our team doesn’t win every game. We forget that this his a huge business and the responsible people (DL, TM, AEG) will do what they THINK they need to do to make a winning, profitable business. If that means thinking they can trade some of the future for a better future, they’ll do it at the drop of a hat.

  • AK47

    You guys really need to re-read the things you post before clicking the submit button..

    How can you even think of letting Jack Johnson go? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this kid is a keeper. No way will we ever trade him. Look at the way he’s been playing coming from an injury, and he already has more goals than he did last season playing ALOT more games last year. Give him the full year next year and you guys won’t regret keeping him, honestly. Who’d replace Johnson? Komisark? Teubert? No way, Jack Johnson’s here to STAY! ENOUGH SAID.. Stop sending these stupid comments saying we’re trading Johnson for kovy blah blah..

    Why would we give up assets for Kovalchuk when there are 3 guys we could sign, that will come cheaper than kovalchuk and might (key word) produce more than him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Gaborik, Hossa or Havlat are better than Kovalchuk, but it’s a possibility that they put up more points than him. Look at the way Gaborik’s been playing since he came back from that injury.. When this guy becomes a UFA, DL needs to sign him, as quickly as possible, I don’t even care if he’s injury prone..

    Jack Johnson is an LA King.

  • AK47

    … & Ersberg…

    Will MSP still be there when we’re drafting? If he is, then ya, we take him. I doubt he will be there.. As of now, Schroeder is the sure shot and same with Nazem Kadri..

    Not to promote this clown, but http://www.hockeybuzz.com has a new Kings blogger named Matthew Barry. Wow, this guy knows absolutely nothing about Los Angeles, like he’s an embarrassment.. He should not be representing our Kings.

  • Old School

    Frolov has 4 known qualities: talent, instinct, brains and experience.

    To let him go him now, you need to get a player with equal or superior grades in these areas.

    To trade him for anything less, at this early stage in his career with several good NHL seasons left, would be incredibly stupid. He puts the puck in the net.

    He is one of the few Kings players other teams fear, because opponents know what he is capable of doing with the puck. Very good in shootouts, too. How many other Kings players can you say that about? Very few.

    Now if he’s in a package deal for a real tried-and-true difference maker, I say do the deal. Otherwise, why get rid of such a valuable asset?

  • Rich Hammond

    Just a tip/hint: throwing around terms such as “stupid” and “clown” in relation to other readers is a fantastic way to become Banned Reader #1. I’m certain that you can get your opinion across without doing so.

  • AK47

    oh sorry Rich :(..
    I won’t be using bad words anymore

  • Ciccarelli

    AK47, are you being sarcastic when it comes to Matthew Barry?

    He’s a lot better than any of the other bloggers they’ve had cover the Kings. He goes by another name on two much visited Kings message boards and knows quite a bit about LA Hockey, even if a lot of people don’t agree with him.

  • AK47

    Ciccarelli,

    I wasn’t being sarcastic, but he’s really negative. He says that he hopes we keep losing and stuff like that, but that’s not the way he should go about it. I understand he wants us to win the draft lottery and such, but these are kids, and they need to learn how to win. These games are important to the young Kings, they need to win to become more confident with each other and such. Telling us readers that he hopes the Kings keep losing is not really something I would want to read as a REAL LA Kings fan..

    Just my thoughts on him..

  • Ersberg

    Ak-

    MSP is slated in at the 6th slot, so it’s completely possible we get him.

  • Chris Bond

    Hey Rich, On the facebook side are you going to keep up over there now that you are back? I love this side and I know that this is what pays the bills for Jill and yourself but I really really love to see who we are talking to, and like the photo side of it. Dont know if you noticed the photos I posted but it was hard
    to do it. Now they only let you post one at a time and
    it sucked a little becuase it flooded the page with all me. Is that a setting you can adjust as a admin so I can just post a album?

  • -J

    I’ve read a lot recently about people questioning whether Kopitar is truly a No 1 center (probably stemming from DL’s comments that he isn’t there yet). I’m curious though what some of you consider to be/expect from a No 1 center?

    Some things to keep in mind when thinking about this: among NHL centers, Kopitar is 20th in points overall, 13th in TOI/game, and 23rd in faceoffs won. Kopitar, who is 21 (going to be 22 this summer, not 23 variable) is amongst the youngest leading Centers in the league. Only three centers younger (or near in age for that matter) lead him in points- Crosby (21), Backstrom (21) and Toews (20). (I wonder how many points the latter two would put up without there linemates (Ovechkin and Kane)) Still in his third season, Kopitar has already reached 200 points over his career. Thornton, Lecavalier, Datsyuk, who’ve been mentioned as comparisons at times, did not reach 200 points until there 4th or 5th seasons.

  • Quisp

    Kopitar absolutely must be expected to be the Kings’ #1 center in the future, otherwise he would not be getting paid that kind of money.

  • dirtmover

    I think it is outstanding that we have as much feedback as we do on the direction the squad should look like in ’10- for many yrs fans were indifferent to the off season – again I say what a great yr to be a Kings fan – the ups and downs only whet the appetite for the future -going forward I will say 5 rookies with substantial contributions only lead me to believe were going to be a force for the future- the future being next yr- our ability to maximize home ice will be key as we gave at least 14-16 pts away this yr -as a long suffering kings fan – I have trepidation with trading young players for supposed STARS who come here on the downslope of careers – this list is too long to even start – I say let the youngsters give it a rip the possibilities are endless with the depth in Man-

  • Winsomemore

    Welcome back to work Rich. Would be nice to finish bottom 5 for a chance to move up via the lottery.

  • Kevco

    Glad we back up here again. Thanks to Rich and Jill for all the hard work! Only 3 home games left, can it really be true? Seems like Sept was just here.

  • LBlocal

    Welcome back, Rich! I find it unfortunate to read that you were relegated to watching American Idol during ‘time-out’, errr, furlough. Jill, thanks. =)

    Now, back to hockey shtick, GO KINGS!

  • Irish Pat

    Hooray for Rich and a big thank you to Jill for being awesome too. I hope you had some positivity come from your furlough Rich, like some rest. Welcome back.

    I have to agree with AK47 on Jack Johnson. He’s made some bad decisions out there, but when you consider that he’s only 21, how he has looked on the power play and the flashes of physicality he’s shown (that scrum with Malkin was nice) I think it is waaaay to early to give up on him. Rather than comparing him to how Doughty is developing we should realize how lucky and fortunate we are to have Doughty and that he is an anomally as a 19 year old kid playing like a veteran, not the other way around. The only way I see Lombardi trading Johnson is if he thinks Jay Bouwmeester is signable and Jack doesn’t want to play for the Kings.

    Also, I apologize up front if I’ve ever offended anyone with any of my posts. I’d like to think I just retaliate to other posters but I’m sure I may have tweaked a few fellow Kings fans here and there. If I have I’m sorry and I’ll try to be more adult in the future and just ignore anyone that may be in need of a hug. Rich, I hope you understand that most of us are just being passionate about this hockey club and I’m sure you realize that it’s easy to be cavalier for anyone when they’re typing away verbal nonsense without any consequence. Anyway, for what it’s worth I’ll try and mellow even if Lombardi re-signs Calder.

  • http://kwisp.wordpress.com Quisp

    Winsomemore, re lottery –

    Everyone (in the bottom 14) has a chance to move up via the lottery. But you can only move up four spots. Kings will likely finish somewhere between 6th and 10th, with the remote possibility of moving up four spots (if they win the lottery), but a strong likelihood of staying exactly where they are. There’s also a small chance they will drop one spot (if a team within four picks of them — but behind them — wins the lottery).

  • Bring Back the Shield Jersey

    I love Kopi, got his jersey (the shield one thank you). But he stunk up the joint for the first 1/3 of the season. After that he was nearly always very good to excellent. He’s tall, so he looks slower than he is, but he really is working from behind one goal-line to the other. Repeatedly, for ex. vs. Nashville you saw him in on the forecheck, the puck would come out and then you’d see him guarding the opponent behind his own net. His problem has been that his line-mates haven’t been there consistently enough on O. From above, Kopi would hit his guy but there was no support and the puck would come out of the zone. It may be partially system-caused: keeping a guy high (cuz the kings do pretty much “attack” with only two players until we show total possession, kind of a chicken and the egg problem there- hard to control the puck with only 2 players). But his linemates are not good puck-possessors. A lot of time spent with nervous rookies and with Calder and Brown, neither of whom is deft with the puck. This is why Kopi and Fro looked good together, because the opposition is keyed in on Kopi, deny him the puck and your team gets the puck, Fro could hold onto the puck. Thus did they maintain possession and create chances.

    In short, Kopi is a #1 center, he’s just been playing too much with 2nd and 3rd-line wingers. Give Kopi an offensively skilled winger (or two) and then his, and the Kings’ numbers will go up.

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Rich, glad you are back!

    Now, care to handicap the Frozen Four? I vote for Vermont, just because they eliminated Yale…

    Favorites, anyone?

  • Oldthunder

    Rather than Hossa or Kovalchuk, Gaborik and Boumeister go for the Sedin twins. Durable and dependable and at least you know they have good chemistry together. We are probably the only team that can afford both of them (~10 mil for both) and still have cap room to wiggle with. Put them with Brown or Frolov and that is a scary line with the next one centered by Kopi.

  • variable

    J….

    thanx for the kopi age correction…my bad….he will be 22 in august…not 23….good catch….

    i still think that kopi would/will develop faster if he had a true #1/high#2 to model his game after…a mentor to a young player goes a long, long way (ie: o’donnell on drew)…

    kopi has had a excellent start to a very promising career…and i eluded to the fact that i love his overall game…he has become a better defensive player the second half of the season and has showed a propensity to elevate his game in the clutch….

    i still think that he needs a bit more seasoning before you can give him the bonfides and vet him as a true number one center…

    great counterpoint with his stats….i guess my expectations of a player of his ilk might be a tad much considering all the…eh, um…variables….he brings to the ice…

    i don’t think dustin brown is a true number one winger just yet and is much more effective on the second line for a myriad of reasons…if the kings were to get a top flight winger to play with kopi, then, yes, brown is worthy of top line consideration…if you look at how kopi played with fro…(don’t understand other than t.m.’s double-standards why they weren’t kept together longer)…both played very well and kopi’s offensive game and production took off…

    BRING BACK THE SHIELD JERSEY made a great point that i just re-iterated about kopi’s line mates….fro DID make a big difference, regardless of what t.m./d.l. say…

    my contention with both managers is that they expect fro to put up 40+g/80+pts. skating with zus and/or simmonds and harrold…with all due respect to those players, it’s just not going to happen and is ridiculous for them to expect such lofty results…

    if you all remember how dangerous frolov showed he can be with other complementary players such as jason allison (when healthy…which wasn’t for very long) and ziggy palffy…those three for a brief period of time (due because of injuries) were considered by many to be one of the best lines in hockey…

    to both fro and kopi’s defense, if these guys played with another top-tier player, matching their skill level and intelligence, this topic would never rise to such scrutiny…

    and give fro credit…

    any place they have put him, he’s played and made others around him better….

    has he made mistakes? sure…
    has he made more mistakes than anybody else on the team? no way…!

    i hope d.l. is thinking that with the right type of winger added to this team, he WILL AND SHOULD keep fro around so that all this talent and skill can come into fruition…

    however, i’m quick to realize that we might not get the opportunity to see just what these two talents can do with the right type of player…

    d.l….

    i hope you know what yr doing if you decide to trade fro…!

    sometimes the pieces are right in front of you and they are still hard to see…i hope d.l./t.m. get a prescription check and re-examine what they already have in a player like fro….respect the fro…!

  • kozak

    Welcome back Rich. Thanks for digging right in and providing the great info.

    Also, thanks to Jill. I know her plate was full and the live chat was greatly appreciated

  • Deadmarsh
  • Cynic

    Well, here’s a possible answer…

    http://www.freep.com/article/20090323/SPORTS05/903230384/1053/Hossa%20says%20he%20ll%20take%20less%20money%20to%20stay%20in%20Detroit

    Looks like a possibility is there as LA is a great place to retire, but Ken Holland is a sick GM who seems to pull off whatever he wants.

    We’ll see..

    BTW – Dave in Torrance…you’re not in Section 106 are you?

  • cristobal

    Dean Lombardi needs to be fired.
    After reading his comments about Frolov I’m convinced.
    He’s absolutely clueless.

    Memo to Dean: Frolov hasn’t been in the playoffs because of YOU!

    This man has laid waste to our team.

    Fire him!!!

  • cristobal

    By the way Mr. Lombardi,
    Take your long list of failed free-agents, wasted money, and horrible coaching retreads with you.

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