The second set of questions and answers from this morning…
Question: I don’t have a question as much as I do a request. I am not sure now is the best time for them but would you be able to get some interviews with the Kings scouting staff. You did something like this last year and I found it incredibly informative.
Answer: Thanks. Last year, I did a 45-minute interview with Mike Futa and Mark Yannetti, and it seemed to go well. Assuming those guys are interested in doing it again, I’ll be more than happy to sit down with them and see where they are, one year later. Look for that sometime in the next few weeks. Last year, the Kings allowed me to sit in on one of their draft-evaluations sessions. I haven’t received that invite yet this year but I will inquire about it. There will also be at least one extensive interview with Dean Lombardi before the draft.
Question: What do these people plan to do to make the playoffs next season? I would love for you to ask that question. What will it take, Dean? Make him answer you. It sucks that year after year we watch the playoffs and the Kings are nowhere to be seen.
Answer: Well, he has already answered the question, and based on your question, you probably won’t like his answer. If you go back to the interview I did with Lombardi at the end of the season, he basically says that his focus is where it has always been: on making the team strong in the long term. That’s not to say they don’t WANT to make the playoffs next season, but one thing the Kings’ brass has been consistent about is not mortgaging the future for short-term success. Maybe you buy into the “long-term” plan, or maybe you don’t, but don’t count on Lombardi changing his strategy now.
Question: I totally understand a desire on your part to not post things like this. but why is that living in Irvine less than 10 minutes away from Anaheim the first I heard about this bar stool incident was from LGK
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=AuzvfP91RMGo6LZeUfGIK0N7vLYF?slug=ap-ducksgm-chair&prov=ap&type=lgns Aside from that, are you gonna be at Frozen Fury so I can buy you a drink or six ?
Answer: Well, that’s a Ducks-related story, and it’s a slippery slope if I start writing about the Ducks just because they’re in the playoffs. We do have a Ducks blog — insidesocal.com/ducks — and J.P. Hoornstra did address it over the weekend. In general, I’m in favor of things being thrown at “reporters” who cheer in the press box, but there are a lot of aspects of his story that I don’t understand, so I’ll stay away from it. I wish I could be in Las Vegas, but it doesn’t appear likely. We will have to organize some type of get-together at some point, somewhere.
Question: Rich, I think the writing is on the wall for Luc to take over as GM in 2 years or so. What do you think?
Answer: I can’t say I would be stunned, but I certainly don’t think it’s being set up that way. It’s been a while since I talked to Luc about his ambitions in the sport. Last time I talked to him, his primary focus was on learning the business side of things. With Leiweke stepping away from the Kings a bit (at least publicly), Luc is basically the face of the franchise. Becoming a GM would seem to be a step down from what he’s doing now, but perhaps his ambition could pull him in a different direction one day.
Question: Do you think the Phoenix Coyotes will be moved to Canada? And can the decision really be made by the end of June? Who do you think will win that one?
Answer: Ultimately, I think they will move, but not before next season. Bettman and Daly have said there are local ownership options, but what are they? How long can the league justify propping up a team in Arizona, with low attendance? If the league really wants to follow through on its legal options, it can keep this going for a long time, meaning that the Coyotes probably won’t be leaving Phoenix any time soon.
Questions: 1) If you were starting an NHL team fantasy draft style, who would be your first pick and why? 2) Which King would you pick first and why? 3) Who do you think is the best coach, currently? 4) Lastly, why are the Kings such a pitiful franchise and, more importantly, why did I choose to become a loyal fan?
Answers: 1) Ovechkin, no question. I can think of 56 good reasons. 2) Tough choice between Doughty and Brown. I think I’d end up taking Doughty, because he can be a franchise defenseman for the next 15 years, and there aren’t many other players who fit in that category right now. 3) Wow, good question. It’s hard to argue with the way Mike Babcock has kept the Red Wings at such a high level for so long, but I’m also a big fan of what Bruce Boudreau is doing in Washington. Makes you wonder what might have happened if the Kings hadn’t fired Boudreau from the, uh, Monarchs. 4) As I’ve said before, in response to similar questions, you’re talking to a Chicago Cubs fans. When I figure out the answers to those questions myself, I’ll try to help you.
Question: just one question….I have had seasons tix for 20 years…if the Kings do not make the playoffs this year, why should I renew? I await your answer with open ears.
Answer: Well, it’s not my job to sell tickets to you. I imagine, like anything else in life, you look at your Kings tickets, weigh how much they cost against how much enjoyment you get from them, and make your choice. When it stops being “worth it,” you stop buying them. That’s what I would do, in any event.
Question: I know this is probably impossible to answer but I am wondering what your sense is of how much money Dean really has to spend this off season? Do you think he has the green light to max out spending or even get close to the cap limit? My feeling is we may be in for another disappointing off season because he just doesn’t have the money to compete with more free spending clubs.
Answer: Well, it’s difficult to answer, but I’ll take a shot. If the Kings don’t succeed next season, it won’t be because of budget. Both Lombardi and Leiweke are on the record, in different outlets, saying that if the Kings want to add a big salary, and it’s the right player, they will add it. The problem is, when you’re talking about a team that has a lot of young players, it’s extremely unwise to start spending to the cap. Maybe it’s OK for a year or two, but you look down the line and you’re staring at potential long-term deals for Doughty, Quick, Bernier, Hickey, etc. If you start locking yourself into four- and five-year contracts right now, you’re putting youself in big, big trouble for 2011, for instance. When you’re deadling with a salary cap, you’re constantly playing two hands: the one in front of you right now, and then one that’s going to be dealt you in two or three years. It’s not an easy balance. Lombardi was on a strict budget this season, in part, I believe, because AEG intended to sell a piece of the team to the Boston Celtics’ owners. That deal fell through, but the budget still fit with what Lombardi was doing, because the team was so young. So, again, Lombardi’s restrictions this summer will be more self-imposed than anything.’
Question: Based on your insider knowledge, do you think DL will finally dress a tough, physical team next season?
Answer: Lombardi has been open about his desire to get more size on the wings, but if you think the team is going to tranformed into the Broad Street Bullies or something, the answer is no.