The fourth set of open forum questions and answers. Thanks to everyone for all the great questions…
Questions: I checked out the Ducks blog that you gave us the website for just because I was curious. It has a similar layout to your blog. But there are no comments. Can people comment on this blog? And if so why doesn’t anybody? And on a Kings related question. Do you know when some of the NHL players will start skating around at the Toyota Sports Center this summer?
Answers: 1) Success of blogs can be really fickle. People who have read this one for a long time will remember that it didn’t take off for quite a while. J.P. does a good job with the blog and I would encourage folks to interact with him. 2) Unfortunately, there’s no real schedule set up for guys to skate. A group of guys can decide that they want to skate tomorrow, and if there’s open ice, they will be out there. You’ll see it picking up a lot more in July and August. I know they’re typically there in the late mornings, but I don’t know of any official schedule.
Question: I’d like to add a question… If you were Lombardi would you offer up Jack Johnson, Teddy Purcell, Bernier and our 1st rd pick to Colombus for Rick nash & their 1st round pick? Is this the type of deal you would use to get Kovalchuk if you were given the chance?
Answer: Well, good luck with that one. You’re talking about a defenseman with 1 1/2 years of NHL experience, a marginal NHL forward (at this point), a minor-league goalie (albeit a well-regarded one) and a moderate move in the draft, for one of the top players in the game. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.
Questions: 1) Gary Bettman is probably the most hated commissioner of the four major sports. Why do you think Bettman is so reviled? 2) What mistakes or successes do you think Bettman has made in the last 15 years? 3) If David Stern were the commissioner instead of Bettman, do you think the NHL would be more successful?
Answers: 1) Well, I can’t speak for everyone (or anyone), but the lockout didn’t help, and neither did the decision to put games on a network that a lot of people, a couple years later, still can’t find. 2) Well, I consider the TV thing to be a major failure. He opened up the league to a lot of non-traditional markets, and that’s really a double-edged sword. Did it open up the sport to people, and regions of the United States, that never cared before? Yes. Did it dillute the product and put teams in markets that really didn’t deserve them? Yes. So I’m not sure exactly how to reconcile that one. 3) Probably not. The NBA isn’t exactly a juggernaut right now either. They’re hoping and praying for a Lakers/Cavs, Kobe/LeBron final, that they can market to death. A Denver-Orlando final isn’t exactly going to excite anyone. I wouldn’t consider Stern or Bettman to be a great visionary.
Questions: 1. Does DL have a team that he models the Kings after? Are there certain type of players he goes after to fit that identity? I realize he likes mobile defenseman, gritty wingers, and proven winners but is there a specific franchise that he admires?
2. What is your opinion of Simeon Varlamov? Does DL have any thoughts on Varlamov? Specifically, the Kings have a stable of young goaltenders who have been sheltered from the kind of pressure situations that Varlamov has been put through. Do you think DL is worried exactly about Varlamov’s game seven stinker, and the mind games that that may cause for the young goalie?
3. Do you see Stoll being a bonafide number 2 center?
4. Besides Greene and Gauthier (who I hope gets cut), the Kings seem to be lacking a big physical stay at home defenseman. The type of guy like Matthias Nordstrom, Orpik, Komisarek, etc. Which of our defensive prospects fits that mold? Does the Kings lack of that element favor any of the prospects?
5. In your opinion, who are the top five goalies you would build a franchise around today?
Answers: 1) No, I’ve never had the sense that he wants to pattern the Kings after any team in particular. If you look at what he tried to do with the Sharks, that would probably give you the best idea of what he wants to do with the Kings. Your description of the type of players he’s going for is probably the most accurate depiction of his “philosophy” of team building.
2) I’ve never talked to Lombardi about Varlamov. I’m not sure I’ve seen enough of him to form an opinion, but you raise an interesting point about a young goalie being put in pressure situations. That Game 7 is, at least potentially, something that could mess with a young goalie’s head. That said, I don’t know anything about Varlamov’s makeup or how he has dealt with adversity in the past. Remember also, that Varlamov spent two years in the Russian Super League and led his team to the final last year. That’s some pretty good pressure for a young goalie.
3) Not really, not on a playoff team. There’s a bit of a problem there, because the Kings essentially have two strong third-line centers in Stoll and Michal Handzus. Could either of them center a second line? Sure. But if you’re talking about a top-level team, I don’t think Jarret Stoll is your second-line center.
4) That’s a good question. I would also put Sean O’Donnell in that category, assuming that, at age 37, he still has at least one more strong season in him. In terms of prospects, Colten Teubert probably fits that bill the closest. Based on the descriptions of Teubert, he’s probably closer to a Pronger than he is a Norstrom, but I’m not sure anyone fits the description perfectly.
5) Tough question. If I’m building a franchise around a guy, I want him to be around for the next 10 years or so, so that takes a few guys out of the running. I’d have to do with Luongo, Lundqvist, Nabokov and Backstrom as my top four, and put Steve Mason in the running based on his strong rookie season.
Question: You think the league should “encourage” the players not grow playoff beards? Will the lack of beards bring new fans to watch hockey? Players will be more recognizable and make the game more marketable to a wider audience?
Answer: I’m voting in favor of playoff beards, if only because it’s hysterical to watch some of the young players try to grow them. Plus, I keep track of time based on how much gray is in Scott Niedermayer’s beard.
Question: Going along with one of your answers above. What happened to the deal that would sell a part of the Kings to the Boston Celtics owners? I personally hate the Boston Celtics being a Laker fan. But if this deal went through, in your opinion, could the franchise have been better in the long run?
Answer: From what I understand, the Kings, not the Celtics, put an end to the talks. I was told, off the record, that the Kings didn’t like the fact that news of their negotiations had become public, and they felt they had lost some leverage in the talks. It doesn’t seem like that deal is going to get revived.