For those not at the Michael Jackson memorial, here’s the fourth set of Open Forum questions and answers. Still plenty to go…
Questions: First off, I’m curious about how things work behind the scenes in general. For example, how do the Kings (or in general, NHL teams) get to away games (except ones like Anaheim of course) – do they have their own plane, or do they just book seats on regular flights? What does a typical day look like at an away game for a player (outside of the actual game)? How big is the King’s staff outside of players? All those little things that you never see anyone write about. I’m sure I could think of more, but if I do I’ll ask in another open forum I guess An unrelated question, that might be answered by readers rather than you actually: Is there anyplace where you can buy DVDs in relation to the Kings?
Answers: 1) The Kings charter flights from city to city. The schedule for a road game isn’t too different from a home game, unless the team should fly into the city on the morning of the game (a back-to-back situation, for instance). The team will typically take a bus from the hotel for a morning skate around 10 or 11 a.m. After that, they can go back to the hotel and nap, eat lunch, etc., until it’s time to bus to the arena for the game. 2) When you say “staff,” that can involve a lot of different areas. If you go on the Kings’ official website, you can see all of the people who are involved in a lot of different areas. The traveling crew typically consists of coaches and trainers, and front-office types (Lombardi, Hextall, etc.) travel at their whim. 3) I’m not aware of any DVDs. Videos pop up, from time to time, on the Kings’ website, but I’m not aware of any plans for DVDs. If that’s something that interests a large number of people, you might want to make the Kings aware of it.
Question: What’s your take on the job the Lombardi has done this off-season? Obviously it is the off-season so nothing has played out other than on paper, but what’s your opinion on going after the type of players he got as opposed to teams like the Rangers who look only for the big name guys?
Answer: I think Lombardi is in the middle-to-late stages of his plan, but not the final stage. I certainly understand the sentiments of those fans who have been patient for years and years, and now want Lombardi to go “shoot the moon” and bring in all the big names now. That’s not his plan. The Kings aren’t being built to win the Stanley Cup this year. They’re being built to — hopefully, in Lombardi’s mind — take another step forward and make the playoffs. Adding Smyth and Scuderi should put the Kings in position. Anyone who was hoping for the Kings to make those dramatic, Rangers-type moves, was frankly unrealistic. The Kings need more if they’re going to contend for the Stanley Cup, but I don’t know anyone who expected that to happen this coming season.
Questions: 1. Have you ever seen that ridiculous guy who attends almost all the home games? He calls himself Rental Man, and I hate him. What do you think can be done to have the arena control this incredibly annoying dancing freak??? He ruins the game experience for everyone around him. 2. I don’t know if anyone ever asked…but do you play hockey at all? 3. Since its the offseason…I thought I’d go off-topic…what was the greatest sports moment you got to personally cover?
Answers: 1) You don’t like Westside Rentals guy? He shows up at almost every sporting event in Southern California, so it’s not just the Kings. If he buys a ticket, I don’t think the Kings can justify kicking him out. 2) I’d like to play ice hockey. I have played roller hockey but never been in an ice-hockey league. Maybe one day. 3) Probably when the Angels won the World Series. I got to cover the entire series and be a part of the whole celebration. Very fun.
Question: Rich last season at least 13 games weren’t televised locally. Will this change? These days most teams televise all their games(Lakers, Dodgers and even Clippers) so why aren’t all the Kings games televised?
Answer: I believe this was asked and answered before, but again, it’s mostly an issue involving games in Canada, and how much it costs to televise them. It will be a while before we see Fox’s schedule for 2009-10.
Questions: 1) Were there/are there any plans to institute a fee for access to this site?
2) Ive heard this question before, but dont remember an answer…do any kings players/management visit this site regularly, and if so, who are they?
3) How does the screening process for posts work? Do you have to see every post before they can be shown?
4) What do the little symbols after each sign-in name mean?
some hockey questions-
1)What grade would the give the Kings off-season thus far?
2)What holes do see needing to be filled still?
3)Any predictions for players that may surprise out of camp and make the roster?
4)Why is Lewis “penciled” in for next year in most peoples minds? To me, he hasn’t proven himself at the NHL level yet?
5)Do you see Hickey making it? If not, when do you see his window closing?
Answers: 1a) No plans at the moment at all. 2a) Tough question to answer. Usually, the posts made here are included in the team “clips” that the Kings’ communications staff puts together, so anyone who reads the clips will see the posts. I’m sure though, based on some e-mail, mail and comments, that quite a few people go online to read it. One story: a player last year asked me if I only wrote for the blog, or if I wrote for the newspaper also. Thing is, I never told this player that I wrote a blog, so that told me something. 3a and 4a) Those who register their e-mail addresses get an account, and their posts show up immediately. Those who don’t sign up need to have their comments approved, which is why it sometimes takes time. 1b) B+ 2b) No. 1 center, which Anze Kopitar can fill if he plays like a No. 1 center, and starting goalie, which any number of prospects can fill with proper development. 3b) So many players broke through last year (Doughty, Simmonds, Moller, Quick, etc.) that it will be difficult for young players to break through out of training camp. The one player who probably will get the best opportunity is Richard Clune. 4b) That’s why he is only penciled in. You’ll remember that a number of players were penciled in last year. Some worked out (Doughty, Harrold) and some didn’t (Boyle). 5b) Probably not, at least out of training camp, because of the depth of defensemen. I don’t even think his window has opened yet. Hickey is 20 years old and has played seven AHL games.
Question: Would you discuss your views on the strengths, weaknesses and your expectations of the young forwards in the Kings organization such as Purcell, Simmonds, Moller, Lewis, Moulson, Schenn, Parse, Azevedo, Cliche, Roe, Dowd and/or anyone else who is presently a King property. Do you have a pick (or two or three) for “Most Likely to Break out” in 2009-10?
Answer: Strengths and weaknesses of every single prospect? That’s a bit daunting. Purcell needs to be a two-way player and score more. Simmonds and Moller need more strength. Lewis will play if he can fit in a gritty third- or fourth-line role. The others need more seasoning at the minor/junior level before we can really start making judgments about them.
Question: My question is regarding off-season workouts. I heard some stuff about Kopitar hitting the gym. Any info on any players packing on muscles to slap the on-comming checkers off of them ? Anybody we can expect to come back stronger ?
Answer: I really don’t know. You’re talking about upwards of 50 players, if you include prospects, who are spread out all over the continent and the world. Frankly, even the coaches aren’t going to know exactly how much time these guys put in until they show up for camp. Then, it will be obvious.
Questions: With Piskula and Bagnall having been recently qualified, and the movement of Quincey, can you see either getting the seventh d spot? Does this also mean that Drewiske has a spot to lose? Is there also any chance that we can set up a petition to rid ourselves of the third jersey logo?
Answers: 1) I wouldn’t consider Piskula and Bagnall to be favorites, I’ll put it that way. You’re talking about Doughty, Johnson, Scuderi, Greene, O’Donnell, Harrold and Drewiske, all with NHL experience. There’s a chance that the Kings could use Harrold as a forward, which would open up a spot on the defense. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Drewiske has a spot to lose. 2) You don’t like the UPS logo? Some seem to be warming to it. I find it boring.
Questions: (1) I just noticed that Parse, Clune and Cliche are missing from the prospect camp roster. Not surprised about Parse, but I am surprised about the other two. Is there an update to be had? (2) Hextall, somewhere in one of those interviews, said something about Richardson not working out, not being a good fit, something like that. Do you have any sense of his status? (3) How tall are you? (4) The Beatles catalogue will be released on 9-9-09 in stereo and mono. Will you be getting the stereo mixes, mono mixes, or both? (5) Which three Kings players or prospects are direct descendants of the original Gretzky trade?
Answers: 1) That’s the roster the Kings provided me, but given that it included Jonathan Quick (much to the surprise of Dean Lombardi), I wouldn’t accept that roster as the gospel. I’ll let everyone know, as soon as possible, who is actually there. 2) It’s hard for me to comment on that, because I didn’t hear Hextall’s comments and I don’t know what context they might have been said in. In general, I haven’t heard anything negative about Richardson’s work ethic and I would still expect him to contend for a third- or fourth-line role. 3) Roughly 6-foot-2, depending on my posture on any given day. 4) How much are these costing? Given that I’m a poor journalist, I would lean toward the mono because they’re interesting and different. 5) Umm…the Oilers trade? I’ll have to do some research on that one.