Forum answers V

The next set of questions and answers…

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Questions: Do you think we could set something up where we can all get together, before a game or somthing? I am sure we would all like to buy you a beer to show our appreciation? I thought it was hilarious with all the rumors that we ended up with scuderi and smyth, because I never heard a hint of that at all. Did you have a good idea and just couldnt share? I love the trade,and signing, but I will miss Q. Do you like the Scuds signing? and do you like the Smyth trade? Do you see Brown giving up the C to smyth? Do you think smyth will at least get an A?

Answers: 1) That would be fun, and probably would be better to do at training camp or something such as that. Once the season begins, things get a bit busy, particularly on game days. 2) It’s the exact same thing that happens every year. Rumors upon rumors upon rumors, and then the deals that get done are the ones that were never even rumored. It’s precisely why I don’t understandy why people pay attention to rumors. It wasn’t a surprise to see the Smyth deal get done, because the Kings had sniffed around him at the trade deadline but the price was too high. Scuderi fit the mold of the type of player the Kings were looking for, but I didn’t know in advance that they would sign him. 3) The Scuderi signing and Smyth trade are both steps forward for the Kings, without question. 4) No, Brown giving up the captaincy would be completely counter-productive. The Kings want Brown to be their captain for a decade. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Smyth become an alternate captain, especially if Terry Murray goes with three alternates.

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Questions: Are the Kings done? Will we see any other additions? Do you think Purcell makes the team or is traded? How many other offers did the Avalanche get for Smyth? Did you have a good 4th of July?

Answers: 1) It wouldn’t be a surprise to see another veteran defenseman added on a short-term, low-salary contract, but anything beyond that would be a surprise. 2) As I previously wrote, I don’t know that there’s any trade market for Purcell. If he doesn’t make the team, he will go to Manchester. 3) I really don’t know what kind of offers Colorado got. That would be a better question for my colleague Adrian Dater, who covers the Avalanche for the Denver Post. 4) Yes, thanks. Got the Ryan Smyth interview done early and enjoyed the rest of the day.

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Questions: Dean Lombardi said at the beginning of the summer that Anze Kopitar was “not even close” to being in the kind of shape one expects out of an elite athlete. Have you heard about any kind of different training approach that Kopitar may be taking this summer in response to Lombardi’s challenge? Also, do you get any impression that Lombardi may be already worrying about not getting his money’s worth for Kopitar’s large multi-year contract?

Answers: 1) The impression I get is that Lombardi doesn’t want Kopitar to do things differently, he wants him to do more. Since Kopitar has been in Slovenia for the better part of the last two-plus months, it’s hard to know what he has been doing. With the veterans in town this week to work out, the coaches and trainers will get a better idea of how he’s doing. 2) It might be a little early for that, but if Kopitar has another year like he had last year, that will be a very legitimate and painful question to ask.

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Question: When the Kings land a big player you seem to get a interview before he is even in town how does this take place, I know you dont have the cell phone number of every NHL player so how do you get them on the phone so fast. Does someone from the Kings set it up and give you a phone number? How does it work?

Answer: The Kings’ communications staff is very helpful in terms of getting players to call me as soon as possible. Most of the time, it’s the same day as the trade, but the Smyth trade happened late so we did it on Saturday instead.

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Questions: How do you see Manchester and Ontario shaping up to look like this coming season? Has Purcell fallen in the depth charts? What was the reaction from AEG and Kings personnel seeing the poll that listed the Kings as being one of the bottom ten teams in terms of fans voting for “Most Bang for your buck”? Who is the prospect to shoot up the charts this season?

Answers: 1) That depends entirely on who makes the Kings’ roster. Manchester is more prospect-heavy and will benefit more from adding players who were on junior teams last season, most notably Thomas Hickey. Jeff Zatkoff should also move up. 2) There is no “depth chart,” other than what us media people come up with, so I’d have to say no. Purcell’s play in training camp, in relation to other forwards, will determine where he ends up. 3) I didn’t see that poll, so I can’t even tell you if anyone with the Kings saw it. 4) I really don’t know, but Loktionov seemed to show last year that he could have a high ceiling.

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Question: At the end of last season you interviewed Lombardi where he said that making the playoffs next season was not a necessity. A month or so later he was interviewed (again by you, I believe) where he stated that he did believe that making the playoffs next season was important for the franchise. Obviously something radically changed for him to change his personal opinion 180 degrees, so did someone from AEG get his ear and remind him that to sell tickets the fans need to see some glimmer of hope toward a Cup in the near future starting with the first playoff berth since 2002? Also, why is Lombardi so fixated on modeling the Kings after the Flyers instead of another franchise like the Penguins or Red Wings that has actually won a championship in the past 30+ years?

Answer: 1) I understand the tone and direction of your question, but this is where you have to be careful when you quote people. There was never once a quote from Lombardi in which he said that making the playoffs was not a necessity. The question, from me, was whether it was whether the Kings absolutely had to make the playoffs, and he answered by saying it was most important for the team to continue to improve. It was basically a long, nuanced non-answer, so there’s really no way that I could take that and say that he changed his opinion on anything. 2) I can’t answer this question but I have no evidence that he’s trying to model the Kings after any franchise. If anything, he’s trying to emulate what he did in San Jose, not Philadelphia.

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Question: Did DL have to get AEG’s permission to acquire Smyth since he earns more than minimum wage? If so, did he wait until AEG was distracted with the Jackson death to spring the deal on them for approval? Obviously Smyth has been available for awhile so I find the timing a tad curious.

Answer: If you knew what Colorado was asking for Smyth at the trade deadline, if would be quite clear why the deal didn’t get done then, as opposed now.

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Question: What is up with my man Frolov. Our leading goal scorer and in my opinion he was our best forward last season. Whats DL’s feeling on him? Do you get the feeling that DL is not very high on him and if so why do you think that is?

Answer: I don’t think Lombardi has been shy about expressing his opinion on Frolov. He wants to see consistency from Frolov, and he wants to see the attitude of a player who is dedicated to winning, first and foremost. Lombardi has said so, directly, in interviews, so I don’t think he has minced his words on that. Is the criticism fair? That’s something you can decide for yourself.

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Question: How much do you follow the kings community activities? It seems they need more help getting the word out on some of them as I barely found out about the kings alumni camps this year. My cousin did do the beginner camp with DE and had a blast. Seems that it’s hard to find out about these things though and the website is very unweildy to get it. Is there a newsletter or something we can get on?

Answer: The Kings’ website can get a bit busy at times, with all of the things they have going on. They seeem to send out quite a few e-mails about different events, so if you sign up for something on their website, there’s a good chance you’ll get quite a few e-mails about different events.

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  • Stonewall

    On a team this young, does any rookie hazing go on?

  • Some fan

    You didn’t answer my question about if the Kings are interested in signing Mathieu Schneider. Does that make it a good question or a bad question?

  • Mudfish

    First off…thanks so much for this site Rich. I’m sure it’s a lot of extra work, but we appreciate it.

    Question: Your thoughts on Gauthier as a player? % chance of seeing him back this year?

    I personally would not like to see him back. He seemed out of position a lot and took bad penalties. Many games I felt bad for Johnson for having him as a d-partner and felt Gauthier was responsible for a lot of the minus factor in JJ’s +/-.

    What are the other options available out there if they don’t resign Gauthier? Someone mentioned Chelios. I would think he would be a good mentor, ok with playing minimal minutes and currently works out in the LA area in the off-season right?

    Just curious…I feel for JMFJ if Gauthier comes back.

  • WWAMD

    “I don’t think Lombardi has been shy about expressing his opinion on Frolov. He wants to see consistency from Frolov, and he wants to see the attitude of a player who is dedicated to winning, first and foremost. Lombardi has said so, directly, in interviews, so I don’t think he has minced his words on that. Is the criticism fair? That’s something you can decide for yourself.”

    Its a common trend that when a player is on a contract year with Dean Lombardi he is not shy “expressing his opinion”. Wierd eh!?

  • WTF

    You keep mentioning what the Avs wanted for Smyth, so now I am curious, what was it?

    Lombardi keeps talking about getting tougher, but we are doing it in baby steps. Smyth is a step up, but he had the Codys and Lappy to answer the bell for him. We are in the physically toughest division in the league, but are still soft, what is the next step in fixing this?

    I am not looking for the Boogey man to join the team, but we need some tough guys that can play, even with Richardson and Clune, we only have middle – light weights with limited talent and Radis which is a liability until he can get out of first gear.

    This is why I will miss Boyle, at least he was someone that could plant his ass in from of the net and started to throw down.

  • Sybil227

    It wasn’t a surprise to see the Smyth deal get done, because the Kings had sniffed around him at the trade deadline but the price was too high.

    If you knew what Colorado was asking for Smyth at the trade deadline, if would be quite clear why the deal didn’t get done then, as opposed now.

    Can you tell us what Colorado was asking for at the trade deadline?

  • WTF

    For some guys, like Fro, you just need accept who they are at times. I know from first hand experiance, it sucks to be always harped about your potential, sometimes, you are exceeding your limits when you show flashes or brilliance.

    Being 6′ 3″, 230, mean and a fast skater, coaches are always riding me, but then again I am not making millions to play.

  • mrbrett7

    @Sybil227…The rumor is they wanted Bernier, our 1st round pick this past year (Schenn), and another roster player, probably Frolov, but that part I’m not sure about.

    The price was astronomical, this much I remember.

  • number 6

    QUISP…. just read your response to my comments about toughness and grit vs. skill. Now I Know you have a High Hockey IQ. Personally I think your idea was not only a good one but really creative. Of course no way do I expect it to be implemented, and even if it was no telling if it would work…. but I like the idea of breaking the typical 4th line energy type thing with a 3 in 100 chance of scoring.

  • Marc Nathan

    regarding the ECHL (Ontario) – VERY few (read: virtually NONE) NHL teams put actual “prospects” in the ECHL save for goaltenders. Kings skaters that have been in the E over the past few years include names like Hogeboom, Lukacevic, and Roussin. Despite the Kings ownership and maintaining the Ontario Reign, don’t think for a moment that management is expecting to stock that franchise with skill guys. Lombo has talked about it in the past, and again, I say, if you look at the ECHL rosters for the entire league, you can count on a single hand the number of guys (skaters) who are considered NHL prospects.

  • JDM

    Dean said in an interview (I think at the end of the season) that Colorado wanted Teubert and Bernier for Smyth.
    WWAMD,

    Its wierd that you find that wierd. Should Dean lie? Does he not give remarks about players not in their contract year? I know you just like to stoke the flames, but there is no fire here.

    Mudfish,

    Gauthier is no great defenseman, but let’s not pretend like Johnson is a wizard who was dragged down by anyone but himself. If anything, Gauthier is better defensively and positionally at this point than Johnson, though Johnson is a more complete player and obviously should very soon be miles beyond Gauthier if he keeps progressing.

  • Bruin26

    I can’t believe someone thinks the Smyth deal only got done because AEG might have been distracted by the Jackson death. Oh brother. Sounds to me like if the asking price wasn’t so high at the trade deadline the Kings were prepared to trade for him then.

    I really loved Quincey, but beyond trading him I think the Smyth deal is a steal. Sure his contract is a bit high, but not a long term deal anymore and I think he will play well enough that it won;y be an issue anyway.

    As for Frolov, Rich is right in that DL doesn’t seem to have a problem saying what he thinks. IN reality he doesn’t seem to have an issue with any player. Some of the things he says about Kopitar I am sure some considering it criticism and I think it is too, but constructive to be sure and truthful so far. I like Frolov, but he is inconstant and he doesn’t seem to show much passion as much as some other players that is for sure.It will be interesting to see how he pays the first half of this season. I am guess if it is just more of the same then he is gone. I guess in a way he might be gone either way because if he plays really well and doesn’t come to an agreement before the deadline they may feel the need to trade him no matter what. Either way I can see why the team seems to be in ore of a wait and see approach to him, if that is what they are doing.

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    Marc Nathan,

    About the ECHL: I’d take that even a step further. To be a top six forward on an ECHL team is to be an ex-collegiate skater wanting a few pro bucks before retiring and getting a real job, or to be an ex-prospect that’s -this- far from being out of hockey altogether, or to be a skater with real heart but maybe no size or speed trying to overachieve like hell to get into the real show. The AHL stockpiles their bottom six forwards there as MASH unit replacements. Puck-moving defensemen are as rare as buck’s teeth, and true clear-the-crease big defensemen are there only on end-of-season trials.

    It’s the heart as-big-as-Montana types that really make ECHL hockey worthwhile. Throw in the occasional prospects sent down for playoff experience at the end of the year and you can get some really good hockey.

    I’m a season ticket holder for the Bakersfield Condors x3 years, and the games are a blast. Don’t go if you expect NHL skills, but the heart is often right there and the guys are as real as they come.

  • BakoCAcameraGuy

    …But, in the spirit of the thread, I’d like to ask this question:

    Rich, ever get to an ECHL game? I can imagine that for someone in your position that would probably seem like overkill (or, underkill). The Long Beach Ice Dogs were right there in your neighborhood for a long time; maybe you saw one of their games. Do you think the Kings might ever move their AHL team west of the Mississippi? Seems like that would be a great economical move if they could convince other West Coast teams to do the same.

  • Primakov

    Sybil227 said: Can you tell us what Colorado was asking for at the trade deadline?

    Rich mentioned it in an older question and answer session here (http://www.insidesocal.com/kings/2009/03/forum-answers-ii-12.html) that the asking price was Colten Teubert and Jonathan Bernier.

    Question: at the trade deadline which Kings players and prospects were on other teams wish list. I would like to know what players other teams wanted.

    Answer: Michal Handzus, Alexander Frolov and Sean O’Donnell generated the most interest among players, and I’m sure pretty much all of the prospects came into discussion at some point. Colorado wanted a package that included Jonathan Bernier and Colten Teubert as part of any discussion for Ryan Smyth, so that didn’t get very far.

  • WWAMD

    Yah its kinda wierd JDM, u recall Dean saying anything about Brown, Labs, Clouts, Calder, Gautheir, and other smucks he is in love with?

  • JDM

    WWAMD,

    First I’m going to assume you mean schmucks. Last I checked hockey players weren’t really equatable to jars of jelly… But I’m sure someone could find a way…

    Also I find it funny that you include Brown in with a list of filler scrubs.

    I’m not really sure what conspiracy you could possibly see here. What exactly is wierd about commenting openly on a player you get asked about repeatedly? Its not like DL called up Rich on a whim and decided to extemporaneously muse on Frolov. Everyone wants to know so he gets asked so he answers. He is in love with Kopitar enough to give him ultra mega bucks, but that hasn’t stoped him from critiquing him where necessary.

    There isn’t anything to say about Calder or Goat. They were fillers who performed their roles well. Don’t blame DL for Murray giving Calder scoring line minutes he didn’t really deserve.

    DL is critical and most open about the leaders of the team. There is not much to criticize from a managerial standpoint of Brown and Greene because they are consistent and always leave their hearts, and oftentimes their very blood, out on the ice.

    DL admitted that Cloutier was a mistake and a failure. Burying him in the minors was statement enough, as was trading Labs for the absolute LEAST possible return.

    Far as I can tell is that your only possible point is that DL has a hidden agenda and is trying to turn people against Frolov or something to lower his value, while he either praises or is tight lipped about filler scrubs that he has either since traded or let walk to free agency, which you someone also compare to Brown, which tells me you have no real point at all.

    So please, elaborate, what is so ‘wierd’ about answering asked questions?

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