The next set of questions and answers…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.