Forum answers VI

Another set of questions and answers. Still quite a few to go. Looks like we might be headed for a record!

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Question: Our top 6 forwards are now Fro, Brown, Kopi, Stoll, Smyth, and Williams. Given this, do you feel Purcell has now lost his opportunity with the Kings. Also, with Smyth having some age and us giving up Quincy for him, do you feel DL is moving away a little from youth and looking for a more veteran team. Does Smyth’s cap # for 3 years prohibt us from retaining Frolov and, if so, was this a good move?

Answer: No, on both accounts. Purcell wasn’t likely to be a top-six forward on this team entering the season, with or without Smyth, so his ability to make the team is still going to be influenced primarily by the way he performs at training camp. I think you’d be reading too much into things if you took the Smyth trade as a sign that Lombardi is going away from a youth movement. The Kings essentially took 30-year-old Kyle Calder and 23-year-old Kyle Quincey out of the lineup and replaced them with 33-year-old Ryan Smyth and 30-year-old Rob Scuderi. That’s not a huge leap. The Frolov question was answered before, but I’ll say again that Frolov’s demands, not Smyth’s contract, is going to be the biggest influencing factor by far.

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Question: What would you do to market the Kings better, or is winning all that is needed to ignite the town? They seem to barely advertise, and I know Marketing head Chris McGowan always says they’re doing so much but I see so little evidence of this. Not that it was intentional, but for example the fact the Smyth deal went done on the evening of July 3 means it elicited as little publicity as humanly possible. Does not surprise me since the Kings still seem to think that marketing means picking up a loaf of bread and some milk at the store, but there seems to be so much room for improvement (starting with replacing those ancient player banners at TSC).

Answer: Well, even though I agree with you that it’s pretty ridiculous to have old banners along the practice rink, I don’t know how that’s going to sell tickets. It would be nice if the Kings actually bought ads in the newspaper that I work for, rather than simply the other paper in town, but they apparently have a different strategy. The Kings seem to do a lot of direct-mail stuff, primarily through e-mail, to attract fans and promote, and there has been an increase in the “grassroots” type of marketing, in terms of going out to rinks, etc. Is it effective? I really don’t know, because I’m not really their target audience. As far as the Smyth trade going down on July 3, I can assure you that Lombardi isn’t going to time his trades for publicity purposes.

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Questions: 1) How much trust do you think DL and TM have in Trevor Lewis? I’m guessing they expect him to come into training camp and either take Derek Armstrong’s old position (4th line center) or Kyle Calder’s old position (3rd line winger).. Which do you think he’ll play Rich? Or do you think he’ll stay in Manchester? 2) Is LA on the market for a gritty player, like Blair Betts, Taylor Pyatt, Travis Moen, Mark Bell.. Any guys that can play on the left side with Handzus and Simmonds.. 3) What are Teddy Purcell and Jack Johnson’s statuses? Do you personally think Jack will be a King next year and the years after that? 4) Do you listen to the Wu-Tang Clan? or any rap/hip-hop music in general? 5) Hypothetically, if we make the playoffs next year, are the Kings comfortable going in there with Jonathan Quick and Erik Ersberg? Both guys are unexperienced..

Answers: 1) I think that’s a good statement, on your part, of Lewis’ chances of making the Kings. The Kings were happy with the progress Lewis made last season, so I think he will get a long look. Where he ends up playing (if he makes the Kings) could be a trickle-down from what happens with Oscar Moller? Do they keep Moller? If so, does he play center or wing? If Moller plays center, Lewis could end up playing wing, or vice versa. 2) Again…way too much concern over a third-line winger. If you think a third-line winger is really the Kings’ biggest concern, you must be expecting a huge season. 3) Purcell and Johnson are restricted free agents. Johnson can’t sign an offer sheet and I doubt anyone would give one to Purcell. There’s absolutely no reason to think either player won’t be with the Kings. 4) I stopped listening to rap/hip-hop around the time it started to become random talking about how much/many money/women one has. It all started to sound the same in the early-to-mid 90s. 5) I’m not sure what the other option would be. If the Kings make the playoffs, they’re going to have done it with relatively inexperienced goalies, and they’re not going to acquire anyone in mid-April. It’s highly, highly unlikely that the Kings will acquire any goalies, just as it’s been for two years.

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Question: 52 comments in I’d be shocked if this question hasn’t been asked at least 10 times by now, and I apologize for being so lazy as to not read through to see how many times it’s been asked so I make sure not to. But could you please tell me how you think the third line will look come sept/oct. rich ? Or I guess who do you have on the third line with Handzus and Simmonds ? especially if you don’t see the kings picking up a UFA to fill that role.

Answer: Lombardi addressed this a bit in my last conversation with him. The Kings aren’t yet sure how they want that third line to look. It’s traditionally a “gritty” line, but Lombardi recently mused that the Kings might seek to get a little more scoring from the third line. What they decide, in terms of a philosophy for that line, will color which players they choose for the line.

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Questions: 1.WIth Ryan Smyth trade do you acpect any other trade for star player next summer? 2.Kinda stupid question but i was always wondering if NHL players have salary like us month to month or they just get paid during seson?

Answers: 1) It’s not out of the question, but it would be influenced by other roster moves/choices, most notably what happens with Frolov. 2) I’m not 100 percent sure, but I believe they get their money during the season and not during the summer.

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Question: If the Kings make significant progress this season – ie into the playoffs or maybe winning a series – do you think that TM will be the coach to take us to “the next level”. I’m thinking that since Chicago seems to be our role model, and they sacked Savard for Quenville at the beginning of last year, do you see the Kings doing something similar?

Answer: Way, way, way, way ahead of ourselves with that question. You have to get further than halfway to the top of the cliff before you can think about throwing Terry Murray off of it.

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Question: Posting the prospective lines seems to be a popular practive of most on this list. I’m interested to see what your predictions are. Thanks Rich!

Answer: Still lots of variables, but if I had to guess today, I would say Smyth-Kopitar-Williams, Frolov-Stoll-Brown, Lewis-Handzus-Simmonds, Clune-Moller-Ivanans. I might flip Lewis and Moller. Just a guess.

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Questions: What are we doing about a scorer? I seem to remember one of your posts stating that DL said something about July 11th. What is Kyle Calder’s status? What has the new trainer been doing with are “little” players (i.e. Moller and Simmonds)?

Answers: 1) A scorer? You mean other than Ryan Smyth? 2) The July 11 reference is not ringing a bell at all. 3) Kyle Calder remains an unrestricted free agent, eligible to be signed by any team. 4) I’m sure all players are being put on a program. The NHLers (a group that now includes Moller and Simmonds) are in town this week for some hands-on work.

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Question: Lombardi seems to be satisfied with the power play numbers he saw last year and it appears that Kompon is here for another year. I’ve been genuinely surprised by both. What is your opinion of the Kings’ PP and are you also a little surprised to see Kompon return?

Answer: I didn’t read where Lombardi said he was satisfied with the power-play numbers. If he said that, I missed it. Relatively speaking, the power play wasn’t bad. The Kings ranked 14th out of 30 teams, up from 17th the previous season. In terms of overall goals, the Kings ranked 28th, so by comparison the power play did fairly well. When his players aren’t scoring, there’s only so much a coach can do. I would have been surprised to see an assistant coach fired after one season.

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  • Stonewall

    Just curious Rich, do you read every post…?

  • darko25o

    “Again…way too much concern over a third-line winger. If you think a third-line winger is really the Kings’ biggest concern, you must be expecting a huge season.”
    Its not the position that everyone is concerned with Rich, its the player. That position just happens to be the slot that three of our most prized prospects will look to sustain. So as a result, the third line winger position seems to be the most ambiguous, and interesting, given the fact that we look to have the first two lines sewn up.

  • Darrell

    Did you know the Kings had “exclusive rights” to talk to Hossa? I was surprised the fact that several teams had an advantage over others before July 1 wasn’t mentioned in the press, especially in Canada.. Or are these little side deals something that happen all the time?

    Do you get the feeling Kovalchuk will make it to UFA-Frenzy next year, or will he be traded/re-signed before that?

  • mrbrett7

    So how about you let one of those kids try to play their way into that position, Darko, instead of going out and spending more money on a 3rd/4th line winger, thus limiting your ability to resign anyone in 2-3 years?

  • JD

    After the success the Kings had last year drafting and bringing over Voynov and Loktionov, I was a little surprised that they didnt draft any Russians this year (given only seven went in the whole 2009 draft). Then I noticed that the two Russian brothers (Bobrov?) that were Kings scouts are gone. Any comments, especially on their departure preventing a similar draft strategy as last year with respect to Russians?

  • cup4la

    The Kings did NOT have exclusive right to talk to Hossa.

  • ianmonsta

    “Answer: Still lots of variables, but if I had to guess today, I would say Smyth-Kopitar-Williams, Frolov-Stoll-Brown, Lewis-Handzus-Simmonds, Clune-Moller-Ivanans. I might flip Lewis and Moller. Just a guess.”

    I agree for the most part except that i wouldn’t be surprised to see Smyth and Frolov flipped, mainly for the reason if you have Smyth w/ Williams & Kopi that puts 3 right handed shots on the second line plus Smyth & Stoll had some really good chemistry together in Edmonton.

  • lordstanleyscup

    Rich,

    Terrific job as always. Hope I got these few questions submitted in time:

    1) Do you know who the other two teams with exclusive negotiating rights for Hossa were? What was the compensation going to be? My presumption is that the Blackhawks were not one of them as they did not have to give up anything after signing him.
    2) As a loyal fan, I hope for the best and can appreciate Lombardi’s openness with his plan over the past few years. Still, in analyzing his process, do you or has he even mentioned to you any potential shortcomings to his plan that will not allow the Kings to be a consistent winner (Injuries not withstanding).
    3) A little crystal balling…in 2-3 years Stoll, Williams, Smyth, and Handzus contracts are up (as well as Frolov this year). Obviously, there is free agency, but who are the current prospects that can fill some of those top six vacancies? In my mind Schenn, Loktionov, and Moller, maybe. Kinda of thin on talent, no?

  • KevinWestgarth

    Rich,

    What was Colorado asking for at the trading deadline in reference to Smyth?

  • KevinWestgarth

    Rich said,

    “Answer: Still lots of variables, but if I had to guess today, I would say Smyth-Kopitar-Williams, Frolov-Stoll-Brown, Lewis-Handzus-Simmonds, Clune-Moller-Ivanans. I might flip Lewis and Moller. Just a guess.”

    I’m shocked that I actually like your line combinations! Way to go Rich…

  • Kevin Y

    Rich, I love those four lines you gave. The first two lines can produce a lot of goals, all Kings fans have pretty much fallen in love with the Handzus-Simmonds combination (and the chance to have Trevor Lewis see some playing time on a good line like that, without having too much pressure or expectations).

    And that fourth line has… energy. I’m still not entirely convinced that a team should have a gritty tough line like that, especially if you have BOTH Ivanans and Clune down there. That line isn’t gonna score many goals, nor play an awful lot of minutes any game anyway, so at least it’s a line of three guys that aren’t a huge cap hit. But Ivanans and Clune aren’t gonna do anything except for check guys. I understand that the Kings need a couple guys that have that kind of imposing presence on the ice, even for six minutes a game, but I just feel there are much more reasonable players we can get for that 4th-line LW spot. We don’t need two PURE checkers on that line. If there’s a player that can throw his body around, yet also have a good hockey awareness.

  • Bruin26

    I thought it was interesting Rich included Clune and Ivanans on his 4th line with Moller and Lewis on the 3rd line. I know he said Moller and Lewis he could see flipped, but what I found interesting was no Purcell.

    It will be interesting to see how the lines shake out but then it always is to me. I hope they do go for a little more scoring out of the third line and use the 4th for more grit, which kinda goes with Rich’s lines with Clune and Ivanans.

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