Ask Jim Fox, part 1

As I start to get back into the flow of a normal existence, I’ll start posting the questions and answers that Jim Fox has graciously taken the time to answer. As always, Jim is candid and comprehensive in his answers, so I hope you enjoy the first set of answers…

———-

Geoff said:
Hi Jim,
I recall a couple years ago Bob Miller making an unfortunate mispronunciation of Esa Pirnes’ name that resulted in a protracted silence afterwards. When the commentary resumed, Pirnes dumped the puck, and Bob said “Pirnes drives it in deep,” which was followed by another elongated silence. I’m guess that in this case the “cough button” was being used as a “Laughing Uncontrollably Button.” Is that about right, or is my own warped sense of humor reading too much into things?

Geoff:
Yes, Yes and No!

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Elie said:
Jim, I saw you on crutches last week at the Kings development camp, what happened to you?

Elie:
Thanks for the concern…I had a hip problem that dates back to the playing days…finally decided to do something about it…I had hip surgery on June 25th…Dr. Millstein cleaned out the right hip…I should be off crutches this week (July 23rd I see the doctor)…by the way…I had the surgery done at D.I.S.C. in Marina Del Rey…the facility was outstanding…1st class all the way!

—–

Brooklyn King said:
Hi Jim?Firstly I’d like to thank you for lending us your ear, and taking the time to answer a few questions.??1) Why is Kings management so averse to doing a real throwback uniform? Being an old school guy, I’d love to see the Forum blue and gold come back and be done right. That includes the gold or forum blue lids. Also, in the same vein, what is the fascination with the color black in the uniform? It’s more than a little played out at this point, with just about every team having a black jersey. Personally I’d like to see a little more of our real colors being shown.
2) Do you ever get on the ice with the Kings players during the offseason for a pick up game?
3) And finally, is Daryl Evans able to crush cars with his bare hands? Thanks for all the great work Jim. Whenever I hear you and Bob talking about the Kings, it’s like coming home.

Brooklyn:
Re the uniforms…that is a question for marketing…I assume that the “Black” was decided upon because it seems to be the “universal color” when it comes to sports uniforms…I would have preferred something with the purple and gold too…when I played in the purple and gold, many people around the league did not like the colors…now, when I speak to schools, I bring along all of the jerseys the Kings have worn over the years…I ask the kids what jersey the like best…more times than not they pick the purple and gold…kind of makes me feel good when I hear that…
…I don’t skate much anymore…once in a while I’ll play in a “charity game”…once or twice a year I try to get out with the Alumni…
…I assume Daryl can crush cars with his bare hands because every time I see him, he has a new car…
…Thanks for the kind words…

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Buck said:
Hello Jim,
Many moons ago, we had lunch at the Forum club and the topic turned to whether or not it would be a good idea to add a second referee. As I recall, you were adamantly opposed to it. Now that some time has gone by with having more than one ref, has your view point changed on the matter? If so, how?
Thank you so much for taking the time to answers our questions?

Buck:
My opinion has turned around…completely…in the past I felt the referee needed to have control of the game by being able to “manage” it…that would have made it more difficult with two guys “managing” at the same time… there was an 8 to 10 year period where things became “tackle football” on ice…the stars were neutralized by marginal players taking advantage of the rules…now, the stars can do their thing…I think a big part of that is two sets of eyes watching instead of just one and an emphasis from the NHL to open things up and let the skilled players do their thing…everyone involved in any sport always asks that the referees be as consistent as possible…I think that the NHL has done a great job of making that happen,…even with two referees…they have made the rules as “black and white” as possible…this takes away from the “managing” part of the game for the referees, but it goes a long way to improve the consistency…I love the new rule changes as far as opening up the game…the game needed that…and with the increasing speed of the game and the need to see as much as possible, the 2 referee system has been a big improvement…

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anonandonanon said:
Are we there yet? Is this team going to be competative? Black hole, better than Black hole or worse? Could you comment on pieces/parts you can’t wait to see together. Thanks Jim

Anonandonanon:
I think the personnel has improved from last year…not many “impact” pieces have left and the acquisition of Smyth and Scuderi bring 2 impact players to the lineup…both guys do not need to change their game…they need to play the way they have for years…Scuderi’s style is be a simple “shut-down” defenseman…many time this is not thought of as an “impact” role…but if you are as effective as Scuderi, then the impact is invaluable…
…a few keys and question marks…they may be the same thing…have to start in goal…Quick did everything he could to be a #1 guy a on a league level (not just with the Kings)…but he is still the number 1 question mark…consistency means a high level over a long period of time…he did it last year…I need to see more of him…I definitely like what I see so far…just need to see more…
…Anze Kopitar is a big key…the position of center is key to any team…can he be the 2-way force that is needed from that position…he took strides last year to “round out” his game…still need to see more intensity in shut-down situations…most if not all of his career (NHL and before) he has been counted on as the “offensive” guy…now he is being asked to do more…I think it boils down to how you expend your energy…in the past, because of the situations he was put in, he conserved energy so that when he had the puck, he could attack…now he is starting to realize, that if you want to be a #1 centerman, you need to expend energy with and without the puck…he is a “more than solid” player now…but, if he is going to be a #1 center at a league level (not just with the Kings), he has to add a defensive intensity level to his game at certain points of a game…that is why there is so
much focus on his conditioning…
…I feel the other key is Justin Williams…scoring was an issue last year (understandable with the much needed extra focus on defensive play)…Williams can be the guy who adds that little extra offense…his 10-20 foot quickness will be a key to creating more offense…his ability to get to loose pucks and keep plays alive may be is biggest asset…the Kings need that from him…
…as far as who plays with who…still too early to tell, but if Smyth does his thing and Williams gets back to 100%, then the offensive punch will be much more powerful and will compliment the returning guys…it’s always interesting to see who Frolov…his style makes him difficult to adapt to at times…but…when his is on his game, I don’t think there is a better forward on the Kings…
…Jack Johnsons’ progression will be interesting to watch…I guess the thing I look forward to most is Drew Doughty and who he will be paired with…I think Doughty is so versatile, that if the Kings need a goal, he can be out there with a guy like Johnson…if the Kings are holding a lead, Doughty can be out their with a Scuderi…I think the biggest thing for Jack is to be himself…he doesn’t have to be a Drew Doughty type of player to be effective…he is so strong…use that defensively…don’t look to attack until he completes his defensive one work first…I’m not sure he understands how important that can be and how effective he can be in that area…his skating allows him to do so many things, but defense comes first, especially when a player is as strong as Jack…

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Mr. Nuff said:
Hey Jim,
First I’d like to thank you for your half of the best commentating tandem in the NHL.
Secondly, I would like your take on Frolov. It seems to me this guy gets singled out for consistancy by Lombardi and Murray. ?My take is that while it’s true he has room for improvement to reach his potential, so do most of his teammates. I feel he is a very valuable part of the team and arguably the most offensively talented player on an offensively starved team. I hope they make extending his contract a priority but, it doesn’t appear to be based on statements DL has made.
What is your take on Frolov? Do you get the same impression that he is often in the dog house? Do you think DL will sign him to a new contract?

Mr. Nuff:
…Thanks for the compliment…
…as far as Frolov goes…I do think he is the Kings most effective forward when he is on his game…I think that in the past there have been times when the criticism of his inconsistency has been overblown, but I also think that there are times when it is warranted…one thing for sure…if the Kings are going to be a playoff team, any discussion of his consistency must go away…the only way to make that happen lies with Fro…his commitment off the ice as far as conditioning has to be second to none…on the ice, he can be difficult to play with because his style involves keeping the puck and protecting it down low…no problem there, but if you are a line mate, it takes a while to adapt…you have to give Frolov his space to do his stuff…when that happens, it is easy to let your own game stagnate…he is a goal scorer, but he is not a shooter…I do think he has been well schooled as a youngster and is as smart a two-way player the Kings have…bottom line…he does have to be more committed and consistent…
…many times, signing a player has more to do with on-ice issues…especially under the cap…and no matter how much a team is under the cap, you always have to fit the signing of players into a longer term philosophy…I assume other teams have inquired about Alex…if so, you have to look at the offers…I assume the Kings have already assigned Frolov a “value”…negotiations can give everyone a better understanding of the odds of signing him…
…there have been many times where Frolov appears to be in the “dog house”…keep in mind, this has been the case now under 3 coaches, so I think Alex has to take most of the responsibility here…he has rarely played on the top line…he has rarely been given #1 power play time…and he still ends up at the top in goals…he is a talent, that is not in question…

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Mike said:
Jim,
With Scuderi signing, people are wondering if he will wear #4. Some people feel that the Kings are “reserving” that number to be retired at some point because of Blake. Do you think the Kings have plans to retire this number? Do you personally think it should be retired?

Mike:
…Scuderi is slated to wear #7…
…the Rob Blake issue is one of the most difficult I have ever encountered…I played in a different time than Rob… the business dynamics of the game have changed so much since then…I have also got to know Rob personally and I respect him as a gentleman, teammate and family man…
…I still find myself thinking about issues based on the “business rules” when I played…I know many fans do the same… …he also left the team twice in his career (once a trade with contract issues/once as a free agent) and that makes it a tough call…he has upset many loyal Kings fans…when you are talking about retiring a players number, that has to be taken into consideration…I will never condemn a player for taking advantage of his right as a free agent…the player must look after himself and his family…too tough to make a call on at this time…I think a little time will go by after he retires and everyone can take a look back and make a more objective decision…
…when I think quickly about this issue, 2 players come to mind…Goring and Nicholls…just throwing those names out there…

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20lucfan said:
hey jim,?what are some of your game day rituals preping for a night in the booth? do you eat any specific meal? do you wear a special undershirt? as a player did you have any superstitions? also, what arena did you like better? staples or the forum? what about the best and worst arenas/experiences on the road?

20lucfan:
…as a broadcaster I have a few rituals I go through, but not as many as I did as a player…when I look back, I wish I did not put as much thought into rituals or superstitions…worry about the things you can control is the best way…”easier said than done”…as a player, I let things get too carried away at times…worrying about getting to a certain intersection at a certain time on the drive to a game at the Forum…try to do that 41 times in L.A. traffic…like many players, I dressed the same way every game…same routine in the warm up…I guess it was all about feeling as comfortable as possible…whatever it takes…looking back on things, I never really accomplished the goals I set for myself or for the team, so maybe I should have changed up the rituals/superstitions…they didn’t really work anyway…
…as a broadcaster, most of them deal with preparing for the next game…I still keep the same mentality that I had as a player…the old “one game at a time” thing…I try not to get too far ahead of myself when the season starts…I do things like taking the same path once I get to STAPLES Center…same routine at the press meal…some things, but not as bad as when I was a player…
…even though I played at the Forum, I think STAPLES is a better venue…the memoires of the Forum are still vivid in my mind…but…the modernization of STAPLES Center makes it a better place to be as a player and broadcaster…our location at STAPLES is great…top 5 in the league…
…best on the road…the old Forum in Montreal and the new building in Montreal (Bell Center)…loved playing in the old Boston Garden…nothing like the national anthem at the old Chicago Stadium (didn’t like the cockroaches in the dressing room though)…worst on the road…it has gotten better, but Madison Square Garden is not that efficient for broadcasters…

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macdup said:
Who are some of the other color and play-by-tandems you look up to? Is there website you guys use to gather information about visiting teams? i watched a lot of Kings games last year and was only able to hear the visiting announcers and they all seem to say the same thing about the Kings each game. I think Kings Vision needs to get Daryl Evans one of the Bob Barker (Price is Right) microphones to do his interviews. Daryl always looks like he is going to crush the Mic and and seeing him with one of these thin dainty things would be hilarious. Keep up the good work.
Dave

Dave:
…I think there are many great combos out there…if I had to pick one, it would be Ralph Strangis and Darryl Reaugh in Dallas…Ralph does a great job with the play-by-play…works so well with and sets up Darryl so well…Darryl is a little “unique” in his style (especially his vocabulary), but I think he has the perfect mix of information and entertainment…
…Daryl Evans must think the microphone is a fork…you should see him eat…
…thanks for the kind words…

—–

Brian said:
Foxy:
Based on what you may have seen and heard at the recent Rookie Development Camp, who do you think will nail down the few slots left for the team.
Also, what do you think of the new higher quality Rose Wines that are popping up? Finally, Syrah or Shiraz or Petite Syrah versus Cabernet? Thanks!
Brian in HB

Brian:
…I have to take a “pass’ on the development camp…I has just had hip surgery and didn’t see much at all…the one name that I heard was “Hickey”…there are a few young defensemen on the Kings already, but most everyone thought Hickey was a notch above the rest…
…love the Rose wines…I agree, much higher quality and attention being given to the Rose wines the last couple of years…I had a Rose from “Fisher Vineyards”, Spring Mountain, Sonoma County last fall…loved it…
…most Australian Shiraz is too “candy-like” for me…finding a good Petit Syrah has been difficult…Syrah seems to be the best for me right now (although you didn’t ask about Zinfandel)…if I had a choice, I would go with a Syrah/Grenache “Rhone Blend” from France)…I love to experience some of that old world “earthiness” as well as ripe fruit…but when this all goes against a well made Cabernet…Cab is tough to beat…”Shafer” “Hillside Select” is one of the best Cabs I have ever had (their “One Point Five” Is not bad either)…

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kasket said:
Hi Jim,
What are the chances the kings will make the playoffs this year. If they do how far do they go.
Thanks Jim

Kasket:
…the chances are better this year than any of the last 6 or 7…mostly additions and few subtractions from the roster as far as impact players go as compared to last year…keys will be Quick (or Bernier)…Kopitar (true #1 or not)…Johnson’s health and understanding of his strengths…Williams’ production impact of the offense…in the east, the Kings would be in…the west is still tougher through the top 11-12 teams…playoffs are realistic for the first time in a while…how far…I’ll tackle that one when the time comes…let’s hope it’s this year…

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Mike T. said:
Hi Jim,
First off, I’d like to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Kings throughout the years.
1. I remember Bob saying that he’s waiting for the Kings to pick up that 50 goal scorer at the end of last season. What is your take on the Rob Scuderi and Ryan Smyth pickups so far? Smyth really isn’t that 50 goal scorer, but he’s that left wing that Brown and Kopitar had on their Christmas list.
2. I personally believe that with the current roster, the Kings have no excuse to miss the playoffs. This assumption is based on them staying healthy and playing a notch up from last season. What do you think about that?
3. My wife loves Cabernet. Any suggestions under $100/bottle?

Mike T:
…thanks for the kind words…
…I don’t think Smyth is a “pure goal scorer”, but it is obvious he brings other things to the table…no doubt he can finish, but I don’t consider him a shooter and I don’t expect his numbers to rise dramatically…he will lead the way to the front of the net…he has done it against the Kings for so many years, finally he can do it for the Kings…if there are some Kings who need to figure out how to “battle”, they can learn from Smyth…
…Scuderi is a great add…the Kings have made a relatively big transition over the last 2 years on the blueline, so I settle down guy like Scuderi will be a huge plus…he has been in so many “close-out/shut down” situations, under pressure…the Kings went through the learning process last year of holding leads…Scuderi will provide the “hands on” example for the other defensemen…
…I think that the west is extremely difficult to break into the top 8…it is not a given…but…it is time…I have mentioned keys in previous answers…Quick/Johnson/Kopitar/Williams…I wouldn’t put it in terms of “excuses if they don’t”…but it is a realistic expectation that the kings do make the playoffs…
…wow…as much as $100…that gets you a good bottle of Cabernet…I have tasted the following…”Forman”…”Philip Togni”…”Shafer/One Point Five”…”Stag’s Leap Cellars”/FAY Estate”…if you can work in a blend…try “Tignanello” (Super Tuscan that may include Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese/Cabernet Franc)…that’s a brief list…as I mentioned, for $100, you are going to get a good wine…

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SuperSonic420 said:
Thanks Rich and Jim for putting this together.
Foxy! You and Bob are the best in the business, without a doubt!! I was wondering, how you see the player’s mentality changing about being part of the organization? In the past, LA just seemed to be a stopping ground until they could go on to Detroit or New York and become stars. Do you see that attitude changing in the locker room, with these players wanting to make their own history and start a tradition of winning in LA?
Thanks again!

SuperSonic420:
…thanks so much for the kind words…
…I have been with the Kings since 1980 and the same question has been asked for all of those years…what is it like to play in L.A…are there too many distractions…there is a special challenge playing in L.A., but it has more to do with travel than anything else…and I’m not only talking about the physical toll of travel…when you talk about “attitude”, things like time away from home, time away from your children, things like that all apply…I think that was proven wrong during the early 90′s when the team went to the finals…but the question is a valid one…I do see a change in the last year…last summer when I was asked this question, the honest answer was, free agents don’t want to come to L.A. because they don’t think the Kings are playoff contenders…as the Kings have gone through the rebuilding process of the last few years, they have kept a core that has grown together…this has made a difference…the area I notice it most is this year’s reaction of “free agents” and their view of the Kings…now…Scuderi just wins a Stanley Cup and he signs with the Kings…good sign…even though he was not a free agent, Ryan Smyth waived a no trade clause to join the Kings…another good sign…if this continues, then it will be more good things for the kings in the years to come…
…thanks again for your compliment…

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JPKelly said:
Hey Jim,
Have you ever seen anyone with a LA Kings tattoo on their butt? If so, what did it look like?
Thanks!
John Paul Kelly

JPKelly
…have not seen one yet…I have not been looking that hard for one…if I do see one, I’ll let you know…

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JDM said:
Jim,
Do you think that it is easier or tougher in today’s NHL for diminutive players to break on to an NHL roster than it was when you were playing? Do you secretly pull for the ‘little’ guys like Azevedo, Kozun, Roe and Moller? How do you think the changes made over the years have helped or hurt shorter players?
Aside from the general lip-service we get on changing the hockey culture in LA (players are staying in LA to train together), are there any particular changes you have noticed amongst the players, fans or management in the last 2 years that indicate development in this area?
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what happened to hockey hair? Can you please let the players know we want to see some flowing locks on the ice? Perhaps you can subversily convince the more supersticious players that with great hair, comes great success!
Thanks for your time Jim, and thank you Rich for putting this together. I look forward to the answers!

JDM:
…first of all, if 2 players are tied as far as effectiveness, you go with the big guy…having said that, most teams have adjusted how much weight they put on the importance of size…quickness is a bigger factor in today’s game…the rules have changed to open up the game, so the little guy can be a big part of things…I don’t think it’s much different from when I played…there was a span of about 10 years of so (’90′s early 200′s) where size was a bigger issue…same thing applies now as when I played…if you are small, you better produce offensive numbers or you will be replaced by a bigger guy…
…I don’t put much thought into a player’s size as far a “secretly pulling” for the smaller guys…I didn’t put much thought into my size when I was playing…
…as far as a change in “hockey culture”…there has been more of an emphasis put on development…more specialization in helping players learn the Kings system and improve their individual skills…yes, more players than ever are coming to L.A. in the summer to train…that is a good sign…it is only part of the puzzle, but it is a start…
…the hair is so important…I don’t usually offer advice to players, but you are right…I will move the “hair” issue up to number one on my list…
…thanks so much for the kind words…

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  • Marko

    AWESOME! perfect late July hockey fix. thanks Jim & Rich

  • RenokingsFan

    Hey Rich I’ve tried to sign up for this blog many times, and it always says that I’m invalid when I try to log in, so I tried to open a new one and it says username is taken yet when I try log in it doesn’t work?

  • dmh012

    I have the same problem logging in

  • Good2BKings

    I love Jim’s insight into the Kings; however, his take on wine leaves me scratching my head. Anyone who refers to Australian Shiraz as “candy-like” should not be commenting on wine. I would like to give Foxy the benefit of the doubt, but I would have to know how he defines “candy-like” as a descriptor of wine.

  • Paul from Oxnard

    Two more questions for Jim: Are you on Twitter or Facebook or any of those other “social networking” sites? Also, why isn’t there a Jim Fox Kings blog? I know it would be the 1st blog I read every day, or at least after I read this one. :D

  • Brian in HB

    For Good2BKings, I think what Fox says about “Candy Like” Shiraz is explained pretty well here:

    http://oenophiles.com/p41899-types-of-wine-shiraz-wines.cfm

    He likely knows what he is talking about as it seems he takes wine as seriously as hockey, and we can’t argue about the hockey knowledge. Hope this helps.

  • darko25o

    YOURE AWESOME FOXY, CLASS ACT ALL THE WAY!

  • Matt George

    Thanks again Rich and Jim,

    as far as the Blue and Gold uniforms … let’s just hope there’s a very large block of cement on that grave.

  • Cricket

    Good2BKings,

    Just my two cents. I think of sweetness when I hear “candy-like.” Shiraz can be on the sweet side, and so his answer made sense to me. Zinfandels can be overly sweet too, where “candy-like” would really be an apt description. I’ve heard the term “fruit bomb” get thrown at some Zins, and I agree. The Rombauer 05 is an example of one that was so sweet I wanted to gag. I actually didn’t drink another Zin for months. It was weird, because the 04 was much dryer and really good.

  • jet

    Good2BKings — Jim had answered too many questions and intended his “candy-like” response to be credited to the Ducks announcers.

  • KingsFanInReno

    This a test, I figured it out Didn’t know confirmation was needed. It’s letting me login now

  • marc

    Re: Blake jersey retirement,

    It’s probably too soon to even discuss it with all the bad feelings still there. But don’t forget that both Gretzky & Dionne didn’t leave the Kings on the best of terms. And what about Patrick Roy in Montreal? Nobody could’ve left a team on worse terms than he did and they still retired his jersey.

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