November 19, 2009 12:25 pm

Open forum answers VII

With the Kings players taking their scheduled day off from practice today, I’ll dip back into the Open Forum questions and answers and, hopefully, finish them today. Here’s the next set…

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Question: I would like to know what the organization feels is their weakest link in the chain. What do they believe is hindering the team from becoming an elite team?

Answer: Well, I think Kings management would answer that by saying that all the pieces are there, and it’s just a matter of whether they develop properly. Secondary scoring is an issue right now. Will players such as Moller, Loktionov, Schenn, etc., develop properly and provide it. Goaltending is still an issue. Who (if anyone) will step up, out of the quartet of Quick, Ersberg, Bernier and Zatkoff (don’t forget Jones too) and prove to be an elite No. 1 goalie. But, long term, I would say those two things — depth among NHL forwards and a clear No. 1 goalie — would be the two biggest issues right now.

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Question: 1) If you could make the kings line up for the majority of the games, how will that line up look (assuming everyone is healthy)? 2) Do you think that Purcell has had a fair chance/time to prove his worth on the kings? I just think this is another mismanagement of talent very much like Boyle.

Answer: Do I get to call up players from Manchester? Because I think I would go with: Smyth-Kopitar-Williams, Moller-Stoll-Brown, Frolov-Handzus-Simmonds, Parse-Richardson-Ivanans. That’s not a dig on Parse, by the way. I like his game and he should stay in the lineup, but I’d be interested to see if Moller could bring some scoring. 2) I’d have to disagree there. With Boyle, I thought there was some inconsistency with the way management/coaches treated him. With Purcell, it seems to me that it’s been pretty clear, and he hasn’t been able to put it together yet. They like his potential, which is why they keep playing him — even on the power play — but it’s just not there on a consistent basis right now.

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Question: My question is primarily for Dean, regarding Frolov. My wife and I talked to Dean during pre-game at the last Dallas away game. Quite a guy, good conversation, and he really cares about the fans. Anyways, he talked about Alex not fully fitting in with the “personal team concept” they are trying to build. Do you (and/or Dean) feel that getting a high profile Russian ex-player (like Igor Larionov) into the personnel or coaching staff would affect Frolov, and his team-related environment? Since Alex is the only Russian player currently on the team, it might be good to have that Russian connection in place. Also, this could benefit our Russian prospects about to come up from Manchester. Would appreciate your thoughts.

Answer: I think that’s a dangerous precedent for one player. Kopitar is the only Slovenian, For instance, Ivanans is the only Latvian and Handzus is the only Slovakian. Should they ask for a countryman to be added to the coaching staff as well? Larionov has been unofficially mentoring the younger Russians, and doing a good job of it, but I really think that hiring an official mentor would do the opposite of bringing Frolov closer to the team. It would give him one person to relate to, instead of trying to relate to the 20 guys he should be relating to. I definitely see where you’re going with that, though, and it’s an interesting thought. Probably better for a younger guy.

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Question: What did Ron Hextall say to Jonathan Quick during their closed door meeting on Saturday in Tampa? Whatever it was, it had a very favorable impact.

Answer: Hextall didn’t want to share particulars, but from what Hextall did say, it seems it was more about staying mentally sharp than any technical parts of Quick’s game. Maybe a little bit of a pep talk. Maybe something stronger than that.

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Questions: I’m just curious about a former Kings draft pick that was playing very well in Jrs and in Europe. I know he played one period a few years ago. What ever happened to goalie Pauli Jaks? I remember him winning player of the tournament when he played for Switzerland and was highly touted, but he just fell off the radar. Also, any way you can asked the players how they chose to play the positions they play now?

Answers: 1) A scan of hockeydb.com reveals that after his two-period stint with the Kings, Jaks returned to Switzerland for the 1996-97 season and played there through the 2005-07 season, with a brief stint in Russia as well. 2) Another good story suggestion…thanks.

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Question: I think we need to see you and Jim Fox – fox chalk Kopis pre-drink ritual. One squirt over the left shoulder one over the the right, then he is cleared to take a drink from the water bottle.

Answer: That’s a good one. Have they not done that on TV? I really might suggest that.

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Question: Why don’t the Kings call up Richard Clune? Our 4th line is the softest in the NHL.

Answer: Well, that’s certainly a legit opinion, but it’s not one shared by Kings management, it seems, and until they see a reason to make a change it’s doubtful that you’re going to see Rich Clune in the NHL for a while.

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Question: Can you tell me why Kopitar has tinted shield ( visor )?

Answer: Many players do it to counter the glare of the arena lights. I haven’t asked Kopitar, specifically, if that’s why he wears one, but that seems to be the usual reason.

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Question: Why did we not spend an extra million or two to get a defenceman that can play the pt on the PP freeing up our 2nd line centre to be able to play 2nd line PP and also aid in generating a secondary offensive attack? No secondary scoring yet our 2nd line centre plays first line PP. Puzzles me me beyond belief. Thoughts on why management was unwilling to spend when they knew our roster was full of defensive defenceman?

Answer: Lombardi was looking for a left-shot, puck-moving defenseman in training camp and didn’t find one, at least not for the right price. The Kings think they got what they were looking for with Randy Jones.

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Question: How are Drew Doughty’s teeth? How is Jarret Stoll’s arthritis?

Answer: I think Doughty’s teeth made it, although I’m not sure if he’s going to require more dental work. Stoll’s arthritis is being controlled by medication, but he’s probably going to need to take the medication for the rest of the season. Last report was that he has some good days, some bad days, and that it’s often worse in the mornings.

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Question: Now that the season is about a quarter done, do the Kings have an idea what the salary cap will be doing next year. Will it stay the same, go up or down?

Answer: No idea. Estimates are that it might go down slightly, or stay about the same.

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Question: Could interview guys like Nelson Emerson, Mike O’Connell or maybye co-Directors of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti, Michael Yuta and ask them how our prospects are doing?

Answer: Yes, another good idea, thanks.

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Question: Seems like Dustin Brown is not looking for that “big hit” and / or hitting as much as he has in the past. Is this change in play due to something TM and the Kings coaching staff is trying to change?

Answer: Brown is third in the NHL in hits, overall, so it’s certainly not a matter of him not hitting. It’s hard to imagine that coaches will tell Brown not to go for a “big hit.” More likely, it’s just an evolution in his game. The big hits, in which both players go sprawling, are often much less effective than a hit that allows the hitter to stay in the play. That’s just my theory on the matter.

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