November 19, 2009 1:48 pm

Open forum answers VIII

Another set of the open forum questions and answers…

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Question: Why did Murray switched JJ to play with OD now since in the beginning JJ was playing with Scuderi?

Answer: It’s probably more about Doughty than Johnson. At times, Terry Murray likes O’Donnell to pair with Doughty because O’Donnell provides a certain protection if teams are looking to target Doughty. Problem is, Doughty plays huge minutes, and last season O’Donnell had a little trouble keeping up at times. Of course, Johnson’s minutes are just about as high this season, so that’s not a perfect explanation, but I think it has more to do with finding the right fit for Doughty.

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Question: What is the Kings’ record when they wear the third jersey? It seems like they have a higher winning percentage when they wear it and it looks so much better than their regular jersey.

Answer: I don’t think that stat is kept, so someone would have to go off memory. It seems to me that they might be 2-0 in the black jerseys this season? I could be wrong on that.

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Question: One more question Ive always wondered about, when it comes to players contracts-is there a secured Database the NHL has for all GMs they can use and access when making player trade/movement decisions? It didnt matter much back in the day but now with the cap and trade clauses it plays a huge role in a GMs decision. Is there an official NHL website they use as reference?

Answer: The Kings have a database. His name is Jeff Solomon, the man in charge of all the contracts. People like Jeff are hired specifically for the reason you mention, because of all the factors that go into GMs’ decision-making in the “new NHL” era. I don’t believe there’s a website for them to access, but I can assure you that at a moment’s notice, Solomon would know a team’s cap situation or a player’s contract figure.

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Question: In a recent story on Luc’s Hall of Fame career, AEG’s resident hockey expert Tim Leiweke took a thinly veiled swipe at former GM Dave Taylor and opined on how it was a mistake that Robitaile was traded away the second time. But didn’t AEG pressure Taylor to unload most of the high salaried talent during his reign? I thought it strange that for years Taylor operated with his hands tied and Leiweke’s voice in his ear to cut costs and when he did he hears about it years later in a revisionist historical context.

Answer: Well, I’m not doubting what you read, but I’d want to see the actual quote, particularly since Robitaille was never traded from the Kings a second time. I’d like to see that quote, if you have it. If you happened to catch the Q&A I did with Luc a couple months back, on the Daily News blog, Luc talked about his disappointment about not being re-signed by the Kings. He made it sound — and I’m paraphrasing — as though he simply got shown the door, not that there was dispute about salary. As always, there are two or three or four sides to every story. If Leiweke, in general, was calling out Taylor for not spending money, there would certainly be quite a bit of irony in that statement, but I’m not sure that was the case here.

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Question: Hey Rich. Could you find out about Richard Clune? How is he doing in Manchester? Are there plans for him to come up?I know Terry was very high on him during camp and I haven’t heard much since his injury. I think he would be a good piece for that fourth line. THanks for all of your hard work. It is greatly appreciated.

Answer: Touched on this earlier, but I don’t think you’ll see Clune until/unless the Kings think there’s a reason to alter the fourth line. I know there’s a lot of debate about this, but the only voices that are going to impact things belong to Lombardi and Murray.

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Question: Any word on AEG selling the Kings? I know there were whispers of a potential minority deal with the Boston Celtics’ owners a while back so curious if with the Kings’ success talks have revived? Now that AEG’s master plan of downtown development is well on its way to completion, it would seem better to sell the team while it’s on the way up.

Answer: Well, you’re right, and there were certainly more than “whispers” about a deal with the Celtics’ group. It was being talked about, but it didn’t go through. You present a really interesting theory there, but I haven’t heard anything in quite a while about any type of sale.

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Question: When do the contracts expire for Luc, Lombardi and Coach Murray and his staff? Any insight as to whether contract talks are continuing during the season, if the coaches will be extended and if Luc will replace DL as GM or if DL wants to stay until the Cup comes to L.A. (if it is even his choice, that is)?

Answer: Both Lombardi and Murray are under contract through the 2010-11 season. Luc, as team president, I have no idea what his contract is. Assistant coaches, I believe — although I could be wrong — are typically on one-year contracts. I doubt you’ll hear any talks about contract extensions during this season, since there’s still a year to go for those guys, and I can’t imagine Lombardi wanting to leave any time in the near future.

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Question: How did goons like Ivanans get to be fighters when it is outlawed at every level of organized hockey growing up until the minor development leagues? Was he just a slow skater who kept growing and figured that if he hung on until the minor leagues he could punch his ticket to the NHL (no pun intended) as a fighter?

Answer: Ivanans, in particular, didn’t play junior hockey in North America. He started out, at age 18 or 19, in the United Hockey League, then bounced around the CHL (Central Hockey League), the ECHL and the AHL until Montreal, and later the Kings, picked him up.

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Questions: 1. How has the new job been, compared to what you expected? 2. What has been the reaction from Management to your work? 3. When they announce the 3 stars of the game, it is announced “as selected by the Media”. Who is it that is involved in the selection process?

Answers: 1) It’s been more like getting back on the bike. The biggest thing is the travel, and being around the team on a daily basis, which is something I hadn’t done for four years. It was more like, “OK, I remember what this was like.” I could get into minutiae that would really bore you, such as how much time I have to write and that sort of thing, but in general it’s gone as well as I could have possibly hoped. 2) I wish your question was a little more specific. First, who do you consider “management” and two, what type of reaction? If you’re asking if anyone can come up to me with a negative reaction to something I have written, the answer is no. Beyond that, it’s hard for me to speak to people’s opinion of my work, but I’d say the feedback I have received is good, and I have a great working relationship with the communications staff and the website staff. 3) It varies from city to city. Florida was the first arena in which, as a writer, I’d ever been handed a slip to vote for three stars. Some teams rotate it, some teams have the radio guys do it…so yeah, it varies. I have never selected.

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