Lots of questions, but it’s fun… Here’s the seventh set of questions and answers…
nykingfan asked: Going back to game 1 the way the Canucks came out hitting and flying, do you think the level of play surprised the Kings..especially the young kids? Even though some of them went thru the Olympic experience, I still don’t think that prepared them for what the playoffs would be like. If you talk to any of the young guys, I’d like to know what they thought of their first playoff experience and the difference they noticed between the regular season and the playoffs and if anything could have prepare them for it. Also Rich would love to read a Q&A with you and the coach and GM on what they thought of the season as a whole.
Answer: The young guys talked about it some after the first time, and Jack Johnson did on Tuesday as well. They all say that it wasn’t overwhelming, that they were prepared for it, that it was what they expected. Do I believe them? No, not entirely. The first 10 minutes of Game 1, and even Game 2, honestly, looked like a team that wasn’t really sure what it had just walked into. And I agree with you that they’re not necessarily to blame for that, that nothing in the regular season, or even the Olympics, could totally prepare them for that, especially starting the series in Vancouver. As for interviews, I think Murray pretty much covered everything he could when he addressed the media on Tuesday. I’ll definitely be setting up something with Lombardi, sooner rather than later.
Kevin asked: is there any truth to the rumor that a player in CA. can only be signed to a maximum of 7 years because of a state law? Is this why Kopi and Kobe only got 7 year deals?
Answer: I saw an email that someone sent on this as well, but I’m almost certain that sports contracts do not fall under the type of personal-service contracts that this references. Magic Johnson signed a 25-year contract with the Lakers back in the 80s. Maybe a lawyer could answer this for us, but I’ve never heard of anything like it impacting other teams.
derek Bargaehr asked: 1) your opinion: will the kings resign fro? For how much? 2) your opinion: who, if anyone , will the kings dangle as trade bait this summer? 3) who impressed you the most this season and postseason? 4) who disappointed you the most? 5) a blogger @ view from my seats recently compared kings fans to raiders fans-rowdy, rough, and generally unpleasant (this is obviously a blanket statement) as someone who attended almost every home game this season, do you feel as if that’s an accurate description? Do you think there are more 300-level tussles than other teams’ home stadiums?
Answer: 1) Believe me, if I had the power of prediction, I’d be in Las Vegas right now! Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you anything more than a guess, at least until I knew what Frolov was asking for. I’ll tell you one thing for sure. If he really is going to ask for $5 million a year, you’re probably not going to see him in a Kings uniform… 2) I don’t think they’re going to be using anyone as “trade bait.” There’s a handful of players who would probably be excluded from any trade talk, but if an offer was to come along that involved certain players/prospects, they’d listen. I can’t think of a single player who would be “dangled” by virtue of the Kings having an excess of talent at his particular position. 3) It’s easy to say Drew Doughty, but I expected that. Brad Richardson was effective and consistent. 4) Teddy Purcell had a chance to establish himself as a second-line winger but couldn’t. I really didn’t see much from Jeff Halpern, and he was a guy Lombardi thought could move up into bigger roles. 5) I’d be glad to answer, but you’re asking the wrong person. If you’ve seen where the press box is, there are few people who see less of the fan interaction in the arena than I do. In general, nothing stood out to me.
christine asked: Can you do a Q&A Session with Heidi Androl? Can you provide the music playlist used at Staples Center during Kings game?
Answers: 1) I probably owe her one, since she had me on her playoff show! 2) I really don’t have access to that. You’re probably going to want to contact Staples Center, because the gentleman who does it, Dieter Ruhle, is employed by the arena.
Silence Dogood asked: Was O’D hurt prior to the series? He was not a physical presence against the Canucks. His very weak clearing pass in Game 6 led to a goal for the ‘Nucks. He knows better than to send a weak and slow wrap around pass. Was he hurt, and that explains that pathetic pass? I have always liked O’D. His play in the series did not seem like his usual quality of play. What can you tell us?
Answer: He wasn’t injured, that I’m aware of, but that can go back to the whole “hurt vs. injured” thing. You just never know. Anyway, I’m really not going to nit-pick every bad play that every player made. If we’re being honest, a lot of players made a lot of bad little plays. A handful of them led to goals; most of them didn’t. I wouldn’t attribute any one, individual poor play or decision to an injury. In general, O’Donnell certainly did struggle in that series, but I would attribute that to the solid team speed of the Canucks. A lot of people have said that team speed is a weakness for the Kings. I agree, it is when they play the Canucks. It’s all about matchups, and that’s one of the reasons a lot of people — myself included — felt the Canucks were just a bad matchup for the Kings. They’re quick and they’re aggressive. I agree with you that O’Donnell, in general, is a quality and responsible player, but he’s also 38 years old.
Sydor25 asked: Does Quick deserve to be named the #1 before training camp? Does Doughty get an “A” on his chest next season? Will Doughty win the Norris this year?
Answers: 1) That’s already been answered by Terry Murray. Yes, he will. 2) Unless there’s a trade, I wouldn’t anticipate the alternate captains changing. 3) It wouldn’t be the most stunning thing in the world, but my gut feeling is that he will finish second behind Duncan Keith.
Sydor25 asked: I forgot one, Will FSN show a video review of the Kings season? Sort of a highlight package for the year?
Answer: I’m not aware of anything in the works on that, no.
kozak asked: How long will Zambrano be in the bullpen? Will Marmol ever become a reliable closer? How much fun did you have covering the kings this year?
Answer: He looked pretty good in his first bullpen outing, and limiting him to one inning reduces the chances that he will have that one, five-run inning that he always seems to give up. I’m not ready to give up on Marmol yet. The stuff is there, but there is maybe a feeling that he’s better suited to being a set-up guy. I had a lot of fun this year. I’ve always measured my work based on how quickly time passes in my head. I’ve always felt that if time goes by slow, you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. The last seven months just flew by. I have no idea where they went. It was a great experience.
Paul from Oxnard asked: This is more of an abstract question but it’s one I’ve wondered about since noticing this a few times this season. How come sometimes the Kings come out of the tunnel behind their bench and other times they come out of where the Zamboni enters the rink? Ok, more important questions… Do you see Teubert, Hickey, or Schenn making the Kings next year? How many picks do the Kings have in their “home draft” in June in LA? Do you have any insight on what they might be looking to pick with those selections? Any chance they package a bunch of picks and move up in the draft or trade them for picks in future drafts? Do you think Randy Jones and Raittis Ivanans have been as bad as most Kings fans think they have been? If the Kings say it’s open competition in training camp next year between Bernier and Quick, what does that say about Terry Murray riding Quick for so many games this year? If Quick really is a #1 goalie, Bernier shouldn’t be getting a shot at the job right? Why create a goalie controversy where there wasn’t one? And finally, and probably most important: Lionel Messi or Wayne Rooney? Which is better?
Answers: 1) Are you talking about home games or road games? For road games, it depends on the setup of the arena and where the locker room/bench/Zamboni entrance is located. They go with whatever is closest to the ice. At home games, they enter from the corner entrance before the game, so they can use that “castle” thing. 2) Teubert, no. Hickey, only if he stays healthy and has a fantastic camp. Schenn, possibly, but given his salary he would have to be able to hold down more than a fourth-line role, I would think. 3) I believe the Kings have one first-round pick, two second-round picks, two third-round picks, one fourth-round pick, one fifth-round pick, one sixth-round pick and one seventh-round pick (sorry, Columbus). It’s impossible to predict who they will pick, and it’s always possible that the Kings will move around in the draft. Given Dean Lombardi’s track record, in fact, it’s probable. 4) Well, I don’t know what the consensus is. That presumes that “most fans” think they’ve been bad. I didn’t see much from Randy Jones this year. Raitis Ivanans, from what I’ve seen, takes way too much grief for a fourth-line enforcer with a very narrowly defined skill set. 5) Murray has said it’s not an open competition in training camp. 6) I’ve yet to see Rooney in person, but I saw Messi last year at the Rose Bowl and he was the best player I’ve ever seen. His ball control is just phenomenal.
EternalOptimist asked: Rich, have you attended a draft before? What was the experience like? If it is open to the public, when will ticket info be available?
Answer: No, I’ve never attended/covered a draft before, so I’m definitely looking forward to that experience. I’m hoping that the media has some access to the floor, because I think that would be a lot of fun, to see what it’s like during the draft. The draft is open to the public. Free tickets are being distributed to Kings season-ticket holders and some youth hockey players, and the Kings are soon expected to announce how and when tickets will be available to the general public.
Rene asked: I guess this more of a question for an NHL coach or player but here it goes. Could Terry Murray have double shifted Doughty in place of one of our struggling D? Is there a concern of wearing out a player kind of like a pitcher on a pitch count? I just feel a Doughty at 70% can make better decisions than a player that is clearly struggling.
Answer: Well, he could have played him 60 minutes, but yes, it’s absolutely unwise to put a player on the ice for excessive minutes. For a defenseman, 30 minutes is considered the upper limits, and Doughty averaged 27:26 during the playoffs.
Joel asked: Have you been getting a sense about where the lakingsinsider blog ranks among the NHL as it relates to activity and blog participation? I would assume your site is more active than most, if not all, sites. Also, have you heard whether other franchises are planning to employ a beat writer? I would think they would have to follow the Kings’ lead considering how popular this site is.
Answer: I’ve yet to see the specific numbers, but from what I understand, the blog and the LAKings.com website, in general, did very, very well this year. It’s really up to the Kings to release that information, but thanks to the support of all you readers, it’s been a great year. I really haven’t heard if any other teams have plans to do something similar. It’s certainly a model that I believe can work, but it has to be under the right circumstances. I was fortunate to have a long-term relationship with the Kings, based on my coverage at the Daily News, and both sides, I believe, were very comfortable with each other and with the expectations for the new venture. If a team and a writer can feel the same way, I would absolutely encourage it. It’s been a great experience for me.
Russ asked: Our 4th line seem to be in question quite frequently over the past season. If you were DL or TM for that matter, which players (any player in the league including manchester) would solidify that role Also, what do you think of TM’s constant line changing coaching style?
Answers: 1) Well, you have to start with the fact that Murray has consistently said that he wants an “enforcer” type player in the lineup. I don’t have a problem with that, but given that those types of players have to play limited minutes, I think the other two players on that line need to be versatile. They need to be hard-nosed players, but also have the ability to skate and contribute, albeit in a much lesser role than a top-six forward. I like Rich Clune in that role, and a guy who had a cameo with the Kings, Marc-Andre Cliche, might be able to fill that center role if the Kings feel they want Brad Richardson in a higher-profile role.Jeff Halpern was supposed to solidify that spot, but I just don’t think he did. 2) Honestly, I think too much is made of it. Did he tinker a lot? Yes, but so do a lot of coaches, and if he left the lineup intact during a four-game losing streak, there would be just as many people complaining about him doing nothing. The only thing that I wonder about is the mental aspect for the players. Murray changed the lines before each of the last three playoff games, I believe. Does that motivate the team, or does it create a sense of panic? It probably depends on how each player looks at it.