September 17, 2010 2:57 pm

Forum answers II

Here’s the second set of questions and answers…

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buzzing asked: I’m wondering if were gonna hear louder boo’s for Kovalchuk or Malkin or who will be the hero hitter.

Amswer: I’m guessing the boos will be louder for Kovalchuk. Takes a longer, stronger memory on Malkin.

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jayhay asked: i’m hoping Parse gets off to a fast start, however, if Parse starts the season slow on the 2nd line LW, how long of a leash will he be given (in your opinion)? who would be your guess to get the 2nd opportunity? And, yes or no, do the kings improve on 5 on 5 scoring this year?

Answer: I wouldn’t think that the leash will be terribly long on Parse. It’s too important for that second line to produce — one might argue it’s the most important aspect of the team, going forward, and there are other options (Moller, Richardson, etc.) to plug into that spot if Parse isn’t getting the job done. I think the Kings are bound to improve on their 5-on-5 offense, unless a player like Kopitar regresses for some unknown reason. Don’t focus on just the scoring, though. The scoring margin is far more important than the goal total, and scoring margin has just as much to do with defense as it does offense (if not more).

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cab pablo asked: Without including numbers, what’s your contract like? Is it year to year? do you get paid by the amount of articles that you write? Is there some sort of quota that you have to meet regarding articles on here and on the lakings.com site? also which players do you get along with best?

Answer: I agreed to a multi-year contract when I came aboard, and there are still another couple years. I agreed to a salary, so my pay is not determined by any type of quota. I’ve never really thought about it in terms of which players I get along with best. I treat them all the same and I’m fortunate to have them all treat me well. I probably have a better rapport with some of the more “senior” members of the team, in terms of seniority, just because I’ve been around them longer and know them better, but that changes from year to year.

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Sergei Prozacutov asked: Is the org ever going to ask one of the great goalscoreres in NHL history, LUC ROBITAILLE, to give some of our young FWs tips on scoring and working around the other team’s net? LUC is definitely qualified to do this—Some of the stuff he did offensively did not involve great speed or strength,but cleverness and timing. Some of that CAN BE TAUGHT. Any chance of it happening, even as partly a “show-event” for the fans during practice?

Answer: No, I don’t think you’re likely to see that. Robitaille made the choice to join the front office, not become a coach, and while I’m certain he’s qualified to give instruction, and I’m sure he would feel welcome to share tips with players off the ice, I also know that he’s plenty occupied with his job as team president. I understand the sentiment behind what you’re saying, but I don’t think coaches/management (and players, for that matter) view practice as any type of “show” for fans. Like I said, I’m sure Luc passes along tips/thoughts to players as he sees necessary, but I wouldn’t look for him to be on the ice.

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Oz asked: Rich, so does this look like to you, that this is the team we start the season with in terms of players? Or do you think or get the sense DL might add a player via trade or whatever, during camp/preseason if there’s a glaring weak spot, let’s say in the forward position?

Answer: Yeah, I’m not expecting there to be any moves at the start of the season. Of course, in the past couple years, the Kings have swooped in and grabbed a guy off the waiver wire who they felt was talented, but if you’re asking about trading for a top-six forward or something of that nature, no. A team/GM that would identify a “glaring weak spot” simply based on training camp and preseason would be a panicked GM, in my opinion.

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DAkings20 asked: 1.When does the Kings TV Schedule come out? 2.Besides opening night in Vancouver will the kings wear their vintage jersey’s? If so do you know the dates?

Answers: 1) I’m really not sure what the hold-up is there. I’ve had an unofficial number, in terms of games televised this season, but I’m really not sure what the delay is on FSN’s end, given that they released the Ducks’ schedule quite a while ago. 2) I don’t know the dates. I think they might be the four games against the Canucks, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that. The third-jersey dates haven’t been announced.

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Randy Holt’s Ghost asked: When will the Kings retire Butch Goring’s #19. This should really happen, and it’s been far too long. The guy was a home grown product, and other than Vachon, clearly the best all around King ever until post Gretzky. It’s a shame his number is not hanging up there with the other greats. Go Kings.

Answer: Well, I did a poll on this in June, regarding which player should next have his number retired, and Goring finished behind both Bernie Nicholls and Jim Fox. Dean Lombardi was asked about this at one of the GM breakfasts and seemed to indicate that he preferred to wait until some of this generation’s players started winning, and to retire those numbers.

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TB asked: My question isn’t so much about the Kings specifically but more about the conference…In your opinion, with the roster moves that have been made with teams like San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver, and even Chicago…how do you feel the Kings rank in their offeseason performance? Obviously the big elephant in the room with this question involves a certain missed UFA opportunity, but with that said, do you think the Kings are poised to progress forward or stay in that same middle range in the standings? Personally, I don’t find it to be too far fetched to see the Kings challenge for a division title…do you agree?

Answer: No, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to think that the Kings will challenge for the Pacific Division title. San Jose has had some changes, and in general it’s not easy for a team to stay on top. Phoenix is an intriguing team but Anaheim and Dallas have some holes. In terms of the “offseason performance,” the Kings didn’t make a big splash. Adding a big-scoring winger would have elevated them into another tier, in terms of preseason predictions, but what Dean Lombardi says holds some validity. Even if the Kings brought back the exact same roster from last season, the team should improve. Almost all of the core players are young and are in the stage of their careers at which they should be improving. A 2010 Drew Doughty should be an upgrade over a 2009 Doughty. Same for Kopitar, Brown, Simmonds, Johnson, Quick, etc. The Kings aren’t an old team that needs huge additions. They’re a young team that needs to grow and improve internally.

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Kevin from Toronto: So let’s assume Bernier begins the season as a back up and exceeds expctations. Even though Bernier is only 2 years younger, one would assume he is the goalie of the future. Could Quick become expendable at the trade deadline?

Answer: No, I really don’t think so. It’s hard for me to imagine why a team with two young, cheap goalies — and, under your scenario, two young, cheap, talented successful goalies — would want to trade one of them right now. Even if you ignore the fact that the goalie market is flooded right now (it is), the Kings have plenty of other prospects to include in trades, if that’s the direction they want to go in. I’ve said it for about two years now, and I’ll keep saying it. The Kings have waited 40-plus years for a successful, young home-grown goalie. Now they, potentially, have two. To trade one of them before it’s absolutely clear which one is the slam-dunk No. 1, that makes no sense to me.

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Ari asked: As far as TM or DL are concerned, which NON-rookies have a higher expectation to show performance improvements this season vs last?

Answer: All of them. And I’m not trying to give a flippant, sarcastic answer. The answer is, all of them. Unless you’re talking about established vets such as Mitchell, Scuderi, Smyth and Handzus, there isn’t a player on the roster who won’t be expected to improve from last season.

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LucLivesOn asked: First, since there is a 10 game rule of some sort on rookies, why wouldn’t the Kings try a Schenn or Kozun as a second line sniper to start the year and see if they could be the ones to fill that need. After all both men had great junior success and what harm does it do to give them a small (10% of your season) window to see what they are truly capable of. I know it’s been said that Schenn could be the 4th center but why limit his minutes and his talent around him IF he could be a Top 6 guy? I welcome comments. Second question: Justin Williams is a seasoned veteran and was playing very well before his freak accident that just about ended his season. He busts his butt to come back to help his team get into the playoffs, and he probably came back to early IMO but his play falls off and he is benched by his coach in the playoffs and ridiculed by the fans for his poor play. Can you find out what his mindset is like now and what it was then? Did he want to be traded? Did he want to retire? Is he driven harded now to “prove” everybody wrong? I think it would be a great read to find out what a successful athelete goes through when things are going the wrong way.

Answers: 1) There’s certainly nothing wrong with giving a junior-eligible player nine games of NHL experience, and it can work out well but I don’t know that it’s entirely necessary in some cases. After three weeks of training camp and exhibition games, coaches/management should have a pretty good idea of whether a player is NHL-ready or not. If there are doubts, or a guy seems like he’s on the bubble, sure, it doesn’t hurt to give him a look. In general, though, I don’t think you want to be using those nine games as just a tryout period. It’s a small window, yes, but nine games is still 18 potential points, and I’m thinking that if I’m a coach/GM, I want my very best 19 players on the ice in every game. If I’m on the fence, with the attitude of, “I THINK this guy can play in the NHL, but I’m not totally sure,” that’s when I look at the nine-game tryout. 2) I’ll definitely be talking to Williams early in training camp, but in general I don’t think players get too caught up in what the fans think/say. They’re more worried about what is thought/said in the locker room and in the coach’s office. In Williams’ case, everyone knew he was trying something extraordinary by coming back as early as he did. It didn’t work out, but I would guess that that will spark any type of “prove everyone wrong” attitude. He really had no business being on the ice as soon as he did. I think everyone understands that.

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KOHO asked: Let’s play some OVER/UNDER…
Kings wins: 50
Home Wins: 25
Road Wins: 25
Playoff Seeding: 3rd
Total W/L Points: 105
Bernier Games Played for Kings: 30
Kopitar Goals/Total Points: 40/100
Doughty Total Points: 82
Team Goals Against: 200
Team Goals For: 250
Overtime Games: 10
Team PP Goals 82 Games: 70
Team PK Goals Against 82 Games: 70
Westgarth Fighting Majors: 5

Answer: Wow, nothing like trying to pigeonhole me, even before the first day of training camp, huh? Just kidding (sort of). I’ll play along, even though predictions are for the unwise…
Under
Over
Under
Under (slightly)
Even
Under
Under
Under
Over (there was one team that allowed fewer than 200 last season)
Over (slightly)
Over
Under
Under
Over

Honestly, the over/unders are quite ambitious all around, if you look at last season’s NHL stats…

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mattmonforton asked: I think it would be a fun and cool idea if, come playoff time, we start a contest with who can grow the best playoff beard out of all your loyal readers.
we could post pictures and vote for winners and such.
Rich, you would need to participate as well, since your officially with the Kings!!

Answer: Tempting the hockey gods by already talking about what you’re going to do during the playoffs, huh? Better be careful! Actually, I believe the Kings had a contest similar to this last season, in which some of the players also participated.

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