Here’s the second set of the “Open Forum” questions and answers…
Orphios asked: 1. Is there a chance of seeing one of the kids (Hickey, Camphell (RA I know), Muzzin, or Voynov) in the defensive front six next year if Martinez stays in place. 2. Are they going to give Bernier a chance to win the job outright this year and earn 55 starts. If so, would they move Quick for a first line winger if one were available? 3. Is theer any talk of the Kings trading back into the first round? 4. Please tell me the Kings have no interest in Brad Richards (to old and injury prone) 5. What do the Kings consider Martin Jones’ upside. Does he have greater upside than Bernier or Quick? I know according to DL’s plan, he will start a second year in Manchester.
Answers: 1) Assuming no other players depart via trade, no I wouldn’t think so. If you’re saying Alec Martinez stays in, then you’re talking about Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Willie Mitchell, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene, and it’s almost impossible to envision a rookie beating out any of them. 2) Jonathan Quick is the Kings’ No. 1 goalie, and that is highly unlikely to change unless his play dictates the need for a change. There’s a high level of confidence in Jonathan Bernier as well, and next season, he is likely to play at least as much as he did this season. Going forward, both goalies are under contract for two more seasons and, at some point, it’s highly likely that the Kings will choose to build around one goalie and trade the other. I wouldn’t expect that to happen this summer, but that doesn’t mean it absolutely won’t happen. 3) Not that I’m aware of. 4) I would expect the Kings to have strong interest in Brad Richards. 5) I appreciate the question, but I don’t really care for the word “upside.” To me, “upside” is defined by how well a guy plays. Jones had a good first season in Manchester, but he has yet to even be the full-time No. 1 goalie there. If he were to have success in that role, it would be easier to project what he might look like in the NHL. At this moment, he’s certainly no threat to either Quick or Bernier.
Tony asked: Rich, really enjoy the blog. Could you provide any insight if the Kings/FSN plan on doing Kings Live pre game like they do now for baseball?
Answer: As Dominick pointed out, the “Kings Live” pregame was done away with (I believe) before the 2009-10 season. I haven’t heard of any plans to bring it back, but that’s an FSN matter.
hockeygeoff247 asked: I remember in the beginning/middle portion of the season the NHL was talking about implementing new rules like hybrid icing and a referee watching from an off ice perspective. Any news on those rules.
Question: The general managers met during the season to recommend rule changes, and there were no on-ice recommendations, such as these, made.
BakoCAkingsCondorsGuy asked: Any chance there could be an advance schedule for the 2011-2012 L.A. Kings Suite games this coming season? It is difficult for some of us to make them if they are announced at the last minute…And, can you thank EAManagement (Frank) once again for all of us? The suite game was the only one I made in person this season, and it made my year…
Question: Absolutely. I think everyone would benefit if we could schedule a date before the start of the season and allow folks to plan. That would absolutely be my recommendation, because I want as many people to enjoy the experience as possible.
RickVegas asked: Rich – has there been any discussion about the starting the 2011-12 season overseas and any additional off-season prep this will entail? I remember hearing this had some negative effects on some of teams last year, in terms of the travel and then readjusting to the schedule back home.
Answer: Well, the dates are set, so there’s not really any more discussion involved. The latest I have heard is that the team intends to leave for Europe right after the Oct. 1 preseason game in Las Vegas, and that the return to Los Angeles would include stops for at least a couple East Coast games. Other than that, there’s not really any offseason preparation. It’s possible that training camp would start a couple days earlier than normal, but that’s about it. Some teams seem to deal with starting in Europe better than others. There doesn’t seem to be any foolproof formula in terms of dealing with it.
Gretz98 asked: I was just wondering what specifically Dean Lombardi was referencing when he said, “I’m looking for much more improvement than we had this year, when we had to put him through the (strength and conditioning) test again”? Did Drew Doughty fail the strength and conditioning test his first time around during training camp?
Answer: This was covered during training camp, when it happened, and the answer is that Doughty took the conditioning test and got a low score, so he took it again a couple days later and was considered fine. It’s not a “pass/fail” test, but it’s clear — as Lombardi said — that the Kings weren’t happy with Doughty’s initial conditioning scores.
typicaljs asked: What are the odds of Bernier getting a chance to push Quick for playing time next season ? It seems Murray’s style is to instill confidence in his #1 by declaring Quick the #1 and playing him that way, but I think Bernier’s play warranted more games than he got into last year and if Bernier can get on a roll at any point when Quick falters do you think Bernier will be given the chance to steal away the #1 or will Murray continue to ride Quick as his #1 as long as he is the head coach of the LA kings ? If Murray continues with the strategy he has used the past couple years, do you think at any point Lombardi might step in and insist that Bernier be given more playing time to show what he can do on a consistent basis at the NHL level ? my point: Quick is too anxious and prone to overplaying situations like in my opinion a bouncing puck in overtime of game 6 that led to Thorntons goal. Bernier’s calm style of play is exactly what an “inexperienced” team needs to calm things down in situations (like game 3). Not trying to champion Bernier over Quick, but I’m worried under Murray he might not ever get a “fair” shot. thoughts ?
Answer: Jonathan Quick is the Kings’ No. 1 goalie, and that is highly unlikely to change unless his play dictates the need for a change. There’s a high level of confidence in Jonathan Bernier as well, and next season, he is likely to play at least as much as he did this season. Going forward, both goalies are under contract for two more seasons and, at some point, it’s highly likely that the Kings will choose to build around one goalie and trade the other. I wouldn’t expect that to happen this summer, but that doesn’t mean it absolutely won’t happen. As for the second part, I’m not really following how pulling a rookie, 22-year-old goalie — one with zero playoff experience — off the bench in the middle of a sky-is-falling game would serve to “calm things down.” I can buy the argument of making a goalie change as a “wake-up call,” but the goalie was not to blame for what happened in Game 3.
Hoganmuller asked: We always hear and read how important faceoff wins are, yet it just seems that if a player is not good at it to begin with, he never improves.
Is this something that the Kings players just don’t practice? You would think that it behooves us to get a faceoff consultant in to coach our centers and improve this part of their game.
Answer: The Kings’ centers (and some wingers) go through faceoff drills at the end of practices very regularly. I almost feel confident enough to say that they practice them every single day, but I’m sure there’s a handful of days during the season when they don’t, so I won’t throw that definitive statement out there. Beyond that, the Kings were in the top-10 in the regular season in faceoff percentage. They ran into a San Jose team that ranked No. 2.
Paul G asked: My question: What are the plans for our two defensemen prospects Voynov and Hickey? and will Martinez stay?
Answer: There are no “plans,” per se, other than that they will get another look during training camp. If a young player definitively shows that he’s ready for the NHL, there is the possibility that he could earn a spot, but it’s much tougher for defensemen. There are the five veterans/regulars, plus Martinez — who certainly looked like he belonged in the NHL — plus Davis Drewiske, who proved to be a good option as a seventh defeneman. In the short term — meaning, while veterans such as Greene, Mitchell and Scuderi are still under contract — it’s going to be tougher for those prospects to break through.
Luke asked: With the depth down the middle (Kopitar, Stoll, Lewis, Richardson, Schenn, Loktionov) do you see the Kings moving one of Lewis, Richardson, or Loktionov to the wing? It was evident of how it worked with the Sharks in Marleau, Mitchell, Wellwood, etc.
Answer: Sure, it’s certainly possible. Of the three you mentioned, the only one who would be unlikely to move would be Loktionov, at least not at the NHL level. The problem is, he looked much, much comfortable at center than on the wing at the NHL level, but is he strong enough to play center? That’s the issue the Kings have had with Oscar Moller as well, but when I watched Loktionov this season, he looked completely different — i.e. much more confident — playing center than he did playing wing. Lewis and Richardson can comfortably play all three positions, but if you put either one on the wing, it’s hard to see either guy as a top-six winger. Having one of them as a fourth-line center and the other as a fourth-line winger? That’s definitely feasible, yes.
john asked: Hey rich, thanks for the work youve done this season. I was curous as to how many draft picks we have this year. Per round.
Answer: The Kings do not have a first-round pick — lost in the Dustin Penner trade — but have one pick in each of the next six rounds.