The fifth set of “Open Forum” questions and answers…
TK asked: 1) Do you foresee a point in the future where most teams, from all the pro sports, travel with team writers like yourself? If so, does that mean the end of the beatwriters at local newspapers? 2) The Kings have a great group of fan-run blogs (Jewels From the Crown, Kingscast, The Royal Half etc.). Do you ever read any of them? Could you ever see a time where fan sites, because of the freedom from oversight of the team, could overtake the popularity of a team/NHL sanctioned sites in traffic and influence?
Answer: These are very good questions, and I’m happy to answer them, but I’m not sure I could do it in under 2,000 words, and the answer would bore to tears 99 percent of the readers here. But I’m not trying to blow off the questions. If you email me, you’ll get a longer answer than you ever wanted, believe me! In general, I’ll give you my thesis answer on both of these questions combined. That is, it’s all about credibility. If a person or an outlet proves himself/herself/itself to be credible, accurate, trustworthy, newsworthy and useful in the eyes of its readers, it can succeed. The only standard is the standard applied by readers. The responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the readers to determine what is credible and what they want to follow. Anyone who achieves that has the possibility to succeed. That’s the starting point. As for fan blogs, if something ends up in the Kings’ packet of clips, or if someone sends me a link of interest, I will certainly check it out, but I don’t make a habit of it, no. And I’m not being dismissive. it’s just a matter of time and practicality. I try to spend at least an hour every day reading NHL-related stuff — often a couple hours — and that time is usually spent reading beat writers from other cities in order to keep tabs on other teams, and/or reading national writers.
ForumFan asked: any chance of Marty McSorley and/or Wayne Gretzky taking official positions with the Kings?
Answer: Not that I’ve heard of, no.
scvking asked: During the SJ series, there were some controversial thinss that went on, from the Stoll suspension and the Demers hit on Smyth, to the “handshake” incident, to the (and I really hate to even bring this up again) the “failure” of the players to salute the fans after Game 6. What were your thoughts on those issues? What was you feeling as to the number and tone of the comments that these issues generated? I am sure one point of the site is to encourage interraction between fans, but do you ever want to take the site offline for a bit when things get carried away with some comments?
Answer: As to the hits, I thought one game for Stoll was acceptable and I thought Demers’ hit was borderline, in terms of suspension. My feeling is that had Smyth left the game, Demers would have been suspended, and I don’t like the fact that the league seems to base its decisions on hits largely on whether an injury takes place. As for the handshakes and stick-raising, I honestly couldn’t care less. I think they’re perfect examples of tempests in teapots. In terms of the blog-comment reaction, all I ask is that people follow some very simple, easily understood rules that have been posted since Day 1. The vast majority of people handle themselves completely appropriately, so I’m not going to allow the actions of a tiny minority to ruin the community for everyone else.
Kluka68 asked: During the break we have interviews with players. How players are chosen? And by whom?
Answer: The coaches go through a rotation. Specific players, I believe, are requested by the FSN crew.
driller1 asked: We all really appreciate the job that you do and want to see you succeed. That in turn will make it easier for you to generate content for us to consume. I know I’ve pointed many people to your blog. Can you share how your blog has grown? I’m not sure what the exact metrics are– unique site visits, length of visit, etc, but I’m curious how you’ve improved readership from year 1 to year 2. Do events like the meet ups in the suite help your standing in the organization? We’re all cheering for you!
Answers: 1) First, thanks very much for the support. The truth is, I don’t even know the exact numbers in terms of visits and time-on-site, etc., and I prefer it that way. At the Daily News, I did get those statistics and I would stare at them every day and get upset when the numbers would drop by a couple hundred on a given day. When I started this, I just decided that I would do my best possible work, and whatever happened would happen. That said, I have been kept informed in general, and the blog did very well in the first year and improved in the second year. 2) That’s hard for me to answer, because I’m not the one who would determine the “standing,” you know? I would think so, but that’s not really the focus for me. It seems to be a great event, and hopefully we can keep it going and make it even better.
RAGoligist asked: Rich while at one of the Kings vs Ducks games in Anaheim this year I was made aware that they have a security number you can text if you have problems with drunken or belligerent fans. Do the Kings offer such a service? If not sounds like something to consider…Rich
Answer: I don’t believe Staples Center has such a number, but I did notice that during Game 6, very quickly after some tempers started to flare between Kings and Sharks fans, there were officers on hand to keep a close eye. So somebody must be doing something right, but I wouldn’t disagree that a text number is a good idea.
Steve asked: Rich: Which players were playing with injuries. I have a gut feeling that is saying Wayne Simmonds has not fully recovered from the ankle or leg injury he had in the regular season game against the Sharks in San Jose from last season. Is there a special place within Staples Center the goal horn sound comes from?
Answer: I think you can be reasonably certain that the majority of players were playing with some type of injury. That’s just what happens in a hockey season. Some are very minor, some more. That’s why Lombardi was asked if any players, beyond possibly Williams, would require surgery. He indicated there were no other players. The goal sound comes from the same place as the rest of the sound effects, in the booth at the top of the arena.
7holesniper asked: what jerseys do the players want to wear next year?
Answer: I have no idea, but I do know that they chose to wear the “third” jerseys in the playoffs.
Duckhunter asked: On the road:….Best hotel? Best restaurant? Best opposing team’s information department? Best opposing team’s media room spread? and If you HAD to work for another club (Kings no longer existed) which would it be? Loved the blog this year Thanks. Oh one last question is there any talk of doing the Ducks/Kings poker tournament again next year…unfortunately unable to attend this year.
Answers: Tough ones! I’d say Vancouver has a very nice hotel, particularly when I get a room with a view of the harbor. I’m partial to any number of Chicago restaurants, but taking them out of the equation, and taking away chain-type restaurants that are in every big city, I’d go with Charlie Gitto’s in St. Louis. Minnesota and San Jose both come to mind when I think of great PR/communications staffs. Edmonton and Pittsburgh probably had the best food this season. If I had to pick another team/job, I’d have to go with the Blackhawks because it would allow me to spend time in Chicago. As far as the poker tournament, from everything I’ve heard it was a great success. I don’t know about future plans but I’d have to think it’s a very good possibility.
TA asked: Do you see DL going after Brad Richards? Do you think the Kings will re-sign Zues? Do you see Scheen or Lotki or both with the big club next year> DO you think the Kings will package a goalie & a defenseman in a trade for a top forward?
Answers: 1) Yes, I still do. 2) Yes, I still do, but only to a short-term contract. 3) Probably one of them, yes, but not sure about both. It might depend on potential additions via trade and free agency. 4) It depends completely on which players might be available.
gr81scores asked: I was curious about Staples Center and their security. Although I personally don’t sit behind the glass of the opposing team’s penalty box, are there certain things that security discourages fans from doing while a player is in there? The only reason is that I was watching a Bruins/Canadiens game and when the visiting Canadien player was in the sin bin, a bunch of Bruins fans were waving foam fingers from their seats and although they didn’t seem to be making contact with the glass, security quickly stepped in and had them stop. Do these security policies vary from one arena to another or are they enforced throughout the league? Does this have anything to do with the Dodger Stadium incident and that Giants fan? Or do they not want a repeat of Terry O’Reilly joining the Madison Square Garden booster club? And what’s the deal then with those guys in green in Vancouver?
Answer: There’s no league-wide policy in terms of how security guards should react. As to what Staples Center’s specific policies are, I don’t know, but I don’t believe it’s any type of reaction to the Dodger Stadium situation.