OK, getting back to the open forum questions and answers, here is the third set…
Kings win, Ducks lose: Is Kopitar on target for starting the season on time?
Answer: Yes, he’s been on track for a few weeks now.
frisking asked: Rich, how would you rank the pro sport all-star games?
Answer: Hmm. Tied for last? I’ll go off the board and take MLS. They’re putting together an All-Star team, which is playing English soccer champion Manchester United. The NHL All-Star Game is at least entertaining. The other big ones — baseball, NBA, NFL — just aren’t that attractive. They served a purpose a couple decades ago, when access to games was more limited. In the 80s, seeing Magic, Bird, Jordan, etc., was a big deal. Now, with a dish package, you can flip channels and watch the stars every night. What if the NBA put together its All-Star team and played a team of All-Stars from Europe/Asia?
Ravens asked: Hi Rich, Has there been any offical word on Kitsyn returning to play next year in the KHL? where you as impressed with Martin Jones as everyone else seemed to be? do you think any of the undrafted invitee’s have a shot? who do you think the Ontario Reign will add this year?
Answer: Hopefully you saw the earlier post about Kitsyn… Martin Jones looked strong, as did Chris Gibson, but again — as I’ll probably say a couple times in answering these questions — attempting to draw conclusions from development camps is dangerous. These things are largely drill-based, and against very inexperienced competition. Show me what these kids look like against NHLers, and I’ll have a better idea. Projecting who will make the Ontario Reign is a couple steps beyond my scope right now. That depends, first of all, on what Manchester’s roster looks like. It’s safe to say there will be few sports available at the NHL level, so Manchester will get the bulk of the young players.
DaveinSD asked: Hi Rich…I would like to know when the TV schedule will come out for the Kings? Also have there been an ideas thrown around Fox Sports West about a dedicated Kings TV channel?
Answer: Last year, the TV schedule got announced in mid-September, so I would have to assume the timetable is similar this season. And no, I haven’t heard anything about a Kings TV channel.
Andrew asked: what will it take for LA to be an NHL free agent destination? Anything short of a cup or two? It seems to be creating somewhat of a vicious cycle as far as the franchise is concerned, and placing a huge handicap on the Kings to either have to develop homegrown players or significantly overpay ala Scuderi, Handzus, etc.
Answer: I think you answered your own question, my friend. Winning is the best marketer and winning is the best recruiter. The Kings can’t offer that Original 6 mystique. They can’t offer that “we’re the only show in town” vibe. They can, for the first time in a while, start to sell the team. They can go to a guy like Brad Richards and say, “Look at what we’re building here. We can win.” But being a consistent, proven winner is the only thing that will put the Kings in driver’s seat in terms of wooing these top players. They’ve at least got their foot in the door now, in terms of attracting the attention of these top guys. And it’s not as though Los Angeles is a black hole. They were serious players for Brad Richards. Simon Gagne was happy to come here at a reasonable price. But in order for this to be a coveted team to play for, in terms of those top players, it’s about the winning.
Tim from the OC asked: Rich… are you planning on attending and summer concerts? If so who? Are you a candy fan? Sour or sweet?
Answer: 1) Hadn’t thought about any summer concerts! Any suggestions? After seeing Mumford & Sons last October, it’s been hard for me to be impressed by anything else. I did see the U2 shows in Anaheim last month, which were quite good. 2) Sweet. Chocolate.
dave asked: Rich, Could you provide some insight on which players you thought stood out in the rookie camp?
Answer: I’ll combine two of my previous answers, which I think/hope will sufficiently answer your question. Martin Jones looked strong, as did Chris Gibson, but again — as I’ll probably say a couple times in answering these questions — drawing conclusions from development camps is dangerous. These things are drill-based, and against very inexperienced competition. Show me what they look like against NHLers, and I’ll have a better idea. … Picking one from each position, I would pick Jones, Deslauriers and Kozun.
zdfun asked: Rich, where were you on the signing day? Waiting for calls in your office or following someone during the days?
Answer: Yes, here in my “office,” which is an arm’s length from the kitchen and a slow-pitch softball toss from the bathroom. Seriously though, yes, I was home.
quisp asked: What happened to anthonyy?
Answer: Oh, sure Quisp, pretend like we don’t all know what you did with him…
Eric asked: What number will Mike Richards wear since 18 is retired?
Answer: He announced (via Twitter) that he would wear No. 10.
KHenry14 asked: Rich, what are the odds of one of the kids from juniors or Manchester making the roster this season? TM and DL have a history of giving kids a chance if they earn it (Clifford/Doughty)and there seems to be some kids ready for the NHL next season. Yet the team seems to be set. Which kids might change that?
Answer: As you point out, the roster largely looks set. Now, you always leave open the possibility that a young player, at any position, could be so outstanding in training camp and exhibition games that he essentially “forces” the team to keep him. As you noted, Clifford is a good example, as was Wayne Simmonds in his rookie year. Those things are impossible to predict. In terms of realistic spots that might be open, it would either be a 6/7 defenseman — meaning a young guy would have to beat out Martinez or Drewiske — or that third/fourth line winger spot, which would be open to pretty much anyone. Going into camp, I’d still say the favorite is Loktionov making the team, but that could easily change.
PK asked: Rich, Do you see the Kings eventually moving Bernier mid-season or sooner? Have there been any rumblings around the office? I’m sure Deano got a few calls this summer on JB? Obviously Quiker is our man and Manchester is stacked once again. Not to mention that Gibson kid, the Kings future in net looks great. Also, What are the internal thoughts of Forbort? Do you see him making the big team? Last season during summer camp I thought Muzzin looked way better than the highly touted Hickey. And Muzz made the team. This camp I thought Forbort looked way better than Muzz. Not to mention he could add a few more lbs. to his massive frame.
Answers: 1) Midseason or sooner? No. I’ve said this before, but again I think it bears repeating. If you’ve been a Kings fan for a while, then you’ve been waiting almost two decades for the goalie woes to end. Now, you’ve got two guys who appear to be quality NHL-caliber goalies, for a total salary-cap hit of approximately $3 million, and you’re thinking about trading one? I know you’re just throwing it out there, and not necessarily endorsing it, but what happens if you trade Bernier tomorrow and Quick hurts his knee on opening day. You ready to make a run for the Cup with Jeff Zatkoff and Martin Jones? All I’m saying is, NHL goalies are too valuable to be tossing them around. If a superb deal were to be there, then sure, maybe, but not just to do it. 2) I would be very surprised if Forbort made the team, after only one season of NCAA hockey (and not a full season at that). He’s improving and, as you said, he still can get better in terms of strength. That’s a good thing. He’s got room to grow and plenty of time in which to do it. But I think it’s believed, fairly universally, that Forbort would be better served by another year in college.