Here’s the fourth set of open forum questions and answers. Have the Kings had too many shootout wins?
jess asked: With our new offensive acquisitions, is it your feeling that we can be a dangerous regulation time team? It was the shootout that got us into the playoffs (thank you quick and stoll) but once in the actual playoffs of course this strength evaporated like rubbing alcohol.
Answer: You’re raising a good point here, in terms of the shootout. The Kings went 10-2 in the shootout last season, which is pretty astounding a little scary when you consider that Dallas finished ninth in the Western Conference and had only three fewer points than the Kings. So, to be certain, there’s some need for improvement there. Is it possible that the Kings could continue to be that good at shootouts? Sure, but you probably don’t want to bet on that. So there’s nothing, in particular, about being a more “dangerous” regulation team. It’s just about being better in all facets of the game, so that the shootout doesn’t come into play as much as it did last season.
Chris asked: How do you see the goalie situation playing out? There will come a time where they can’t keep both Quick and Bernier and I’d suspect that time is coming soon
Answer: Quick and Bernier are both under control for two more seasons, with a combined cap hit of $3.1 million. That’s strong. But I absolutely agree that there will come a time when one stays and one leaves. I think the Kings would be wise to wait until those contracts play out. What if, hypothetically, Quick asks for a budget-busting contract in the summer of 2013 and someone else signs him as a free agent? At least you still have Bernier there, and most people would feel comfortable with that. Again, unless there’s a knock-your-socks-off trade offer out there, I don’t see the desire or need to trade Bernier.
Chris asked: 1) How is the recovery of Justin Williams surgery after the season coming along. Same with Loktionov’s. 2) Does it seem like Mike Richards is happy to play here or do you think he is still bummed from being traded. 3) Which players do you feel will have a break out year. 4) Did you get to see the video presentation for Brad Richards and do you know who all was in it? 5) What kind of cheeseburger do you order at 5 guys?
Answers: 1) They’re both doing really well, and should be on track to start training camp just fine. 2) I have no idea. I talked to him, as part of a conference call with a dozen other folks, a couple hours after the trade and that’s been my only direct contact with him. 3) Well, my crystal buzz is a little fuzzy… I think a lot of people are predicting a good year from Penner, because of his motivation, and that seems reasonable to me. 4) No, I have not seen it. 5) Last time, I tried mushrooms. Very good.
Joel asked: With the Kings appearing to have a bit more skill at forward this year, do you see Murray’s philosophy adjusting at all in terms of rolling out more skill on the 3rd and 4th line this year? Do you see any chance that Voynov or Hickey make the roster this year? In your opinion, who looked the most improved from last year’s development camp?
Answers: 1) I’m trying to think of the best way to answer it. I’m not sure what the change of philosophy would be. Which “skill” players were not on the third or fourth lines last year that should have been? I’m not sure. So I don’t know what the philosophy change would be. Now, the increased skill at forward — assuming people stay healthy — means guys such as Stoll and Richardson can play third-line roles instead of being pushed into higher roles. If that’s what you mean, then yes, I would say so. 2) I’d say there’s a chance that a young player could win that seventh-defenseman spot, yes, but that player would have to be excellent in training camp. 3) Wow, again, the whole evaluation of talent at a prospects camp is dicey. I completely, completely understand why fans want that, because you want to know who is on the horizon, but it’s just not feasible. That’s why these guys are scouted and watched for months and months during the season. To evaluate them in a two-day period, in an unfamiliar environment where the emphasis is on learning, not competing, it’s not really feasible.
pautna asked: How many movie rolls have you been offered since your ‘Undisputed’ appearance?
Answer: Hold on, let me ask my agent. Well, first let me hire an agent, and then I’ll ask him. And when he stops laughing, I’ll let you know.
22Sargent asked: You know, Rich, that as soon as you start your vacation the Kings are going to make some big move? Isn’t that how it always works? Hope you have a great time away!
Answer: Yes, precisely. Two of the last three years. I told Lombardi that if he messes up my vacation again, I’m coming for him. So get ready for that Doughty signing in the next two weeks. And thanks for the kind words.
Mark asked: Who are the favorites to make it out training camp? Holloway, Kozun, Toffoli, someone else?
Answer: More likely, look defense. Where are you going to put the forwards? You’ve already got Penner, Kopitar, Williams, Gagne, Richards, Brown, Clifford, Stoll, Richardson, Lewis, Parse and Westgarth. And if you think Loktionov has the inside track for a spot, then you have room for one spare forward, and they’re not going to bring up a young player just to be a healthy scratch every night. Now, if there were to be some injury, trade, etc., that opened up a spot, I’d lean much more toward a guy like Holloway than Toffoli. Toffoli has potential but needs work. Kozun is heading in the right direction.
kinder asked: 1. Did any of the prospects you scouted during the reg season get drafted by the Kings? 2. Did Foxy wear “the jacket” last year(didn’t remember seeing it). Could you ask Jim if the jacket will make an appearance this year? 3. Which forward and d-man impressed you the most at the camp and do you know if any of the kids was a surprise to the kings staff? 4. In-N-Out, Tommy’s or 5 Guys?
Answers: 1) No. Only one player that we watched in that game got drafted, and that was David Musil at the start of the second round. Although Alex Roach, who was in that game, was one of the players invited to the Kings’ development camp. 2) Didn’t he wear it to a home game? Or was that the previous year? You guys would know better than I would. I know he didn’t wear it on the road, because it would have blinded me on the bus. 3) Again, I’ll refer back to the previous few times this question was asked above. 4) Yes!
IceGuy asked: Rich, how do the player rate the ice at Staples? There was a lot of talk during this year’s Cup about the vast difference of ice in Vancouver and in Boston. If there is a general feeling that it needs to be improved – are there any plans to tackle the problem?
Answer: It’s pretty well-known that the ice at Staples isn’t very good, and often is terrible. There are basically two ways to fix this. One, move the arena to a cold-weather climate. Two, schedule fewer events at Staples Center, so that the ice is covered less often. I don’t think anyone wants the first option, and it’s highly doubtful that the second option will come to pass. Other than that, not much can/will change.