I didn’t forget about all the great “Open Forum” questions that people have been posting over the last few days, but now that we’re through all of the evaluations — I can’t believe more people didn’t think Doughty and Kopidor would win the Super Bowl — it’s time to turn to those questions and answers. I’ll do a chunk of them at a time, and here is the first set…
King Cobra asked: Do you think the Kings should sign Shane Doan or keep the team as it is?
Answer: Well, it’s up to Doan more than it’s up to the Kings, since he’s the one deciding where he wants to go, but I don’t see a downside to it. If you can improve a championship team without making huge moves that risk altering the chemistry, it seems like a no-brainer. Doan can still play at a high level, he’s widely respected among players and, as he gets to the final stages of his career, he’s going to be highly motivated to win the Stanley Cup. The Kings have the salary-cap space over the next couple years, so it would make sense all around.
hagi818 asked: What’s your gut feeling on the looming possibility of a work stoppage? Does the season start on time?
Answer: Throughout the last few months, I’ve been pretty optimistic that there wouldn’t be any type of stoppage, but after talking to a lot of people I respect, and reading about the early stages of the negotiations, I’m much less optimistic about training camp starting on time. I’m still going to hold onto the belief that the season will start on time. Perhaps that’s naive, but I just feel as though the owners and players can’t be that stupid, again. Unfortunately, I know there’s a pretty good chance that I’m wrong about that, but my gut feeling is that training camp will be altered a bit, and perhaps some preseason games canceled, but that the season will start on time.
losingsand asked: Any updates on Linden Vey’s injury that he sustained at development camp? He looked to be hobbling pretty badly in street clothes during the last day of camp.
Answer: Nothing bad. I asked Mark Morris about it during the camp and he said it wasn’t a concern. If I had to guess, probably just a strain or sprain of some type. Coaches know better than to push players in development camp and risk having something minor turn into something serious.
Chris asked: What member of the kings is your favorite to interview, why? How was it covering a Stanley cup winning team during the playoffs?
Answer: Good question on the favorite to interview. That’s hard to say, because players have different qualities. Some are funny, which is good, while others are insightful and break down the game well, which is also good. Colin Fraser really seems to “get it,’’ in terms of giving quality stuff to reporters. He would be a great commentator if he ever decided to go down that road. Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll are great at breaking down aspects of the game. Rob Scuderi and Willie Mitchell give great veteran perspective. Dustin Penner is very entertaining. Covering the Cup run was exciting and very strange. I previously covered the Lakers’ runs through the playoffs a few times, but those were expected. This just felt like being strapped into a roller coaster, and off it went. It was a lot of daily work and a lot of travel, but it was uniquely fascinating to see the Kings win games and then increasingly think, “Wow, they could actually do this.’’ I started believing it would be a real possibility after they won the first two games in St. Louis, and then things just kept rolling. I had never covered a team, from the start of the season until the end, that won a championship, so I’m grateful that I got a chance to experience it. The day-to-day work wasn’t massively different than it was in November or February, for instance, but I got to cover a bit of history, so that was a huge professional highlight and one that I’ll never forget.
Nut asked: Do you think Oscar Moller and Bud Holloway are done with the Kings?
Question: Contractually, not yet officially, but I don’t think it’s very likely that you will see either one. Based on style of play, both guys would probably need to play top-six roles in the NHL. Two problems with that: they haven’t actually showed that they’re capable of filling those roles in the NHL, and also, unless there’s a run of Kings injuries and/or trades, those openings aren’t available right now. Holloway and Moller already made the decision that they’d rather play in Europe than the AHL, and honestly, in terms of what’s best for them professionally, that was probably a good choice.
RollieTheGoalie asked: With the prospects of a possible work stoppage looming over next season, are there any contingent plans regarding some of the cup celebrations planned for the beginning of the season such as Hockeyfest and the banner raising?
Answer: You may or may not have seen a partial answer in the days since you posted the question, but the Kings have already called off HockeyFest, because of the exact reason that you stated. A lot of teams have called off activities in September, such as “fan fest’’ type events and rookie/development camps. It’s a big concern. The banner raising wouldn’t take place until the next regular-season game, whenever that happens to be.
neil asked: Game 6.Stanley Cup Finals….little bit of rooting for the Kings????(P.S. even for the reason of not wanting to go back to N.J. )
Answer: Yes, for the parenthetical reason you stated. A Game 7 would have been exciting and fascinating, for any number of reasons, but you have no idea how happy I was to come home and unpack the bag that had been pre-packed for a Game 7 trip.
Whammer asked: Do you know if the kings are looking for anyone specifically to get for Jonathan Bernier and if so who? Also, are there any more free agents that the kings are interested in (including Doan) and if so who? And on a separate topic, how much progress do you think Slava voynov is going to have to make defensively in order to be a top 2-way defenseman?
Answers: 1) The best way to answer is probably to say that the Kings are/will be fielding offers, whenever talks about Bernier come up, and the “looking for anyone specifically’’ would be dependent on the team on the other end of the phone. It’s hard to believe that the Kings will be the aggressors on this one, despite the belief, in some corners, that the Kings would be actively looking to get rid of Bernier. 2) I doubt it. There aren’t any real holes on the team. Doan would be an upgrade. Otherwise, they’re not going to sign people just to sign them. 3) A top two-way defenseman in the entire NHL? Quite a bit, but that’s a small group of defensemen. His decision-making with the puck, in terms of speed and accuracy, needs to improve but that will come with time. He could stand to bulk up a little bit, but that might come with time as well. He’s on a good path right now.
responsible D asked: Were any of the players nursing injuries during the playoffs, other than Penner with his wrist?
Answer: I would be surprised if there was a single player on the Kings or the New Jersey Devils who would have considered himself completely healthy.
Julian Kings Germany asked: Hey Rich thanks for an amazing coverage during an amazing season!
I have a question about one of Kings vision videos: there is a video called “signs and sounds on the bench” that’s the name I think, it was filmed during the Kings preseason game against the Hamburg Freezers and I’m actually in this video… so is there any chance to get some kind of copy?
Answer: I’m not really familiar with the video, but I’m assuming you saw it on the Kings’ website or on YouTube. They don’t make those videos commercially available, but I believe there is a program that allows viewers to catch video. Perhaps a fellow reader can help on this one.