July 30, 2012 11:15 am

Forum answers IV

Believe it or not, I actually didn’t forget about the “Open Forum” questions and answers. Some of them have been answered through the passage of time, but here’s the next set…

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jom asked: From what you can tell being around the players and having some insight into the league what reasons do you attribute the lack of ability for the Kings (or the Ducks, SJ or VAN for that matter) to attract “big time” UFA’s? It’s not as if I care all that much as I’ve found it over the years to be rather overrated in terms of making a winner. But still I’m curious. Thanks

Answer: Well, I think there are a couple different factors in play here. First, remember that there really aren’t a lot of “big-time’’ UFAs. One or two get attention every year, but this year, beyond Parise and Suter, how many were there? And those guys went to the same team, meaning that 29 teams missed out on a “big-time’’ UFA. Also, remember that not every team is interested in every free agent. The Kings didn’t have any real place for Ryan Suter, so their ability to land him would have been zero. Every team looks for different things. Now, all that said, it’s undeniable that the Kings have attempted to land players such as Kovalchuk, Richards and Parise and come up short. Part of it is just natural. Not every team can get a big UFA. Toronto is a massive team/market in the grand scheme of the NHL, but when is the last time the Leafs signed a “big-time’’ UFA? In the Kings’ case, there are a couple factors. The previous lack of success was a factor. Will that change now that the organization has a Cup? That will be interesting to see. Travel is a factor. West Coast teams definitely get the short end of that one. The Rangers’ travel is immensely easier than the Kings, Ducks, Sharks, etc. Also, there’s family. In many cases, we’re talking about Canadian players. In almost every case, we’re talking about players who have no inherent ties to California. So, if a player is looking at — for example — Los Angeles vs. New York — he will factor in the fact that his family is much closer to New York than Los Angeles. In any event, I think you make a great point when you say it’s overrated. When you look at how the Kings were built, drafting, development and trades are huge.

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Kings got the Cup asked: Is there going to be a Kings sale this year?

Answer: I’m not sure what you mean by sale.

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Mike J. asked: I’m curious on if the Kings plans are as far as jerseys this year. Will they keep the black and purple as their third or has that gone the way of the dodo birds, and will they have the Legends nights with the purples?

Answer: To the best of my knowledge, the plan is the same as last season. At one point, the Kings had planned to make the purple-and-gold jerseys merely a one-year shot, but the reaction to them was so positive that they decided to keep going with them on the “Legends Nights.’’ The only question is what will happen if/when they pick “legends’’ who didn’t wear those jerseys as players. I think they will still find a way to incorporate those vintage jerseys into the uniform scheme.

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Pili asked: Rich, all I can do is echo everybody’s thanks for all you do; above and beyond. I’m sitting here listening to Abbey Road with a great cigar; great time to thinking about life and all I can do is look forward to this season. Is there an unwanted cure for this? Also, I’m a long time Cards fan (since 1967), and if the Cards are hopelessly out of it, my heart goes to the Cubs. For the fans. You deserve it.

Answer: Great music, a great cigar and hockey. Sounds like a winning combination. Thanks for your kind words, and to everyone else who is always so kind and supportive, in comments, emails and when I meet you in person. Please know that I appreciate every word of your kindness.

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Leftys83 asked: Hey Rich do you think the Kings would ever consider a jersey/logo with Gold, black and silver but no purple?

Answer: At this point, given the number of uniform changes over the last two decades or so, it would be silly for me to say they would never consider changing, but at this point, I definitely don’t think they’re looking into any changes/additions. They took a long time to settle on the black/white shield look, so I think they’re sticking with it for a while. People such as Luc Robitaille and Dean Lombardi are big on having that identity and stability.

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GeezerKingsFan asked: My question is Do you see the Kings making any significant changes next year or will it be minor if any?

Answer: Minor, unless something should happen during the course of the season that would require significant attention/improvement.

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ice is nice: Rich, always appreciate the work that you put into the “insider” and my question is going to be about Dean Lombardi. We know that Dean pushed in the past seasons to raise the bar with the core players for improving on every aspect of the team. Simply put is winning the cup going to be Dean’s measuring stick now or does the bar get raised higher?

Answer: I’m not really sure how to answer that. I’m not sure how the bar gets raised higher than winning the Stanley Cup. That is the one and only measuring stick every season: last season, this coming season and five seasons from now, that’s what management, coaches and players will be pushing each other toward. Even though the Kings won the Cup this year, we all saw that there were plenty of peaks and valleys along the way. The micro challenge will be to become a strong team throughout the season, not just at the end. The macro challenge is the same as it is every season: to win the Stanley Cup.

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pr0cess asked: Rich do you still have no vested feelings for the Kings there fans or hockey?

Answer: I never once said I had no interest in hockey, or in Kings fans, and in fact that’s completely inaccurate. Beyond that, no, I’m not a Kings fans. I wasn’t 10 years ago, I wasn’t two months ago, not today, not tomorrow and not next month. Donald addressed the question very eloquently, but if people want to keep asking it over and over, I’ll keep giving the same honest answer.

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JQ is better than you asked: Rich, any news on when us regular non millionaire, non season ticket holding, die hard true fans get a chance to take a pic with the cup?

Answer: There have already been at least four public events, throughout the greater Los Angeles area, that I can think of, and I’m sure there will be more. To this point, they have been well-publicized and I’m sure that will continue.

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mask0425x asked: Rich, have any players or coaches ever indicated to you – explicitly or implicitly – that they looked at or read anything on this blog? Do you personally ever feel that it’s professional/appropriate/comfortable to bring up any feelings from this blog talking to players, coaches or team execs?

Answer: Good question, and I’ve been trying to re-run conversations through my head in order to answer correctly. To the best of my memory, no coach has ever indicated that he had personally read it. There have been implicit indications from several players, but no direct references to any particular blog items or stories. The question about brings up feelings from the blog is also a very good one. I do feel it’s appropriate, and also very helpful to me, in many instances. Often times, reading through emails or comments will give me a different perspective on a situation, or a reader’s question will be something that I hadn’t thought of, or will lead me to a different type of thought process. There’s a certain amount of ranting that takes place here that sort of drifts away with the wind, but there are also many outstanding points and questions that come up, and I do incorporate those when it seems appropriate.

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Di asked: Do you get a day with the Cup?

Answer: No, I don’t think that would be appropriate and it hasn’t been discussed.

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Blaked4: Just curious as to your view on how the season ended. Since you’re impartial as to the out come, what, in your opinion would have been the better story line for you to write/comment about. The Kings finish out the way they did or they have a complete collapse and lose the series to the Devils in 7. Either way, the Kings still finish better than anyone could have imagined, but if they lose, it would be only the 4th time in NHL history a team came back from being down 0-3.

Answer: Really good question, from a journalism perspective. Because my job is to cover the Kings, solely, the best outcome was a Kings Stanley Cup victory. That’s a storyline that’s been 45 years in the making. It’s the biggest story in Kings franchise history and I got to be a part of it. Now, if I was a national hockey reporter, someone from ESPN.com or The Hockey News or a publication that covers the entire league, not just one team, I might feel differently. The uniqueness of a team rallying from a 3-0 deficit might be more compelling and “better’’ than a team simply cruising to the Cup. But for me, given my role, it’s not even really close. I cover the Kings and I work to serve the Kings’ fans, so again, it was a once-in-a-lifetime story for my readers, and that was a great experience.

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Dom asked: I work 12 hour days in the film industry and I get 100% of my updates between takes from your site, so that being said – you’re a life-saver.

Answer: Thanks, Dom. Don’t work so hard!

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