Here’s the seventh set of “Open Forum” questions and answers…
Leo4kings asked: Rich, I am a little concerned for our toughness in regards to having someone stand up to other teams tugs. I know we have size, but not necessarily a fighter on the line up as it is. Not suggesting to have to put westgarth like players on the line up for that purpose alone on regular basis, but I think something has to give in order for us to be able to match other teams tugs when push comes to shove. Any notes or ideas if DL is pursuing such type players as debth?
Answer: The use of the traditional “heavyweight’’ seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. Beyond that, if you’d like to stand in front of Jordan Nolan or Kyle Clifford, you’re far braver than I am.
Poppa K asked: Bob Miller call of game 6. I heard it will be coming available for sale on DVD etc…..is that true?
Answer: Yes, true. Last I heard, the Kings are still finalizing plans, but I believe it will be part of a package deal with another item sometime in the next two months.
Treydoggie asked: any insight on why Quick is so fracking flexible? Thanks for your time.
Answer: As Dustin Penner might say, “genetics’’? Quick is, according to way the Kings measure such things, considered the best all-around athlete on the team.
Rockkon asked: Do you think, as I do, that Mike richards put a stop to the phony castle cutout from which the team used to emerge? Do you think taking away the gimmicky, wrestling-type tomfoolery helped the team take themselves more seriously?
Answer: I happen to agree with you about the castle, but Mike Richards had nothing to do with it.
TiredOfIt asked: Do you think that the local media will ever embrace the Kings like they deserve, especially now that they are champions?
Answer: It’s a good question. And it’s sort of a chicken/egg question. Does fan interest drive media attention, or does media attention drive fan interest? If you ask a newspaper editor or a TV news or talk-radio producer, they would probably tell you that the Kings get less attention than the Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, USC, UCLA because those teams/schools have larger fan bases. I’d argue about the Clippers, but in general, they’re correct. On the other hand, this is what I’ve told everyone who has ever asked me about the Kings’ fan base: The Kings don’t have the most fans in Southern California, but they have the most passionate fans. I think that counts for something, and I don’t think that most editors and producers understand and appreciate that. If, for instance, one sports radio station made a concerted effort to talk Kings hockey on a regular basis, I have to think that they would get tons of Kings fans listening/calling. Instead, all of them are prattling on about the Lakers in late July. The other part is, the Kings have to keep winning. By winning the Cup, they got the attention of a lot of people who hadn’t been paying attention before. If they can continue winning, and hold that attention, they will force people to give them increased coverage.
LAKingsFan26 asked: When it comes to the schedule, who generally has first pick at Staples Center? Kings? Clippers? Lakers? I know traditionally the Lakers get the Friday night and Sunday games and the Clippers/Kings have to split Saturdays. Is there any formula or criteria they use in the home dates?
Answer: It’s complicated on a number of fronts. The Lakers are clearly the prime tenant at Staples Center, but even so, they don’t get every date they ask for. They don’t get it from Staples Center, and they certainly don’t get it from the NBA. I’m not certain as to exactly how they do it in the NBA, but in the NHL, the Kings will submit a list of available home dates to the league. The league will take that list of dates and assign 41 home games. The problem for the Kings is that their list of available dates is considerably shorter than most teams’ lists. The number of available dates at Rexall Place in Edmonton, for instance, is considerably higher than the number of available dates at Staples Center. So, the Kings are hurt not only because the Lakers and Clippers are in the building but because of concerts and other events. So, when the Kings get stuck with Saturday afternoons and Monday nights, the Black Keys share the blame with the Lakers. In general, though, to answer your question, there’s no “draft’’ for dates but the Lakers are clearly the big dog.
Orphio asked: Now that DL has earned his ring with LA, does he feel he wants to complete the run with this core or bow out in the next year or two for his next project?
Answer: Unless there was some type of contract strife with AEG, I can’t imagine that Lombardi would leave what he has built. From his hiring, he has talked about the challenge of building a long-term winner. I can’t imagine what would make him abandon or change that philosophy.
Utah Chris: Instead, tell us some anecdotes of your interactions with Kings spouses throughout the season. In particular, I’d like to know about Penner’s ex.
Answer: Zero, other than communicating with Nicole Brown a handful of times over the years about charity events.
Doug asked: Hi, longtime Kings fan here, new to this site. I live in Washington DC and was wondering if the Kings will make themselves available this year when they come to town? I would really like to get my jersey signed and there is no way for me to get out to LA. My family and I will be attending the only game where they will play the Caps. Thank you for your time.
Answer: That depends entirely on practice schedule/time. Looking at that Washington game, it’s a weird one. It’s an afternoon game at the start of a road trip. I would think that the Kings would practice in the area the day before the game, but I’ve never seen a schedule quite like that one. As that road trip gets closer, I will have a much better idea of practice times.
Crash Davis asked: Q: Climbing into Dean’s mind (there’s a task for you), what would you guess he’d say were his 3 big mistakes as Kings GM for the 2011-2012 season? I’d say: 1) Waiting too long to fire Terry Murray. 2) Expecting Trent Hunter & Ethan Moreau to still be serviceable NHL players. 3) Not bringing up King & Nolan sooner (as Ferreira suggested & pleaded for).
Answer: Well, I’m not going to get too argumentative about this question, because I understand the question and the thought behind it, but the Kings won the Stanley Cup. Who is to say they were mistakes? Yes, the Kings turned things around under Darryl Sutter, but who’s to say they didn’t need to bottom out before they accepted that a coaching change was necessary? All I’m saying is, things don’t happen in a vacuum. At the time of Murray’s firing, things were at such a critical stage that the players, to a man, said, “We need this,’’ and they quickly bought in to what Sutter was preaching. Would that have happened in November, or would they have resisted the change, and resisted the idea that they were failing? I don’t know, so I can’t call that a mistake. I also don’t know that waiting to call up King and Nolan was a mistake. When they came up in February, they had zero expectations on their shoulders. They were able to have under-the-radar success. That’s not to say the timing was perfect. As you note, there did come a time when it was obvious that players such as King and Nolan were better options than players such as Hunter and Moreau. No question. I would say that Lombardi’s biggest mistake was, for the second consecutive year, taking a big swing at a big free agent in the summer, then missing and not having a solid “Plan B.’’ Just as he did the year before with Ilya Kovalchuk, Lombardi went hard after Brad Richards. When he failed, he ended up with Simon Gagne, Dustin Penner and Scott Parse at left wing, and prayed that at least two of them could be reliable top-six wingers. They all had major risks and they all burned him. He might have been better off signing a middle-of-the-road, reliable 20-goal scorer, because that lack of depth hurt the Kings, and it never got resolved until Dustin Brown moved to left wing, Dwight King moved to the third line after the trade for Jeff Carter, and Penner started playing well in the playoffs.
ADub87 asked: I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to this but I’m curious if you have heard anything from inside the organization. Are the Kings going to be parting ways with Scott Parse this summer? Is he even healthy enough to be playing for someone next season?
Answer: Well, they effectively cut ties with him on July 1 when he became an unrestricted free agent. If I had to guess — and it’s just a guess — I would think they he will be a non-roster training-camp invitee for some team this fall, similar to how Trent Hunter joined the Kings last year.