The third set of open forum questions and answers…
Question: So, if scoring increases and Quick falters early on… How long before the Kings try a goalie change? How long–in other words–is Quicker’s leash? A sub-.500 record after 20 games? A GAA of 3.00 or a pct of sub-.900? A rash of third period goals? Shootout losses?
Answer: This is going to sound like a squishy answer, but I really think those are “feel” answers. As in, you know it when you see/feel it. A 4-3 loss can look a couple different ways. The goalie can get hung out to dry by his defense, or the defense can hold the other team to 15 shots on goal and the goalie can give up four soft ones. There’s nothing more subjective than judging goalies. Look at the season opener. There was plenty of debate about how many “bad goals” Quick gave up (I say two, for the record). Point is, tying it to statistics can be dangerous. A very good goalie can have a bad, sub-.500 record, or vice versa.
Question: Are the new faces going to retain their training camp numbers? Seems like a team of minor leaguers when you see numbers like 53, 54, 56 and 61 on the ice. I guess we are used to seeing that hearkening back to the days of yore with the likes of Jason Holland, Jerred Smithson, Matt 00.Ryan, Travis Scott, Scott Thomas, Ryan Flinn, etc, etc.
Answer: At one point, I heard that someone in the organization didn’t like players wearing high numbers, but I’m not certain if it was Dean Lombardi or Marc Crawford. But then John Zeiler showed up wearing No. 73. This season, you have 94, 61, 56, 54 and 53. Then again, Pittsburgh does just fine with No. 87 and No. 71, right?
Questions: EA NHL 10 or 2K Hockey? Jersey… Crown, or “Home Plate”? @ Costco.. Hot dog or polish sausage? Verizon or At&t? PC or Mac? Popeyes or KFC? Do we make the Playoffs or not? Finally, who’s a better analyist… Fox or Evens?Thanks Rich!
Answers: 1) Not sure…haven’t played either one. 2) Crown, by a landslide. 3) Haven’t been to Costco in a number of years, but by default I’ll choose hot dog. 4) Verizon, by a landslide. 5) I prefer Mac, but use both. 6) KFC. 7) I said ninth place for Kings, but playoffs wouldn’t surprise me either. 8 ) They’re both friends. As for height, I think Foxy is taller by about a quarter-inch, but it might be the hair!
Question: Rich — How many points do think the Kings will finish with?
Answer: I would put them somewhere in the range of 88-94.
Question: Rich, Something that I’ve wondered about for a few years now: At the end of game-day warm-ups, all the players on the ice converge on the goalie and they make a very intense effort of getting one particular puck into the net…I’ve seen other teams do this too. Is there some sort of bet going on?
Answer: You know, for all my years of watching hockey, I’ve never asked. It reminds me of when I covered the Dodgers. For a long time, Shawn Green would have someone in the dugout throw him a ball as he walked off the field at the end of an inning. Finally, one day I asked him why. He just said, “For good luck, I guess.” I said, “Oh,” and that was that. I don’t think there’s any bet going on. With all the players around, it’s all but impossible to figure out who “scored.” Probably just one of those competitive things.
Question: what exactly is it going to be like traveling with the team? will you travel on the same plane? is your hotel room next to the players? meals? team excursions? or are media types separated from the team unless you are interviewing or reporting?
Answer: I’ll tell you in a week! I’m not completely sure how it goes just yet. I can tell you that I will be traveling with the team, with the clear understanding that reporting does not take place on the plane. As much as I hate to disappoint the conspiracy theorists, that’s the same arrangement that would be in place when any newspaper reporter would travel on the team plane (I did it once before, in 2005, with a L.A. Times reporter). That is the players’ private time/space, and for years, reporters traveled on team planes. Only in the past 15 years or so has that fallen out of practice. I have no idea what the hotel arrangements are like, but I will not be participating in any team meals or social trips.
Question: If this (second) line has trouble putting the puck in the net. That will have an impact on the teams chances of making the playoffs. Do you see the same kind of concern from management and the coaching staff.
Answer: I’ll answer this by quoting Terry Murray from training camp, when I asked him where Teddy Purcell ranked on the list of important players/things. Murray said, “To me, he’s right at the top of the list. Maybe not the very top, but he’s certainly a priority for us, to have Teddy Purcell play well and play an important role for our hockey club.” There’s no reading between the lines necessary. If Purcell doesn’t score enough to make that second line a threat, the Kings have a problem. But to say there’s “concern,” I’d have to say no, because apparently they saw enough of Purcell during training camp to be confident that he can handle the role. I’m skeptical, but time will tell if he can.
Question: Rich, What do you think of the whole Gretzky in LA situation? I’ve always felt his ego is what held back the Yotes and his constant bringing in of his friends to surround him (see: Grant Fuhr as Kings goalie) and (see: Grant Fuhr as Yotes’ goalie coach) has always been his downfall.
Answer: Sounds as though Grant Fuhr has been his downfall! But seriously, I have no idea. I wasn’t around the Kings in the Gretzky era, and I haven’t been around the Coyotes in the Gretzky era, so my opinions would be based on, at best, second-hand information. So while I’m not attempting to discount your point at all, I would say that if Gretzky does end up with some role with the Kings, I would be completely shocked if it was any type of role in which he had authority to influence team personnel, etc.
Question: I find it interesting that you made a comment about Boyle and how he may have not received fair shot with the kings as that’s been my battle cry for quite some time. If you were TM and Boyle was still on the kings, which line would you play him on?
Answer: Well, my initial point was that I’m not sure it was fair to ask Boyle to switch to defense, then switch back to center, then try to get him to change the way he played. Boyle seemed like a sharp guy, but that’s a lot to ask of a young player. That said, Terry Murray has been, for the most part, consistent in his thought that young players need to show the “grit,” either in games or practices, before they can be put in higher-profile situations. From the Kings’ perspective, Boyle never did enough of that. I tend to agree, but it’s a debate that will continue as long as Boyle’s name is brought up.