Open forum answers II

Another set of strong questions. I’m trying to push through them as fast as I can!

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Questions: 1) What do you think Voynov’s future with the Kings looks like? He was drafted at 32nd overall and has 8 pts with the Monarchs (4-4). Pretty good for a defenseman. He’s from the same town as my wife, so I’m keeping an eye on him. 2) Whats the story with players like Igor Melyakov? He was acquired 14 years ago and as far as I can tell hasn’t played a single game in a Western league. Is there a strategic reason he’s still on the prospect list? 3) How is Lewis doing in Manchester? The depth chart is outdated (still even has Parse on it). Is he fitting in there or is it more of the same.

Answers: 1) Voynov is certainly in the discussion when it comes to those young defensemen. When you look at the number of defensive prospects in the Kings’ system, that’s going to be a tough nut to crack, but not all of the prospects will work out, a couple will probably get traded and the ones the Kings like best will end up in L.A. By all accounts, Voynov is on track to be a NHL defenseman. 2) That’s funny, I had no idea he was listed among their prospects. Well, I suppose since the Kings hold his NHL rights, he is listed, the same way Brady Murray is still listed as a Kings prospects. I don’t know if there’s any strategy to it. I think they’re just listing everyone whose rights they hold. That’s how it looks to me. 3) Lewis is without a point in five games with the Monarchs. He might be going through a bit of the “Manchester flu,” in which guys are initially disappointed to get sent down, but he’s going to have to be pretty dynamic to get another look with the Kings any time soon.

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Question: Why does Ivanans get such good ice time? I can remember at least 3 games this year where he took a crucial 5×5 penalty. In my mind, if he doesnt take another player to the box, his presence is a waste. And he provides no scoring threat. I think he should be replaced.

Answer: Well, he’s averaging 4 minutes, 44 seconds in the games he plays. I really wouldn’t consider that to be “good ice time.” I certainly agree that taking offensive-zone penalties, in particular, is something any player — but especially Ivanans — needs to avoid. He has three minor penalties in 20 games this season. But until the Kings think Westgarth is ready (they don’t yet), don’t count on seeing Ivanans going anywhere.

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Questions: I’d like to hear what conversations or quick chats you’ve had with (or overheard from) the Kings’ North American Olympic hopefuls (Brown, Johnson, Quick – USA; Doughty, Smyth – CAN) and get your realistic thoughts on their chances of making their respective teams. Your speculation is requested. :) Also, (more of a comment)while the post-game quotes are nice to hear, I’d like to hear more non-press conference quotes and material out of players and coaches like Drewiske, Hardy, Johnson, Williams, etc. Ever thought of or planning a feature type piece on just the defense? It would be neat to hear how they approach the game as a group and how they are coached (in general).

Answers: 1) None of the players really like to talk too much about the Olympics. Seems as though they consider it something of a jinx maybe. They will all say things such as, “It’s an honor to be considered,” but you’ll never hear a guy (even Crosby) take an Olympic spot for granted. That said, I think all the guys you mentioned have a good chance. Not sure about Quick, although Lombardi is part of the selection committee and I’m sure he will be pushing for Quick. Doughty and Smyth might be bubble guys. Wow, what a boost that would be for Doughty. He just might make it. I’d say Brown and Johnson are in. 2) Readers come up with the best ideas for features, so I’m going to start making a list. That’s a great idea.

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Question: What does frolov want to do, can you ask him?

Answer: Well, if he’s like me,probably take a nap this afternoon and have a good meal. I understand the question, but there’s no way he’s going to say he wants to stay or leave. If I close my eyes — I’m going to, because I’m tying — I can see the shrug and Fro saying, “Well, we’ll see.” Not knocking him. That’s what almost every guy would do.

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Question: Hi Rich can you tell us wich players are roommates on the road tnx for everything

Answer: I honestly don’t have that from memory. I know Brown and Doughty are still roommates, and I believe Stoll and Simmonds room together. I can’t really remember what guys have said beyond that. If you’re wondering about a specific player, I can probably ask for you.

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Question: Rich, what is the biggest need for the Kings presently?

Answer: Consistent, good goaltending, and health. That’s two. I cheated.

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Question: What has life been like on the road for you? If you can, give us an idea of how your day gets spent and also how the players deal with down time on the road.

Answer: Life on the road is a lot of fun, but always on the move. There’s really not as much down time as you might think, especially for me. I’m not an early riser, so I’ll sleep until 9 or so, get on the bus for practice or the morning skate, come back and write/blog for several hours, go to dinner and then come back to the hotel and relax or do more work. I have learned that managing sleep is very important on long road trips. If you start cutting yourself short early in the trip, you’ll be dead at the end, so it’s important to get consistent sleep. On game days, it’s…leave the hotel for the morning skate, come back and write and get ready for the game, pack and leave the hotel, go to the arena, cover the game, get on the bus/plane and get to the next city, file the game story, do a little more work and get to sleep around 2 a.m. ususally. On a practice day, once the players get back to the hotel they’re free to explore the city, eat, etc.

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Question: Rich, have you got any idea how much power you have in the LA hockey community? You are the primary source of kings info for myself, and I’m sure hundreds more.

Answer: Well, I don’t really think about that, but I’m very grateful that you feel that way!

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Question: Rich, something I’ve never liked is the taunting of the visiting teams by the home fans. Chanting the goalies name and singing “They Suck” seems bush league to me. This is encouraged by DIETER’S musical playing… Boo the opponents and cheer for our guys, but don’t try and degrade the players. …. I hate the Wings as much as anyone, but singing they SUCK seems schoolyard…..We not only want a great team, we want class fans. Would you ask Dean what he thinks?

Answer: That’s more of a question for Robitaille than Lombardi, because Lombardi has no hand in that stuff. He’s strictly a hockey guy. I’m trying to think…and yeah, they probably do that more at Staples Center than they do at other arenas. I guess it’s now just an acceptable part of the lexicon, and it certainly is done at other arenas. In New York, they still chant “Potvin sucks” roughly 142 times per game.

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Question: I was wondering if you have had the opportunity in your increased presence with the Kings to talk to Dean. If so, what do you think his assessment of the team thus far is? Has he spoken to you or hinted at about any potential holes he would like to try and fill? I am not looking for specifics, of course, unless you are comfortable sharing them but about what his candor may or may not be like.

Answer: I wouldn’t have any problem sharing, but it’s tough to answer. If you go up to Lombardi and ask for his general assessment of the team, pack a lunch, a dinner and the next day’s breakfast. He’s not prone to sound bytes such as “The goalies are good but we need help up front,” or vice versa. He’s the guy, when asked what time it is, will tell you how the watch was built. I talk to him a lot informally, just chatting about different things, but it’s time for a longer sit-down interview, now that the road schedule has calmed a bit. But to answer your question in general — and to get at what I think you’re trying to ask — I don’t get the sense that he’s out actively trying to make a major trade right now.

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