The third set of Open Forum questions and answers…
Question: Rich, can you provide a more detailed updat eon what’s going on with Clune, why he is not back with the Kings after making team in camp. seems with Richardson, Harrold, etc, there’s room fro him here
Answer: Rich Clune is healthy and playing in Manchester, with one goal in eight games. In the eyes of Kings coaches and management, there’s just not a spot for him in the NHL right now. I presume, from the way you ask the question, that you’d rather see Clune than Richardson and Harrold, but I’m not sure the Kings share your thought.
Question: Rich, are there any plans to bring in an experienced goalie like Biron or Hedberg to backup Quick, or are we taking a gamble in the future and bringing up Bernier to let them both duel it out?
Answer: In the short term, I would be shocked if another goalie comes in. If the Kings wanted to bring in a goalie from outside, they had a chance to think that through before they signed Ersberg to a two-year extension in March. So I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one. Long term, there are about 50 different scenarios. You’re talking about at least four goalies, with Quick, Ersberg, Bernier and Zatkoff, and maybe a fifth with Martin Jones. I wouldn’t even feel confident enough to bet a nickel on who the Kings’ two goalies will be in five years, but I do think one of them will be Bernier.
Question: Can you tell what the players schedule is when they are on the road. late night travel, Then play a game the next day, or an offday on the road.
Answer: I’ll use Saturday through Monday as an example. Saturday night, the Kings played in Tampa Bay, then they flew, as soon as possible after the game, to the next city, which was Ft. Lauderdale. That was probably 1 a.m., and then practice Sunday was at 1 p.m. After practice, they were free until Monday’s morning skate, at 11:30 a.m. Then, because of the very late arrival time last night, the players got today off and they’ll be back on the ice for tomorrow’s morning skate.
Question: What are the chances of DL getting Ilya Kovalchuk in an LA jersey? Is there some hope still we could get him? And if not him, who or what else do you see DL doing to bolster our scoring depth after the Kopitar line?
Answer: From what I’ve read, there seems to be some momentum toward Kovalchuk re-signing in Atlanta, so I wouldn’t put the chances of him coming to L.A. (or anywhere else) very high. The Kings still have enough cap space to go out and get a “rental” player if needed, but we’re pretty early in the game to try to figure out who might be available. A quick look at the standings shows how tight things are. Teams that will end up being “sellers” still have some hope now.
Question: One more-whats Lombardi’s critique of Ivanans so far this season?
Answer: I’m honestly not trying to ridicule the question, so please don’t take it that way, but on the list of things that I would ask Lombardi, Ivanans’ play is way, way down the list. I know it’s always a hot topic for fans, but the guy plays five minutes a night, at most. Sometimes I’m baffled at the amount of attention a fourth-line enforcer receives.
Question: So how has it been your first month plus, intimately involved with the Kings? Any surprises? Becoming a wine connoisseur with Foxy? Listening to the latest Garth Brooks with Bob? Readers want to know!
Answer: Ha! Well, you touched on the right things there. I’m very grateful to all of the broadcasters, and the FSN crew, for making me feel like a part of the group right away. They’re all great lunch and dinner partners and always answer my inevitable question of “Which way is the press elevator?” It’s funny you mention the wine, becuase whenever a group is out, and it doesn’t include Jim for whatever reason, nobody is really sure which wine to go with! I can’t wait to get to Nashville with Bob again.
Questions: Rich…lookin good on the tube during intermission. On that note, I’m just curious…prior to this new direction you’ve taken, did you ever work in television before? Also, whats your take on the situation with the alarmingly low attendance figues in FLA nad ATL? We hear so much talk about PHX, but I’m pretty alarmed with just how bad it is with some of these franchises. Do you think we are looking at relocation with some of these franchises?
Answers: 1) Thanks, and no, other than maybe a couple random interviews, I have never done TV before. Lots of radio interviews, with different sports-talk shows, but not a lot of TV. It’s much different, but I’ve had good “coaches” so far! 2) To be honest, I didn’t really look at the numbers, but Florida was much worse than Atlanta, at least in terms of arena atmosphere. Wow. There was just nothing going on inside that Florida arena, in terms of excitement. At least in Atlanta, there felt like a little buzz. Funny/sad story though. We went to grab some dinner in Atlanta on the night when the Thrashers were playing the Rangers, and wanted to watch the game, and asked if they could turn on the game. A few minutes later, the waiter comes back and says, “You wanted the football game, right?” No, the hockey game. “Which one?” Oh boy. Teams that win can succeed anywhere, but I really do think the time has come to look at moving/contracting some teams.
Question: What is the Kings longest winless streak in the last 10 years?
Answer: Fourteen games, from Dec. 18, 2003 to Jan. 16, 2004. The Kings had three regulation losses, two overtime losses and nine ties.
Question: Which prospects are making the most noise? Any good dinner stories on the road? Who’s the biggest clown as far as you can tell?
Answer: I’m afraid I’m going to need a little more direction than “making noise.” I mean, if you’re just looking at success, Moller and Loktionov are the two names that you’re probably looking at. As far as dinner stories, I don’t eat/socialize with the players on the road, so unfortunately I don’t really have any entertaining stories to share.
Question: Rich, I was curious how do you go about actually getting quotes from players? I know that there is an allotted time after the game for reporters, is this when you get comments, or do you approach the guys on the bus ride back to the hotel on road trips, etc? Also are the players happy to give their comment or are there specific players that don’t want anything to do with reporters?
Answer: Immediately after the game, there’s a “cool-down” period of about 10 minutes, and then the locker room is open for media. Players are milling about. If they’re sitting at their lockers, you just go up and talk. If they’re showering/dressing, you wait until they’re done, and a PR person will assist in finding them. After 10 minutes or so, Terry Murray will talk, in the hallway or an adjacent room. Interviews are done by the time everyone leaves the locker-room area.
Question: Are there any outcasts at team dinners that are really quiet…or is it pretty much all the guys talking…i can kind of see frolov sittting in the corner talking to no one because he doesn’t speak very good english…
Answer: Again, I’m sorry I can’t provide much help here, as I don’t attend functions like that.
Question: The brunt of my questions relate to Frolov. First of all, are the Kings in contract talks with him yet? It seems like they are still non-committal about what they want to do long term with him and the trade deadline is just a few months away. My thought was that it is not as important to protect him as an asset since his $5-$6 million / year salary demands are about the same as the Kings’ salary cap space. Do you believe this decision can be left to wait until after the season? What are your thoughts on Purcell? Is his window closing with Moller waiting in Manchester for his turn? Any chance we might see Mikus in a Kings uniform any time soon? We have quite a few grinders on this team, but Mikus and Moller seem to be the only skill players who might be ready to make the jump.
Answer: Contracts talks have been taking place, but it doesn’t sound as though they’ve been very intense. I agree with you that the Kings do seem non-commital about what they want to do with Frolov, but I have to chuckle at the idea that the deadline is “just a few months away.” That’s a long, long time, inside a season. I would not be surprised, at all, if Frolov got to July 1 as an unrestricted free agent. In fact, at this point, I’d probably consider it to be the most likely scenario. As for Purcell, yes, I do think his window is closing quickly. You’re starting to see that depth in Manchester emerge this season, and while the Kings still see good potential in Purcell’s game, they’re not going to wait forever. I would replace Mikus with Loktionov — sorry, I know… — as the skill player, along with Moller, most likely to make the jump.