As always, the“open forum” is generating some great questions, so please feel free to keep asking them. I’ll tackle the first set of questions and answers here. Thanks again…
josh e. asked: “If the Kings made it into the playoffs, which team do you think the Kings would fare best against and worst against? Pretty much every team has a chance at any position as of now in the playoffs, so this question is very open. In my opinion, I think the Kings would play well against Calgary or Phoenix but not well against Vancouver and Nashville…”
Answer: Good question. Wow, a series against Calgary would really be something, based on the three games that have been played so far. I agree with you that Vancouver is a team the Kings would not want to see, and I don’t think you want to face a team like Chicago or Detroit either. The West is so deep that there wouldn’t be any easy matchups, but the Kings have played good games against Phoenix, Dallas and Edmonton so far. I just have a weird feeling that a Kings-Flames first-round series could be possible.
khanon asked: “Do you know if TM is still unhappy with Drewiski’s play? I heard from a source, not sure if hes reliable though, that TM wants Drewiski to drop the gloves once in a while, although he hasn’t transmitted that message to Drewiski. Did you hear about this?”
Answer: To the extent that Murray has been unhappy with Drewiske’s play, it’s been about Drewiske’s tendency to play a “contain” game rather than being more aggressive. Drewiske’s (big) body type should allow him to play a harder game. I would be shocked if a) a coach wanted a player to play a certain way and didn’t tell him and b) if Murray wanted Drewiske to fight. I have a hard time believing any coach would want to see any of his six defensemen regularly out of the game for five minutes at a time. It doesn’t regularly happen, with the exception of a Carkner in Ottawa, who comes to mind.
Crownme87 asked: “I saw how Minnesota lost most of their equipment to a fire and it got me thinking. How do the Kings travel with their equipment when they’re on the road? More specifically how does the team get the bags from the airport to the next arena. Do they rent trailers or buses for that?”
Answer: I think it’s pretty standard for every road team. The truck — which I assume, as you noted, is rented — meets the plane at the airport and the equipment guys/trainers move all the gear to the next arena/facility. They work long hours and don’t get the recognition that they deserve.
Ryan oliver asked: “Rich, why did you leave the Hockey NEws? If Quick keeps up his play and also keeps playing this much over this year and next, does Bernier become trade bait for next year? Or do you keep him in the minors playing slot of minutes.”
Answer: 1) Actually, I didn’t choose to leave The Hockey News. They basically informed me that I was done, I’m assuming because I’m now a team employee. That’s fine, and they found a good replacement, but it’s a shame because I could give them much better stuff now than I ever could before. 2) I definitely wouldn’t count on that right now. First, even though he’s doing quite well right now, Jonathan Quick has still not made it through a full season as a No. 1 NHL goalie. Second, even if he does do that this season, and shows he should be the No. 1 guy next season, I still think the Kings bring up Bernier, let him back up Quick, and let Zatkoff get the big games in Manchester. Then, you see what you’ve got, from all three, and make a choice on what to do. There are some factors that could change that, most notably how Quick fares for the rest of this season.
John_oc asked: “Is there any way we can get some video of the boys practicing, on a regular basis? Maybe even a helmet cam for quick, mic up a different guy each time. I think practice is when the boys are smiling and communicating a little more. It would make ‘em more human to be in that close to their routine and would connect to their fans on a personal level. Also when when our hurt guys are skatin with the red shirt, we can get a feel of how close they are to ready without probing his condition every day. You guys can post the videos online, it doesnt have to be televised. I have more ideas for this, but is this even feasable?”
Answer: Helmet cams and mics in practice? No, I don’t ever see that happening, really. Coaches, GMs and players will tell you that practice is for work, not entertainment, and frankly I agree. I will say, though, that we’re working on the possibility of doing some live elements from practice. Still in the planning stages, but there are some cool ideas being kicked around.
Pobo asked: “Is the delay on the audio the same length as it is on the video? It’s just that sometimes the play by play seems seamless to what’s happening on the ice.”
Answer: We’re talking TV video vs. TV audio, right? In that case, yes, it’s the same. If it seems as though the audio is right on top of the action, then I think you’re paying a nice compliment to Bob Miller and Jim Fox!
Vahe asked: “What ever happened to the Kings pre-game show? Break the ice (Kings Live) was a pretty good pre-game show. They should bring it back with you and Heidi hosting.”
Answer: Hasn’t the word already had enough of me on TV? Thanks for the endorsement though! I believe all of the “Live” pregame shows got canned, not just the Kings’ show, but I’m not 100 percent on that. Maybe I can get a great answer from a Fox spokesperson! (Or not)
Gabby asked: “Are you noticing a different atmosphere “in the room” now that the Kings are winning on a consistent basis? Is there a feeling of “let’s enjoy this while we can” or do you sense confidence in the team that shows they expect to win? I hope that your reply will include something about the playoffs being an expectation for the team…a “when we make the playoffs” rather than an “if” conversation. Does that make sense? Thanks for all your hard work!”
Answer: Yes, I do understand what you’re getting at. It’s a hard distinction to draw though, because it’s not as though the team expected to lose before. When I go into the locker room after a loss this season, it’s the same scene/feeling as after a loss before. Losses are losses. Players hate them, whether they’re in first place or 15th place. The difference, I would say, is that the players’ expectations for themselves have changed. When you hear Drew Doughty mention contending for the Stanley Cup — as he did after the Calgary game — that’s something you never would have heard before.
BakoCAkingsCondorsGuy asked: “I’d like to make a formal request for an interview of Helene Elliot… 2) Many fans have the superstition that their presence at a game jinxes the team. For you, Rich: Have you any hockey superstitions, or are you purely scientific in your reasoning and above such nonsense. For example, I like to wear the same jersey to a game over and over again if there is a winning streak. Stupid, I know, but fans are often superstitious.”
Answers: 1) Honestly, I’m not sure if I feel really comfortable with that. Helene is a colleague, not someone I cover, and while it’s not unprecedented for a writer to interview another writer — believe me, I know — I don’t think asking her about her opinion of the Kings is something I want to do. Your take is that her reporting is negative. I would retort by saying, the franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002. If you’re an objective reporter, there’s not a lot of reason for sunshine there. I don’t want to speak for Helene, but I think I’m safe in saying that she tries (as I do) to present an accurate, realistic picture of what’s happening with the team at the moment. Perhaps she might be a good subject for a Mike Kalinowski podcast, as her story is a fascinating one. 2) I’m not really clear what you mean by “hockey superstitions.” If you clarify, I’ll certainly be glad to answer. If you mean superstitions that have to do with my job, I can’t really think of any offhand. I probably do things regularly that I don’t even recognize, you know?