Getting back to the Open Forum, here is the second set of questions and answers…
Joey asked: “Parse, Elkins, Moller and Purcell-what do you see them becoming as far as maximizing their potential (ie first line winger, second line center)? They all seem to have qualities and flaws. Who seems to fit in the most right now on this team if all the pieces return to full health?”
Answer: Based on what I’ve seen so far, and what their track records seem to be, I would think that Parse and Elkins project more as third- and fourth-line players, at best, on a playoff-caliber team. That’s not a knock. Those can still be fairly important roles. Moller and Purcell are harder to predict. Purcell’s game seems to indicate that if he can’t play on a top-two line, he’s not going to be a regular contributor. He’s very much on the bubble right now. With Moller, it’s going to depend on how much stronger he can get. He has skill, and he’s a very, very tough player, but if you saw the Calgary game, he was getting smashed. No player his size can handle that on a regular basis. If he can bulk up some, he has great potential on the wing.
puckbob asked: “when the rules changed on how much curve the players could have on their sticks, how many of the Kings changed their sticks?”
Answer: You mean the rule change in 2006? I’m really not sure on that one. Most of these guys weren’t even in the league then. The only player I know of who significantly changed his curve this summer was Doughty, who went to a bigger curve in order to get more rise and power on his shots.
HawKings asked: “What are your top 5 surprises with the Kings this year, and conversely, what are your 5 biggest disappointments?”
Answer: Surprises would be 1) The Kings’ ability to win one-goal games, 2) The Kings’ ability to hold third-period leads, 3) Ryan Smyth (I knew he was good, but he was better than I expected and he really brought Kopitar along), 4) Brad Richardson and 5) Scott Parse. Disappointments would be 1) The penalty kill, 2) Teddy Purcell, 3) The number of games in which the Kings have allowed 30-plus shots, 4) The first half of Alexander Frolov’s season and 5) The second half of Anze Kopitar’s season so far.
Cynic asked: “I would also like to request a Mid-Season report of every prospect in the Kings system that is NOT in the AHL. (Please include guys like Dwight King, callups from the ECHL) from Mark Yanetti & Michael Futa.”
Answer: That’s probably possible, but remember also that the Kings have a “web” of scouts and folks such as Ron Hextall and Jack Ferreira who go out and travel the continent. Getting a full, accurate assessment of every single prospect might be quite a daunting task, but I’ll do my best to track down some information next week. As far as the names you mentioned, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe any of those players are under contract. The Kings still hold their NHL rights — as they do with Brady Murray for instance — but I don’t believe they’re really “taking up space” anywhere, as they’re not under contract to the Kings.
Brian M. asked: “Rich, When was the last time this far into the season that the Kings were in first place or close to it? Thanks for all of your hard work for us Kings fans.”
Answer: I guess it depends on your definition of “close to it.” In 2005-06, the Kings were second in the Pacific Divison and fourth in the Western Conference on Dec. 20. The last time the Kings had a division lead on Dec. 20 was in 1990-91, in the five-team Smythe Division.
Ryan S. asked: “Rich, can you inquire from the trainers what kind of workouts the athletes do? One time, I sneaked down to the locker rooms and I saw a bunch of players go into the weight room? What’s the deal? I want to follow their routine!!”
Answer: Well, there’s a lot of variety there. Morning skate, pregame, postgame, practice day, offday… They all contain different kinds of workouts, and within that, there’s no uniform workout. Players have different routines, workouts, etc. Generally, many guys will go to the weight room after practice. Some guys will ride bikes, some will stretch, so there’s a lot of variety.
bbb7 asked: “Also, I read a while back that some teams keep +/- for scoring chances, and that seems a much more telling stat than one for goals. Do you know if the Kings do such, and is there any way you could get a hold of them and post them on this forum? We have debated at times here the whole ‘3-pt’ games situation and how to fix it (if indeed you think it needs fixing.) I’m all for making a regulation win worth 3 points; what’s your take?”
Answer: 1) Since “scoring chances” aren’t kept as an official NHL statistic, I’m certain that each team does its own set of stats on that sort of thing. It’s all but an impossibility that the Kings would allow information like that to be public, for other teams to see. 2) That’s exactly what I would do. I go back and forth on it, but ultimately I think you’re right. Three points for a win and one for an overtime/shootout loss. It avoids adding another column to the standings, which scares some people, and it also makes a win actually worth something. A team could lose five consecutive games in shootouts and earn more points than a team that went 2-3. That doesn’t sit well with me.
HawKings asked: “I know it is kind of a goofy question, but I tend to notice unusual things during games (makes of equipment, tape around skates, sticks, etc.). When Andy Murray was here, if I remember correctly, all of the players wore their helmets during pregame warm-ups. I think that is still true today. Was there a team policy during AM’s time here and is there a current policy regarding helmets during warm-ups?”
Answer: I don’t believe there is any policy on that. The only Kings player who doesn’t wear a helmet in warmups now is Ryan Smyth. I asked him about it early in the season, and he indicated that it wasn’t really a big deal, and that he just put the helmet on when it’s time to play.
Dan H. asked: “Have you had any luck reaching out to Tomas Sandstrom for a“where are they now?” segment on him?”
Answer: Really haven’t even had time to think about it, to be honest. Today was the first day since Nov. 30 that there was more than one day off between games.
Lanny McDonald’s ‘Stache asked: I know this question has been asked before, but since some time has passed I figure the answer could have changed as well. Do you know if anyone in the Kings organization (players, coaches, front office, staff, etc) is a regular reader of your blog? Players especially? And if so, do you ever feel badly when criticizing a King’s play?
Answer: There are only two players that I’m aware of. Oscar Moller expressed, last season, that he knew I had the blog (in its Daily News form). Then, the other day, Corey Elkins, when asked about whether the coaches had talked to him about his role, said he read quotes on my blog. As far as staff members, I really have no idea, but given that it’s now a part of their official website, I’d have to guess that a good number of them do read.