Back to the Open Forum questions and answers… Here’s the fourth set.
Rainman asked: “Three questions…First, do you think that TM is relying too heavily on Jonathan Quick? He’s on pace to play like 75 games and I can’t believe he would be fresh for the playoffs. Plus, it’s very likely that Quick will represent Team USA in the Winter Olympics in February. Secondly, did you ever get a reasonable answer as to why the away Canada games are not televised in L.A.? I’m sure the stock answer is that it’s too expensive to televise these games, but who is making that determination? Is it FSN or AEG? Lastly, other than advertising, who pays FSN to televise the games in L.A.?”
Answers: 1) Only time will tell on that one. Evgeni Nabokov played 77 games a couple seasons ago. Then again, he’s Evgeni Nabokov. At this point, I can’t argue with what Murray is doing. Quick started 34 of the first 37 games, and he looked great in the last 10 or so. Will it catch up with him? I don’t now. There’s certainly a risk, but Quick has said he loves the work, so we’ll see. If Quick makes Team USA, it’s likely to be as the No. 3 goalie, so it’s unlikely that he would actually play. 2) It’s FSN making that decision, and no, I haven’t received a reasonable answer on the record. As you probably saw, I posted the exact e-mails with the FSN spokeswoman, and I don’t think anyone was satisfied by that. 3) That’s a better question for someone who has knowledge of the television industry, but I believe advertising is what drives revenue. Networks also get revenue from cable/satellite companies, for having the channel on their services.
Stop the Puck asked: “along with bb7’s question, here is my idea regarding the 3-pt matter:
regulation/overtime/shootout win: 2 pts
overtime loss: 0 pts
shootout loss: 1 pt
It makes sense to get nothing after an OT loss because you did lose the game. With the shootout, you havent lost the game just the skills competition used to determine who gets the 2nd point. what do you think of this rich?”
Answer: In that scenario, I think you’d see a ton of shootouts, especially early in the season. Why go for broke in overtime, and risk getting nothing out of a game, when holding on for the shootout guarantees you one point?
neil asked: “what is your take on how the players feel about their coach…Thanks”
Answer: It’s universal in any team, any sport. When the team is winning, everyone loves each other. When the team is losing, there is grumbling. That’s basically all there is to it. As far as Murray specifically, I’ve never heard anyone complain.
Noel asked: “1) Have you noticed a change/reaction in Ersberg from this season as compared to last year, due to the lack of playing time and the rise of Quick? 2) Journalistic question. Now that you travel with the team and get post game quotes every game, how difficult does it become to come up with different questions? as well as not come across as ‘annoying pest to deal with’?”
Answers: 1) Change in terms of what, exactly? Personality? If so, no. Ersberg is a very pleasant, easygoing guy, and if he’s upset about things, he does a good job of hiding it in front of the media. 2) Interesting question, thanks. If there’s one aspect of my job I wish people could experience, it’s the postgame process, particularly after a loss. You walk into a silent room full of exhausted, angry players, sweaty, pulling tape off every part of their bodies, and you get to ask them questions! Believe me, I’m not complaining, but it’s not the most fun part of the job, and that’s why I laugh when people periodically start in with the “tough questions” stuff. Part of the players’ job is to talk to media, yes, but that doesn’t always make it pleasant for everyone. I try to avoid being the “annoying pest” — that’s a great term! — in part by talking to different players. I’ll try not to talk to the same people after every game. Even though he’s the captain, I’ll give Dustin Brown a break now and then. Same for Quick, as the goalie. Often, the game situations dictate which players need to be interviewed.
Joel asked: “1. I saw a story that Voinov was generally unhappy about not getting a shot at the NHL yet. Are Kings officials concerned about him possibly playing in Russia? 2. If the Kings make the playoffs, do you believe Ersberg will still be the #2 goaltender on the roster? 3. Do you have any plans for a state of the union interview from Lombardi in the near future? 4. Are the Kings sending you to cover the Olympics?”
Answers: 1. No. Those quotes kind of took on a life of their own after they got passed around like a game of “telephone.” My interpretation of the quotes was that Voinov, like any AHLer, wants to be in the NHL. I didn’t read anything that said he was unhappy with his treatment from the Kings. So I’d have to say no. 2) Excellent question! But yes, I do think Ersberg would be there, unless for some reason Manchester went in the tank and missed the playoffs. Part of the Kings’ reason for having Bernier in Manchester is to get him that experience of leading a team to the playoffs, and then leading a team THROUGH the playoffs. If the Kings found themselves in a situation in which Quick was hurt, or something, I do think they would go to Bernier, but otherwise I think they want him to win the Calder Cup. 3) Yes. Very soon. I’ll be trying to pin him down on a day real soon. 4) Unfortunately, no. They wanted to, but I think we were too late in the game to get a credential. I should still be able to talk to Kings players from L.A. since, fortunately, there’s not a crazy time change.
Jason asked: “I’m sure everyone will get all worked up over this, but last year Gauthier seemed to provide something that is missing this year. When he was on the ice, the opposition always had to be aware because he had no problem laying a hard, sometimes questionable, hit. There does not seem to be anyone who fills that role this year. Do you think the Kings need someone to step up in this area?”
Answer: Good question. It’s a balance, I think. I do think that the Kings lack what you’re talking about there, and that’s why I see the value in a player such as Richard Clune. I respect what Ivanans does, but he simply doesn’t move well enough to be that kind of threat. Does he stand up for teammates? Yes. Does he hold opponents accountable? Yes. But he can’t do what you’re describing, which takes away that element of “What is this lunatic going to do now?” And I mean that in the best possible way!
Russ asked: “- How much room do the Kings have under the salary cap ? Other than Frolov, are there any major contracts expiring at the end of the season ? – Who drives the scheduling of afternoon games … the Kings or Staples Center ? I much prefer Saturday night games. – Ideally, our #2 goalie would play a dozen games and give Quick more mental/physical rest … even more ideally, that goalie would be a vet who could help mentor Quick. We are FAR from either with Esberg, do you see any potential change re our #2 ? Seems to me Esberg is only here due to a bad contract decision.”
Answer: 1) By my math, the Kings are still roughly more than $3 million under the cap ceiling, unless there are some bonuses out there I’m not aware of. After this season, the unrestricted free agents will be Frolov, Ivanans, Jones and O’Donnell. Restricted free agents include Purcell, Richardson, Parse, Elkins, Lewis, Cliche, Clune, Bagnall and Gauthier. 2) The split Saturdays aren’t ideal, although they’re unavoidable in a building with three pro teams. The reason the Kings get the afternoon slot, I believe, is because the basketball-to-hockey transition would make it worse for the ice conditions. Now, why the Kings are playing an afternoon game against Washington on Jan. 2, when there’s apparently nothing else going on the building…I don’t know. 3) I would say that Ersberg is with the Kings because they want Bernier to do exactly what he’s doing in Manchester: play a lot, and win. I wouldn’t worry too much about a mentor for Quick. He has Bill Ranford and Ron Hextall in his ear.
Jack J 43 asked: “I’ve never seen a player rare back and shoot a slapshot during a shoot-out. Is it an unspoken rule not to or what?”
Answer: No, I don’t think it’s an unspoken rule. I just don’t think it would be very effective. If you’re trying to fake out a goalie, winding up for a slap shot isn’t going to get the goalie out of position. I used to see Visnovsky take slap shots in shootout drills in practice, but I don’t remember if he ever tried one during a game.”
BringBackTheShieldJersey asked: “So, Rich, you cover the Kings. But the Kings are more than the on-ice product, DL, and TM. So the question is, how much does the “Organization” fall within your purview? For example, who gets to pick the underwhelming motifs, such as “See What Develops” and “Power, Pride, and Prejudice”. And can we trade that person for a 2nd rounder? Who designed and picked that terrible 3rd jersey, and can we get a 6th rounder for them? We may have to eat some salary, but that’s ok. But seriously, how about that “organization” coverage?”
Answer: Well, the Kings, like almost every large business, has a marketing department, so I’m going to assume that they handle the marketing of the team. I really don’t have any interest in “covering” the marketing people, unless there’s a big groundswell of desire for me to cover that instead of the team.
Marko asked: “Rich, can you update us where the Kings are with Jordan Nolan? I expected him to play in Manchester or ontario”
Answer: Nolan is doing well for himself in Sault Ste. Marie, with 21 points in 20 goals. He already has 12 goals and should shatter his previous high of 16. But it’s not surprising to me that he’s in junior. He’s a seventh-round pick, and he’s much better off growing in junior for another season than playing in Ontario. I don’t think he would be growing much in Manchester.
Paul from Oxnard asked: “You’ve seen a lot of Kings prospects now in your new job. Who looks like the best Kings prospect not currently playing in LA?”
Answer: Wow, good question. Based on what I saw in training camp, and in his game in Vancouver, Brayden Schenn looked very good. Then again, it’s hard to argue with what Jonathan Bernier is doing in Manchester. But based on what I’ve seen, with my own eyes, I’d pick Schenn.
Scaught asked: “How serious are they about acquiring Lecavalier or another big name on offense?”
Answer: With all respect to your question, I don’t even know how to answer it. What does “serious” mean? There sometimes seems to be a feeling that, if a GM wants a player, he can snap his fingers and make it happen. I’m sure that if the Kings find a trade, either by proposing it or having it presented, that makes short-term and long-term sense, they’ll do it. If you’re asking if they’re going to panic and ship a bunch of prospects out just for the sake of getting a big scorer, no, I don’t see that happening.