Open Forum answers VII

The next set of questions and answers…

KC23 asked: “1) What is the most uncomfortable subject you have to deal with in your job? I always felt it would be to critical of players you have to be around. 2) I happen to think DD is a fantastic player, but do you feel he would be getting this much hype if he was a Euro player or even from USA?”

Answer: 1) Yes, that’s really the only uncomfortable part, to the extent that it is. Nice thing is, players and coaches understand that I have a job to do. As long as I’m fair and respectful to them, I don’t think there’s a problem, so that’s what I try to be. 2) No, I don’t. And I agree with you that it doesn’t make him any less of a player, but it’s absolutely true that a talented Canadian player will get more attention than any other player. And that’s not a knock on Canadian media either. They do a fantastic job of covering the sport, and naturally they’re going to focus on their athletes more.


jayhay asked: “ had a poll question tonite asking the whole hockey world if they thought Jon Quick would make the US Oly team. Coming into the year, he was probably penciled as the #3, with his slowish start and Craig Anderson’s white hot start, JQ may have fallen to the 4th spot after Oct. Since then, Tim Thomas has played nothing like his Vezina season last year, and Anderson has come back to earth a bit. I had heard/read that much of JQ’s invite to the orientation camp in Aug was in regard to him being the US goalie in the future. 3rd string would be cool, but if he could backup Ryan Miller, that would/could mean a lot to a young goalies confidence and development in representing team USA in the future. Do you think Jon Quick is playing his way into that backup role for the US?”

Answer: I think the momentum has come back Quick’s way over the past couple weeks. He attended the camp, which was a clear sign that Team USA saw him for the No. 3 spot, but then Quick’s early-season wobble coincided with Anderson’s white-hot start. At that point, I think Anderson had the edge, but now I think it’s back to Quick. As for the No. 2 spot, it’s hard to say. It’s hard to argue with Thomas’ experience, but he’s been rather inconsistent this season. Either way, just making the team at all would be a big boost for Quick.


Catcherman asked: “I’d like to know why the players use smelling salts before the periods and if there are any negative effects of long term use (career). Who gets the players into using them and how early in their playing careers is smelling salts introduced to them? Is it only at the NHL level?”

Answer: I really don’t have the slighest idea. You’re talking about a huge story that would require interviewing huge numbers of players at every level of the sport in order to get an accurate, representative answer. I remember reading that Gretzky used them, and I have not heard of any negative effects, but my hunch is not that they’re “widespread.”


kings fan in dallas asked: “Does any of the players family or girl friends travel with the team….or meet them on the road? If so….do the kings help set them up with hotel or plane flights? just wondering.”

Answer: No, I don’t believe that ever happens, and I don’t believe it would be encouraged either, since the point is to focus on hockey.


Marc v asked: “Is AIG doing to try to improve the ice surface at Staple Center, it is one of the chippest in the NHL?”

Answer: We go over this often, but from what I am told, the quality of the ice surface is impacted because of the number of events that take place at Staples Center during the year. It’s a busy arena that has a floor over the ice almost every single night, which happens far less in Edmonton, for instance.


Dave in Inyokern asked: “Not having played hockey, I do not understand what makes a player a “natural center”. Can you explain what traits a player may possess to consider themselves a natural center rather than a winger?”

Answer: Well, I’d say vision, passing ability and size are three traits that would lend toward playing center. Certainly there are strong goal-scoring centers, but the best ones are the ones who can see the ice, move the puck and have a big body to withstand the physical play that takes place in the middle of the ice (and everywhere, for that matter). The ability to win faceoffs is also an important skill.


deadcatbounce asked: “In light of the surprisingly good play of the Phoenix Coyotes so far this season, do you believe that this is more indicative of Dave Tippett’s presence or Wayne Gretzky’s absence?”

Answer: I would think there are more factors in play, such as the maturation of younger players and an “us against the world” type of attitude, but if I’m just choosing between those two aspects, I would clearly choose Tippett, because I think he’s a very talented coach and it doesn’t surprise me to see his team showing immediate improvement.


EASportsMgt asked: “Another off the wall question. Someone earlier asked about the pregame show. What are your thoughts about “A Day in the Life” pregame show for every player? The NHL network used to do (may still do it) a program that followed a player for the entire day of game day. It was awesome to see them in a different light. My guess is that the fans will 1) watch the show which will then be followed by the game so more viewers. 2) increase the fan base by showing how awesome hockey players are 3)provide a program that no other team in LA is doing to showcase their players. What are your thoughts”

Answer: Well, I think that’s a fine idea, and it’s something FSN has done — at least in a similar fashion — with its “Kings Insider” show, but what you’re talking about would cost money, and FSN has already told us how it intends to spend the money it invests in the Kings (well, sort of). So unless they increase that investment, or decide to spend money in a different way, I wouldn’t count on any type of pregame show.


Mean Machine asked: “My question is will the Kings make a trade to get scoring depth or goaltending depth.? With the way the schedule is, the Kings could be in 7th in west once the holiday break really begins. I have noticed when the Kings score more than 4 goals in a game have a perfect record, when they score less than 4 goals below .500.”

Answer: Anything is possible. I would lean toward more scoring depth than goaltending depth at this point, but the trade market is very quiet because so many teams are still in the playoff race. A GM, for the most part, isn’t going to talk about selling off assets while his team is still in the playoff hunt. I’ll go back to the backup goalie thing, with a question. Would you give up a first-round pick, or a valued prospect, for a goalie who might play 6-8 games for the Kings? Because any goalie who you would want to put in your net…he’s going to cost something.”


Crown Royal asked: A question you might ask DL. In the last draft the Kings seemed to target tougher North American players. Will this trend continue or is DL satisfied that the last draft stocked the organization in that area? Will the pendulum now swing toward speed and skill or is a balance between the two currently planned? Also in your personal view what do the Kings need to add to the current roster… a specific kind of, or kinds of players to make a legit run at the cup withing the next two seasons?”

Answers: 1) Well, just to be clear, I don’t think any GM — or head scout, etc. — worth his salt would tell you what his draft strategy is, since it would be a massive hand-tipping to every other team. But, from what I can gather from what Lombardi and Mike Futa said after the draft, it seems as though the Kings wanted, in last year’s draft, to address that specific need for “tough” players. I wouldn’t expect that it would become a draft trend. It’s more likely that you’ll see balance, or another area addressed in a similar way. 2) I don’t think there’s any formula for making a Stanley Cup run. Recent seasons tell us that you get into the playoffs and take your chances. But in order to build a consistent winner, I still think the Kings need a top-six scorer. They have been hoping, for a couple years now, that Teddy Purcell would be able to fill a role like that, but I’m not sure how much longer they can wait.

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