Open Forum answers III

The questions and answers continue. The third set…

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EncinoMan asked: 1) Has there been any more talk regarding Wayne Gretzky assuming a role within the organization? 2) Whom on the Kings current roster would you consider as “untouchable” as far as a future trade would be concerned. My initial thoughts would be Quick, Doughty, Kopitar, and possibly Simmonds. 3) Do you think the Teddy Purcell experiment has just about run its course?

Answer: 1) No, there aren’t any negotiations or conversations or anything like that. As I understand it, the door is open for Gretzky, in a general way, and if he’s interesting in talking, the Kings are interested as well. It hasn’t gotten beyond that. 2) At this point, the only two I would consider completely untouchable are Doughty and Kopitar, although Simmonds is making a strong case for inclusion. 3) I guess that presumes that there was some sort of “experiment.” The way I see it, Purcell is just another player on the roster, so I wouldn’t call it the “Purcell experiment” any more than I’d call it the “Harrold experiment.” The idea that Purcell could be a major offensive contributor did not pan out. At this point, he’s a guy on the roster, who can go in and out of the lineup based on need.

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Otto asked: Hey Rich, do you have any ideas on what kind of cars the kings players drive? i’ve always wondered that also, who’s the easiest kings player to talk to? the funniest (is it greene?), any recluses?

Answers: 1) Very nice cars. 2) They’re all quite easy to talk to. I would definitely say Greene is the funniest. If there’s one who is difficult to talk to, it’s probably Frolov, who is a nice guy but doesn’t seem comfortable being interviewed.

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KingRob asked: We’ve heard a lot about Frolov’s upcoming UFA status and contract negotiations, but I haven’t heard much of O’donnell’s upcoming expiring contract. Have any hints of retirement popped up? Or does OD think he has another year or years left in him?

Answer: In talking to O’Donnell, I don’t get the sense that he’s ready to retire yet. Given that he has strong ties to Southern California, though, I don’t know what his reaction would be if the Kings chose not to re-sign him during the summer. I don’t think that’s a decision that will be made before the summer.

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backchecker asked: Question what was the team record at this time last year vs this year

Answer: Through 55 games last season, the Kings were 24-22-9 (57 points). Through 55 games this season, they’re 33-19-3 (69 points).

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Jimbo1007 asked: Curious what a typical day (both game days and off days) is like when the team is on an extended homestand. On non-game days, what time do players get to the rink, how long do practices last, what do they do after practice (do they hit the gym, watch game films, just hang out)? On game days I always hear of a “morning skate.” Where does that take place? Is it structured, or just players stretching, and loosening up at their own pace? Do the players then go home, and come back for the game, or do they stay together?

Answer: Whether it’s a game day or a practice day, a skate time is set. For morning skates, it’s almost always 10 a.m. It’s often 11 a.m. for practices, but can be slightly earlier or later. For the Kings, practices and skates almost always take place at their practice rink in El Segundo. Players will arrive at different times, and leave at different times, depending on if they want to stay and work out at the gym. At the morning skates, there is structure, and coaches will put players through drills, but only for about 20-25 minutes. Practices can last anywhere from 40-70 minutes, depending on situation. On a game day, players will go home after the skate and then drive to Staples Center in the late afternoon.

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Brandon asked: I want to know what your personal opinion is on what the kings are doing to do about getting a player in here that can be “the one” that people are going to come and see. I love the team right now, believe me, but with all the talk doesn’t something have to happen?

Answer: No, it really doesn’t. And I’m not trying to be flippant about your question, but Internet rumor-mongering, no matter how much of it takes place, does not actually impact whether or not a trade is going to be made. There’s endless talk about Kovalchuk because people get attention for themselves if they talk about Kovalchuk. That deal, like any deal, will get done if it gets done. Lombardi has proved himself to be, if nothing else, patient. If a deal is right, he will do it. If not, he won’t.

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Jake asked: Rich I love when you do end of game stats like shots, hits, leaders in ice time, ect…. I was wondering if you could do that more often and maybe a one at the end of the month giving us a summary of how we did this month. And do the Kings still have a ping pong table in the locker room?

Answer: Thanks, and I like doing those stats as well, but unfortunately, the time after the game is the most hectic of all, especially on the road. Perhaps it’s something I can do the morning after games. I’ll try to remember that. And yes, the ping-pong table is still there, but it doesn’t seem to get as much use this season with Derek Armstrong gone, at least from what I’ve seen.

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Mike asked: Any good stories from the road trip? Let’s say Kovalchuk was traded, what percentage would you say the Kings have at nabbing him? And please don’t say 50%.

Answers: 1) It all sort of blurs together after a while. Things are funny at the time but then lose context. The trip will definitely be remembered for the genius in Detroit on the catwalk. 2) OK, 49 percent! I honestly have no idea. At this point, I’d say they have just as good a chance as any other team with interest. It’s not a race. There are no favorites or leaders. Whichever team ends up making the most attractive offer before March 3 will get him.

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CanadianKing asked: 1. What’s your take on Moller’s play as of late? I see a much more confident player out there lately and I would love him to get a shot on the first line for a couple games. 2. Do you think Ryan Smyth would best be suited as the Kings captain and just let Brown step back and worry about developing his game? It’s done wonders for Marleau. 3. Being a proud Canadian, I’m curious what your thoughts are on coming up here for road games. Have you had good experiences so far? Have you had a good poutine yet?

Answers: 1) The grit is there, the desire is there and the heart is there. The skill might even be there. But Moller just isn’t physically ready to handle the demands of what you’re suggesting. Some day soon? Perhaps, yes. 2) I’ve thought about that, and while I do think Brown feels pressure, I don’t necessarily think it’s in the context of being captain. I think he just puts pressure on himself, period, and needs to relax. I’m not sure that would change depending on the letter (or lack thereof) on his jersey. 3) I’ve had wonderful experiences in Canada, except for the WEATHER. You really have to do something about that. But the people are so nice, and it’s always great to just walk around and experience something new. No poutine yet!

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Lanny McDonald’s `Stache asked: Rich, my question… you don’t find yourself rooting for the Kings even just a LITTLE bit now???

Answer: Honestly — and I know we’re having fun with this — no. I certainly do “root” for compelling storylines, because it makes my job more interesting and fun, and certainly the Kings’ playoff push is a compelling story, but if the Kings lose, I’m not particularly upset about it. As I said, in response to a question last time, my thoughts are about trying to do my job the right way, not about the outcome of the game. By the way, I saw you in Toronto. Very white, at this point, but still very full.

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D B Cooper asked: any word on FRO? if we don’t sign him, we would need another offensive player, although, Sheldon Souray is available and would do great to replace SOD at next year’s team. do you see a 3 way team trade to get an offensive player if FRO is gone?

Answer: No update on Frolov. I’ll be fairly surprised if he doesn’t hit the free-agent market, although that doesn’t necessarily mean he wouldn’t re-sign with the Kings after July 1. Sheldon Souray? I really don’t think so, unless his defensive skills suddenly rise to match that shot. A three-team trade? I have no idea what the parameters of that would be, so I’ll have to say no on that one.

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