The seventh set of Open Forum questions and answers…
Doughtys_Teeth asked: I heard through the grapevine that there was talk about the kings playing a home game at the Inglewood forum? Like do a classic game there. I thought it was a cool idea and was wondering if u knew anything about that?
Answer: I think it would be fun, but I’ve heard a couple circumstantial reasons why it might never happen. For one, I heard — although I can’t remember the source, that the ability to make ice there is gone. Second, the Lakers played a game there during the preseason, and apparently the arena was in such poor condition that the players dressed elsewhere and just took a bus to the arena.
Christobal asked: How much does Simmonds weigh now?
Answer: He’s listed at 183 points. That’s all I can go off.
KC23 asked: Rich, I am wondering your number of hours per week you actually work. It seems you are a 24/7′er and wonder where you find time for a life? What got me thinking about this was the passing of your mother was the same week as the passing of mine. My life was on hold for well over a week dealing with it. Do you get paid by the Kings and did Luc give the final approval for your compensation for doing this blog? Luc seems to be doing extremely well at promoting the Kings.
Answers: 1) Honestly, I prefer not to think about the number of hours. It’s significant, but most of the time it doesn’t feel like work, so if I started counting hours, I would fear that it would start to feel like work. I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I hope all is as well as possible. 2) I do get paid by the Kings, yes, for the work here on the blog and for the stories on LAKings.com. Robitaille was one of the people involved in discussing this job, but I had conversations of varying length and depth with him, communications VP Mike Altieri and Tim Leiweke.
Pauly P asked: Wondering, I have a Kings tattoo, what could we do to open a forum where we all send in our pic’s representing with our Kings tat’s? Ive met quite a few fans with cool kings art, it would be cool to check out. Maybe “Kings tat night” segment??
Answer: Actually, if you go on the Hockeywood, L.A., site — through LAKings.com — there’s a good ability to upload photos to that community. Sounds like a good way of sharing them.
NMKingsFan: Just a silly question from a hockey geek. I noticed that Ryan Smyth seems to play with a stick that is short for his height and and Jarret Stoll plays with a stick that seems much longer than his height would dictate. Have you ever talked with either of these guys about this? I imagine the longer stick of Stoll is for leverage, I don’t know whether for his shot or faceoffs. Any ideas?
Answer: Not a silly question at all. For those guys, it’s just a matter of feel and comfort. They’re used to playing with certain equipment, and some guys are thrown off by any kind of change. Sometimes there’s not much rationale to it. I haven’t talked to Stoll about it, because I hadn’t really noticed that. Smyth keeps his short because of the tight battles he has in front of the net, which is where he scores most of his goals.
Gossett asked: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced so far working for the Kings? What has been a rewarding part of your job that you did not expect? Have there been any prospects that have been talked about by DL or others that are exceeding expectations? (Any prospects really getting noticed in a positive way)
Answers: 1) I wouldn’t say there has been anything to “overcome” necessarily. When you’re working (almost) every single day, you have to manage your time well, but that’s not specific to working with the Kings. I don’t know if there’s any rewarding aspects that I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve done this, in one form or another, for the past nine years, so I’m just happy to discover that it’s as fun as it always was. 2) I haven’t heard any names in particular. The goalies clearly are impressing, and the guys who had impressed in Manchester (Moller, Parse, Segal, etc.) are here already.
aj asked: 1) what player is missing the most teeth? 2) how is Lombardi intending to handle having 2 potential starters in the franchise? especially when one is pulling such a heavy load. i know the “you can’t have too many good pitchers” comment, but really, there’s only one spot for a starter.
Answers: 1) I think it’s Dustin Brown, with three or four in front. 2) Again, I appreciate the question, but I’m going back to my same answer. One guy is only two-thirds through his first NHL season. The other guy has played four NHL games. Let’s wait until it’s proven that the Kings have two No. 1-quality goalies until we talk about ways to resolve the issue. In general, those things work themselves out.
JPKelly asked: 1) Is there the journalistic equivalent of what Dean Lombardi refers to as the “butt tattoo”? (i.e. some lasting “mark” of initiation that reflects, maybe, the high school or college paper where you cut your teeth in the trade, or your favorite source to read when you were young?) 2) The next time you get a chance, can you ask Deano if he has a butt tattoo and, if so, what it is? I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know.
Answers: 1) For most people, it’s probably the college paper, but I only spent a couple months at my college paper before I got a job, so for me it’s high school, where I really learned what it would take to be a journalist. I grew up reading Sports Illustrated, so I’m loyal to that. 2) You’re sure about that? It’s probably a Yankees tattoo.
Redlights asked: 1) In a typical situation how long after a trade is finalized by the GM’s does it usually take to go public? 2) If and when a trade goes down, any chance of that news breaking on this site. I think it would be a real treat for the loyalist to get the info first.
Answers: 1) Usually very quickly, unless there’s some hold-up such as a player having to waive a no-trade clause, etc. 2) I had to chuckle a bit at that. Not that it was a bad question. I mean, the goal of every reporter is always to get the story first. You’re trying to get information out of people who, most often, aren’t really motivated to give it to you, so it’s a very difficult thing to break news.
AndyG asked: Why are none of the Kings games in Canada televised in LA this year?
Answer: Second verse, same as the first!
ziggy33 asked: I was wondering if you could give your opinion on which of Dean Lombardi’s “boxes” have been filled. Obviously Doughty would fill that 1A Defenseman, Kopi would be the top line center etc. Second question, what is your take on Quick’s pedestrian statistics? He is 21st in the league in goals against average, 27th in save percentage, and tied for 24th in shutouts. Obviously there are some aspects of his game that do not show up in the stats such as his ability to play a “heavy” game or his ability to play so many nights without rest. That being said, would you agree that Quick is not an elite NHL goaltender? Thanks again for all your hard work.
Answers: 1) I think Lombardi’s “boxes” are very close to getting filled, at least from his perspective. There’s a No. 2 center spot open, in the long term, that could be filled by Schenn or Loktionov, and there’s a top-four defense spot to be filled. Now, over time, spots will open up and be filled, but that’s where free agency and prospects can come into play. 2) I’ll answer that the same way I answer folks who ask about having “two No. 1 goalies.” Quick is two-thirds of the way through his first NHL season. He’s becoming what he’s going to be. For better or worse, he’s not there yet. Would I agree, right now, that he’s not an elite NHL goalie? Yes, I would. Could he — or Bernier or Zatkoff — rise to that level? Yes. It’s just too early.
Christobal asked: What does AEG do to promote youth hockey in the city/socal?
Answer: That’s a very general question. The biggest thing they did is probably building that rink in El Segundo that’s jammed with kids every weekend. Beyond that, I know of the rink tours and clinics, etc. Beyond that, it’s pretty far outside my scope.
Pauline asked: Isn’t there a problem on some level when coaches like the Kings’ Terry Murray applaud the actions of Wayne Simmonds for retaliating on an admittedly clean hit without regard for what the officials might have called? I fully understand that Mark Stuart checked Kopitar and the unwritten code is to avenge the hit your best player took, but it was not a dirty hit and Kopi had his head down and was obviously fair game. Why bother to have the refs on the ice to make calls if the players are going to disregard or in this case not even consider their calls? And how does it make the NHL look (not that they need any help in the black eye dept.) when a Coach defends the actions of his player who decided to retaliate and put the Kings on the penalty kill?
Answer: It’s a good question/subject, and one that I don’t think is going to be settled in the NHL anytime soon. I don’t know that it’s completely unique to hockey though. Look at baseball and the beanball/brushback wars that start over, often, very little. It’s part of that “unwritten code” you mention, that every sport has. Is it silly and unnecessary? I bet a lot of people would argue “yes,” but that’s the way it is, and I would agree that Terry Murray is “olds chool” in that sense. In general, he seems to prefer that players handle their own business on the ice. Does that usurp the authority of the NHL a bit? That’s a very good question.