Here’s the first set of the Open Forum questions and answers. Please feel free to continue asking questions in the original post — or here, it doesn’t matter — and I’ll try to get through them as quickly as possible. If you’d like to do some listening, instead of reading, this morning, you can check out the recording of yesterday’s postgame “Kings Talk” by clicking here. The first set of answers follows…
Troy asked: Question from my Dad: Why is Randy Jones receiving time over Peter Harrold or even Davis Drewiske. Although Jones has seemed to play well defensively his last two games, I still think Harrold was solid as a D-man. Have Terry Murray or Dean Lombardi discussed this? Thanks.
Answer: Mostly, I would have to assume, because Jones brings a different type of game than the other two guys you mentioned, although Harrold is closer to Jones than Drewiske. On defense, you’re generally looking for a balance between puck-movers and bigger guys, to put it in general terms. There’s really nobody, other than perhaps Voynov in Manchester, who can step in and fill that specific need. The rub, though, comes if that “puck-mover” starts costing your team goals, and you become better off going in a different direction.
Sylar asked: With the playoffs fast approaching, what match ups do you want to see for the first round of both Eastern and Western conferences?
Answer: As in, matchups that I would find personally interesting? Given the way the West is shaping up, where it seems likely that either Detroit or Calgary will be the No. 8 seed, a first-round series pitting either of those teams against either San Jose or Chicago would really be something. A Kings-Phoenix first-round series would be great. In the East, I’m pretty confident that Washington and Pittsburgh will roll against anyone in the first round, so I’d like to see Philadelphia take a step up and meet New Jersey in a 4-5 series.
Virgil asked: Why cant the kings have great starts, and what is the coaching staff doing to fix this huge isur
Answer: It’s the old cliche…if they knew what the problem was, they’d fix it. Some teams are just like that. Every time it’s brought up, players and coaches say it’s up to the players to get themselves individually prepared. It’s not like baseball, where there’s batting practice and bullpen before a game. The players either come ready to play in the first period, or they don’t.
jet asked: Rich — Hockey’s future recently came out with the King’s top 20 prospects. I noticed that Wudrick, Westgrth, Vey, Elkins, Clune, Holloway, CZ, and Cliche did not make the list. I am wondering if DL is planning to keep all of the King’s draft picks, as it appears we will soon be up against the signed prospect limit. Second question, any idea if Teubert is going to Ontario?
Answer: I don’t have the numbers right in front of me, but I don’t believe the Kings are bumping the 50-contract ceiling just yet in terms of signed prospects. I would assume that a couple of the guys you mentioned, Westgarth and Clune, would be taking roster spots at the NHL level next season, and perhaps Cliche as well. Players such as Trevor Lewis, Gabe Gauthier and Drew Bagnall will be RFAs this summer, so the Kings will have to decide what to do with them, and Lombardi always seems to move his picks around anyway. Like Quisp, I’d be pretty surprised if Teubert didn’t end up with Manchester.
Bruce asked: Where will Colten Teubert be assigned now that the Regina Pats’ season is over?
Answer: That decision hasn’t been made yet, but even though Teubert wasn’t on Manchester’s “clear-day” roster, he can still be added to it as a junior player whose season has ended. It’s hard to imagine him going to Ontario again this season.
AK47 asked: 1. How much of a disappointment would it be if the Kings didn’t make the playoffs? 2. What are the Kings gonna do with Colten Teubert? Ontario? 3. Your thoughts on Crosby’s game winning goal in the Gold Medal game :)? 4. Why, in your opinion, do you think Mike Green was left off team Canada? 5. Do the Kings management feel like Trevor Lewis is a bust? Or do they think there’s still time for him to prove himself, his contract is up this summer, he’ll become a RFA, what do you think they’ll do? 6. If Manchester somehow doesn’t make the playoffs, do you see Bernier backing up Quick or would that make 0 sense?
Answers: 1) At this point? Enormous. 2) Hasn’t been decided, but I would have to guess Manchester, unless the Kings are really unhappy with his game (no evidence of that). 3) Simple play, but the poise it took to do it, on the biggest stage of the world, was tremendous. Great play by Iginla as well. 4) Green is a tremendous offensive defenseman, but given the talent Canada had up front, they probably thought they’d get more stability from a player with a skill set like Doughty’s. Hard to argue with how it worked out. 5) There’s still time. The shoulder injury really set him back, but it’s fair to say that he’s approaching that Teddy Purcell type of territory. If he gets another opportunity at the NHL level, he needs to grab it and not let go. 6) I hadn’t given it a thought, to be honest, but it wouldn’t shock me.
AK47 asked: 7. Why do you feel like DL has a sort of love for the CHL, he wants almost all his prospects, well I’m not sure what’s being said behind the doors, but it almost feels as though he’d rather them go through the CHL then the Swedish Elite League, or the Russian League, or even play in the NCAA. You’ve seen it with guys like Loktionov, Moller and most recently, Robbie Czarnik. 8. While we’re on point about Czarnik, what do you think his future looks like? He’s playing on the same line as Tyler Seguin and is playing extremely well, I see a bright future but for some reason, DL didn’t mention him in the prospects pool during his Breakfast meeting and HockeyFuture’s didn’t mention him in their top 20, surprising because this guy is talented
Answers: 7) I think, in terms of the CHL, it’s different story when you’re talking about the Europeans and the college kids. Two recent examples are Voynov and Loktionov. Lombardi wanted them in North America to learn that type of game, to learn the language and, most importantly, to learn what it’s like to grow on a team with players of similar age. There was some issue with Czarnik, Michigan and the Kings that I’m still not totally clear on — maybe related to the whole Lombardi/Berenson thing? — but I don’t think Lombardi has anything against NCAA hockey. 8) Czarnik has 48 points in 42 games for Plymouth, so yes, he’s doing well, but there’s a pretty deep pool there too, when you’re talking about Schenn and Loktionov as the top two centers on the reserve list.
Lady asked: Has Luc said anything about hosting the winter classic or just having an outside game here or having the Kings play in one? I would love to get some updates about this. I think it would be a great thing for LA. I’m not even worried about the ice because I’m sure it’s not going to be the best, I could see it being done. I know we have the Draft coming to LA next season, but I always thought we need to get an outdoor game here.
Answer: First, to answer your question directly, I don’t think there’s any real movement on that right now, but I do think it will happen some day. I’m not sure if it will be L.A./Anaheim or San Jose, but the novelty of it will be too big to resist at some point. Right now, there are still enough cities (New York, Calgary, etc.) that will be in line for the game. Seeing it at the Coliseum would really be something. The Rose Bowl, obviously, is occupied on Jan. 1.
uvgt2bkdnme asked: With respect to line combinations, how do the players react/respond to the seemingly frequent changes in line combinations? Whether due to injury or players returning or just to “shake things up,” it seems to me that Terry Murray has changed the lines quite a bit this season. Do the players feel as though they need a bit of time with new linesmates to gel, or do they just seem to shrug off the changes with an attitude of “I’m a professional, so I should be able to play with anyone”?
Answer: The latter. In an ideal world, yes, you’d like to see lines stay together, but there’s a couple things on that. One, let’s not forget that Terry Murray isn’t the first coach to change up lines. I’ve covered three Kings coaches — well, not counting John Torchetti — and all three of them were not afraid to change it up at the drop of a hat. Two, if you take a look around the league, very few lines stay together long-term. Injuries change things, as does the need for coaches to stay on top of things. In today’s league, a three-game losing streak can send you out of the playoffs. Players, for the most part, shrug it off. They’re all familiar with each other. The bigger thing is when a player is asked to move from left wing to right wing, etc., if he’s not totally comfortable with that. Some are, more than others.
wontonkings01 asked: How many points do you think the Kings will need to get to make the playoffs? How many to win home ice?
Answer: Right now, Calgary, the No. 9 seed in the West, is on pace for 93 points, so assuming that holds up, the Kings would need nine points in their last 14 games to reach 94 points. Phoenix, the No. 4 seed right now, is on pace for 106 points, so the Kings would need 22 points in their last 14 games to reach 107. Remember, though, that these projected totals often come down late in the season, when conference teams play each other almost exclusively.
oldthunder asked: Rich, who is the biggest prankster is in the King’s locker room? Any good stories? Also, if/when the kings hit the playoffs, who is the team Murray would least like to play against.
Answers: 1) I don’t know that there are any pranksters in particular. Going back a couple years, Tom Kostopoulos was well-known for his pranks. The one I heard recently, and he told the story the postgame season-ticket Q&A last week, was Wayne Simmonds talking about getting dressed after a game and finding his shoes cut in half. 2) Well, you’re never going to hear Murray publicly say he doesn’t want to face a team. That would be an enormous lack of confidence on his part. If you’re asking my opinion, based on what I’ve seen so far this season I think the Kings would like to stay as far from the path of Vancouver (and Roberto Luongo in particular) as possible,
Carlo asked: If you look under espn rumors. They are talking about Bernier being a hot commodity in the summer. Do you think the Kings are going to shop him around the league?
Answer: A summer full of Bernier rumors…my dream come true! No, I would be shocked beyond belief if Bernier was “shopped.” Is it possible he would be included in some blockbuster trade? I suppose, but they’re not going to be actively looking to move him.