The sixth set of questions and answers…
nykingfan asked: My question has to do with Ersberg and since a little bit of controversy over Bernier getting the start, it seems fitting. TM in the beginning of the season had a schedule as to when Ersberg would be getting starts. If memory serves me, it was thru Christmas. After the NYR debacle, TM quickly discarded the schedule and went almost exclusively with Quick.
Was it more than just the game at MSG…was it Ersberg’s practice habits, conditioning…what do you think the reason was that TM soured, for lack of a better term, on Ersberg so quickly early in the season? Assuming next year the Kings go with a Quick/Bernier tandem, how would you see the game splits going…55/25?
Answer: Your recollection is absolutely correct in terms of Murray’s schedule and when he decided to change it. The New York game was the turning point, but Murray also explained that Ersberg had been dealing with a hand injury. I’m not sure how much of that was an excuse, but the ensuing period of time also coincided with Quick’s rise as a goalie. So it was a combination. Murray never seemed to totally forget that Rangers game, and Quick just started rolling. As for next season, I think a 62/20 split might be reasonable. Let’s see how Quick looks at the end of this season, having played so many games. Perhaps he really can handle 70 games.
Joel asked: 1. Why do you think Lombardi chose not to add any blue liners at the trade deadline? 2. Are there any defensive prospects who we can expect to add to the roster before the playoffs? 3. Do you get the sense whether Hickey, Voynov or any other defensive prospect for that matter will be able to win a spot on the club next year? 4. What sense are you getting as to why Drewiske is not getting any playing time lately?
Answers: 1) His explanation was that he wasn’t going to give up prospects/picks for a rental, and he didn’t see any defensemen on the market who would have represented an upgrade and could have been acquired for cheap. 2) I wouldn’t count on it, at least in terms of them getting playing time, unless it’s an Alec Martinez. I can’t see any defensemen coming up, without NHL experience, and getting ice time in the playoffs. 3) I think there will be definitely be a spot open for the taking. Probably just one spot, though, so it could be quite a training-camp battle. 4) The knock on Drewiske, a while back, was that while he has the big body necessary to be a physical defenseman, he was playing a bit too much of a “contain” game and not being aggressive enough. I’d have to assume that’s still part of the issue, along with Murray’s belief that he needs Randy Jones’ skill set.
FinKing Tmu asked: Rich, I would like for You to comment on this: While everyone is talking about should there be 3 points or 2 points for win etc. Then how about this, 2 points for win in regulation or OT, 1 point for SO win and no points if you lose in any case. In this case we would have the same simple “3 way record bar” as now, only in this case the last number would indicate OT wins not losses.
Answer: I’m good with that. Actually, I’m good with just going back to tie games, after a five-minute 4-on-4, but I understand that I’m probably in the vast minority on that one. I don’t think there’s a perfect fit, but I don’t like the fact that some games in the NHL are worth three points while others are worth two. There’s just something about that that sits wrong with me.
LAKingsFan26: Great job as always. I always wanted to know if Terry Murray ever has any interaction with Phil Jackson. I think that Phil could give Terry some good insight on the mental aspect or even handling personnel on a young, up and coming team. Phil’s record speaks for itself and I think he could provide Terry some interesting feedback. Although both coach opposite sports, my feeling is Terry could get some good ideas.
Answer: I don’t believe they’ve had interaction. I do know that, in my time covering the Dodgers, manager Jim Tracy always talked about his desire to meet Phil Jackson. I believe they finally did meet at some point. Having covered Phil’s Lakers a bit also, it’s interesting because Phil and Terry aren’t as dissimilar as you might think. Neither coach “over-coaches” and they both have sort of wry sense of humor. Phil has a much bigger ego than Terry, but they would probably have an interesting conversation about how to develop a team. I think it would be interesting to bring all the coaches in Southern California together for a panel interview on FS West.
EASportsMgt asked: I was called out for not having hockey knowledge for believing that Ersberg as the backup should be the goalie if Quick goes down. I want to know your opinion on what you think the right move would be if Quick (and I hope it doesn’t happen) goes down now or in the playoffs? Other questions: How often do players switch agents? Have you heard of any players firing their agents? I know JJ fired his before his contract negotiations. Do you think Fro resigns before July 1 or do you think he tests the market and gets more than what the Kings are willing to offer?
Answers: 1) I think it would sort of depend (hypothetically of course) on how significant Quick’s injury was. If the Kings were in a situation in which Quick was clearly out, long term, I do believe Bernier would get the call. If it’s a day-to-day thing, probably Ersberg. 2) I don’t think players switch agents that often. I know that Rob Blake did, a while back, also, but I used to see a lot more changes in baseball, where agents were very competitive and always trying to get guys to flip. 3) At this point, I would suspect that Frolov will hit the free-agent market on July 1. Unless he and the Kings come to a quick agreement on salary, there wouldn’t be much motivation for Frolov to not at least test the market.
scv king asked: 1. Who do you think will be the backup goalie in the playoffs, Ersberg or Bernier? 2. Do you think Frolov will be a King next year?
Answers: 1) Ersberg, unless the Monarchs are eliminated very early. 2) I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk “no,” but I’d say the chances are less than 50 percent at this point.
jammer06 asked: Can you quantify what if any media change there has been around the kings this year? If so can you attribute an amount to their so far success and any boost post olympics? Generally speaking are there more people covering the Kings, and are the Kings making adjustments to handle the coverage.
Answer: The biggest change is probably that the L.A. Times started traveling with the Kings again on a regular basis. That’s a big step because, as I can tell you first-hand, when newspapers stop spending travel money, they rarely start again. There’s probably been a slight increase in the number of bloggers/website reporters, but I haven’t noticed much of an increase in local TV coverage, other than the spurt of coverage directly before and after the Olympics. That will change if the Kings make the playoffs.
AZ King asked: Wanted to get your take on how Modin and Halpern are fitting in. Modin seems to be finding his stride with the team, and seems to have meshed well the Zeus. I know Halpern has been stuck on forth line duty and hasn’t had a chance to make much of an impact, but is TM happy with what he’s gotten out of Halpern so far?
Answer: He’s doing OK. I think Modin has made more of an impact, all around, than Halpern, and has probably settled into a role quicker, but Halpern has been responsible on the fourth line and has contributed well on special teams. The Kings weren’t necessarily looking for a goal scorer in Halpern. If he can play responsible minutes centering the fourth line, he will give them what they wanted.
Tony asked: Just curious why Sunday’s game started so early?
Answer: Inititally, there was supposed to be a basketball game in the evening at Staples, but it got moved, and the Kings/Staples decided not to change the game time. I heard, in part, because it was billed as a “family day.”
Old Man asked: Rich, Please can you tell me after 37 years why i still go to every game and love the Kings so much?
Answer: As someone who has cheered for the Chicago Cubs for 23 years…I’ve got nothing for you. I almost think that we don’t choose our teams. They choose us.