The seventh set of questions and answers follows…
Stan Lee Cup asked: Is it me, or are the refs purposely not dropping the puck on face-off’s. Why are they holding it and faking the drop all the time. Drop the darn thing! Stoll and Zeus get kicked out so often it gets frustrating, and the result is a lost face off more often than not.
Answer: I’m not sure if this is what you’re noticing, exactly, but the refs are handling faceoffs a little differently this season, in that they’re doing a more deliberate job of “showing” the puck before they drop it. In general, though, I haven’t noticed that Kings centers are getting kicked out at a substantially higher rate than opposing players.
`11 Cup Winners asked: Slovenia will probably never have an Olympic hockey team; does Kopitar want US citizenship to play in the Olympics or is that something he just has to forgo?
Answer: I asked Kopitar about this, jokingly, and I don’t think there’s any real interest on his part. You never know…maybe his success will lead to a hockey surge in Slovenia!
variable asked: no major questions this time around for ya’…it seems you got many to answer… however, i just wanted know if you plan on producing any other blog events…either staples related and/or off-site…towards the end of the season and/or playoffs…?
Answer: I’d like to do something at the practice rink, perhaps for the development camp or for the start of training camp, something free for everyone, but I don’t have any concrete ideas right now. The “suite” went so well that I’d definitely like to have more events.
ADub87 asked: Thanks for always doing this! When you hear of a player being traded for “Future Considerations”, what is meant by that?
Answer: It could be, as AZ King referenced, a “conditional” situation. It could be a draft pick. It could be, essentially, absolutely nothing. It depends on what the teams agree upon.
#27 Forum Blue & Gold asked: Hi Rich, Great job! We are Kings Fans living in WA and watch the games via DirectTV. We’re worried about the Versus (Comcast)/DirectTv fued and wonder if it will affect the Kings playoff coverage. Basically, Versus has the TV rights to the first several rounds of playoffs – will the Kings games be available on FSN or be blacked out?
Answer: Good news today, in that Versus will be back on DirecTV. But to answer your question anyway, yes, Versus does have rights to broadcast the games it chooses, so a Versus game in the first round, for instance,w ould not be shown on FS West.
FITTIN2 asked: My question is regarding Lombardi’s drafting of Drew. Have you ever asked Dean who he would have picked if he did end up with the first pick in that draft? Dean talks a lot of how Drew impressed him during the interview process. Did he plan on drafting Drew no matter where he landed in the draft or would he have grabbed Stamkos instead. I don’t even know if Dean would say what his plans were; but I thought I’d ask.
Answer: It’s an intersting question, but one we’ll never know the answer to, sadly. It’s sort of like your wife asking you, “Would you rather have married your college girlfriend?” Rough one, huh? Here’s a thought…perhaps the Kings would have traded down to No. 2 and picked up Doughty and some other piece in exchange for the No. 1 pick.
Mel asked: Do you think you could make more special appearances on Kings talk in the near future? When you filled in for one of the radio broadcasts, I thought you were excellent on Kings Talk during the drive home. It would be great to have another person with great insight along with Nick and Darryl.
Answer: Thanks for the compliment, and doing Kings Talk with Nick was a lot of fun. Good questions, and Nick does a great job as the host. Nick and Daryl have it well in hand, but if they ever wanted to have me sit in again, I’d be more than happy to do it.
Samantha asked: I heard that at the trade deadline Dean refused to give up Frolov in a deal for Kovalchuk. True or false?
Answer: As in, a straight-up, one-for-one trade? Someone actually wrote/said that in public? Anyway… No.
George asked: Was it Luc’s decision to add Jeremy Roenick as a feature on the team website? If so, is Luc unaware how the fans feel about JR’s poor behavior (i.e. showing up fat, loafing thru the schedule, complaining, not producing?) when the Kings signed him? I’m sure it was another brilliant LiesWeekly decision to sign Roenick back in the day, and it does not bother me that JR legally stole $5 million of AEG’s money, but I would think the way he embarrassed the team and the fans should matter to Luc given his current position.
Answer: As the president of business operations, Robitaille, I’m certain, had some input in that decision, but I don’t know the extent of it or who was pushing the idea. My idea, and I’ve said this to people with the Kings, is that Roenick should just embrace the “villain” role, almost like in pro wrestling. I honestly don’t think Jeremy is a bad guy, but I also don’t think Kings fans are ever going to be embrace him, after his dismal playing stint here.
sidney asked: At the recent G.M. breakfast, Lombardi hinted that Kovalchuk would command too much of the team’s salary space to make it a good fit. He said roughly the same thing at the last event, and then it came out that he made a strong play for him at the trade deadline anyway. What are your thoughts on Kovalchuk signing here on July 1?
Answer: I’d probably ask you to define “strong play.” In the end, despite all the talk, I don’t really think the Kings were as strong of players in the “Kovi-stakes” as people presumed. So my thoughts are pretty much the same. I think, in terms of “fit,” Kovalchuk probably fits what Lombardi is looking for, but if his signing would be so costly as to potentially cost the Kings a chance to re-sign players such as Doughty, Simmonds and the goalies long-term, it probably won’t be an option this summer.
Zee asked: Being a part of the everyday media, what type of response are you getting from other media markets in regards to the Kings? Are they being seen with a new respect this season after the success so far? I feel like outside of LA the Kings are still taken “lightly”. It always seems that when reading up on the Kings, most people don’t always regard the team success as a whole, but rather the successes of Kopitar, Doughty, and almost always Lombardi?..
Lastly, who out there do you think might be a good fit, and also fall into that second top scorer roll? Every top tier team almost always has two top tier guys… Ovechkin/Semin/Backstrom, Crosby/Malkin, Toews/Kane/Hossa, Thornton/Heatley/Marleau, Datsyuk/Zetterberg, Parise/Kovalchuk, and even in Tampa they are developing this with Stamkos… Seems like the top 3 teams in each conference all have that in common… Withouot Kovalchuk included cause I’m tired of him.. who is are best case scenario to go after? these teams can’t keep everyone.. somebody will have to move… thoughts?
Answers: 1) Well, I think it’s a process. Remember, the Kings have been mostly awful for seven years. Is the national/Canadian media paying a lot of attention to Carolina right now? No, because Carolina is awful, even if Carolina has some good young players. I’m seeing a much bigger response, from the respected national reporters, to the Kings this season. The Olympics did a good job of opening people’s eyes to Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, etc. The more the Kings win, the more attention they’ll get. 2) In the short-term — and I’m tossing out Kovalchuk per your request — probably Marleau.
Kevin from Toronto asked: When is Thomas Hickey ever going to get a shot? You would think a 4th overall pick would get a chance within at least 2 years of being drafted. He’s only played a handfull of games for Manchester, and I’m pretty sure his entry level contract expires on July 1st. Since they have only seen him play in a high caliber league a few times, they may not know how to move forward with him.
I was skeptic when they drafted him in the first place. But seeing Karl Alzner and Sam Gagner (Among others drafted behind him) get frequent playing time… I don’t know, just isn’t sitting well. Again, so I go back to my question… When/Is Thomas Hickey ever going to get a shot?
Answer: Hickey has one more season left on his entry-level contract and would be an RFA next summer. I think you answered your own question, as to why he hasn’t received “a shot,” when you point out that because he’s only played a handful of games with Manchester, they might not know how to move forward with him. Hickey has played 22 pro games over two years. Alzner played 91 AHL games. That’s almost a whole season’s worth of difference. Hickey did well in training camp last September, then got hurt. If he performs well in training camp this fall, he will have a good chance.
Andrea Davidson asked: Will Dean and Terry sign contract extensions and remain in L.A. until the team wins the Cup?
Answer: Sort of depends on how long it takes to win the Cup! Each guy has one season left on his contract. Based on the way things are going this season, you’d think extensions will be in order, but to say they will remain until the Kings win the Cup…well, I’m sure that’s the goal anyway!