Moving right along, here’s the third set of Open Forum questions and answers…
Cynic asked: How do you see the lines/players looking 2 years from today, based on current knowledge of prospects, who management (prospect wise) is high on right now, performance of players here now and prospects in Junior/Minors?
Standard format: 4 forward lines, 6 D and 2 Netminders. We all talk about who we think will be here and who won’t. I’m curious to get your take. I’ll also understand if you are uneasy about answering this question since you are close to the players quite a bit, but you don’t get if you dont ask.
Answer: This is hard to answer without seeking some clarity. Are you asking for my opinion, or management’s opinion? I’m happy to give my opinion, as long as the answer is accepted with the understanding that I’m doing little more than giving an educated guess. For instance, I can throw the name Viatcheslav Voynov out there, but I don’t have the slightest idea what he will look like when he plays an NHL game, and neither does anyone with the Kings (or anyone in the NHL). And, since I’m already being a curmudgeon with this, I’ll point out that I really don’t like the phrase “who management is high on.” Management is high on players who are playing well. It’s a pretty bottom-line thing. If you’re a player, and you’re tearing it up for two months, management is going to be very high on you. If you, then, go into the tank for the next month, they’re not going to be so high on you. So, now that I’ve been a complete stick in the mud, I’ll shut up and actually answer your question with my educated guess!
Quick or Bernier (see what I did there?)
kevin from toronto asked: How many years away is Thomas Hickey from finally playing his first game? Or will he just be traded to bolster the scoring?
Answer: Based on my calculations, and position of the sun, he’s exactly 180 days away. Of course, that would have him playing an NHL game in the middle of July, so I might have to do some recalculations there. Seriously, I have no idea. He will play his first NHL game at the precise moment when/if he’s playing well, the Kings have a need for his type of skill and he’s the best option among the prospects in system. There is no timetable on any prospect. They’re all like snowflakes.
lead feet asked: I dont know if this has been stated already, didnt read all of the previous post’s, but on a sad note… I was just watching a little of last years All Star Game and there was a healthy, energetic, happy, optomistic, fun guy playing named Marc Savard. What a bummer. I wish the best of health to him and his family. Rich, do you know of any suggested rule changes or implements to the game the GM’s going to put in the game SOON to help protect these guys? I know this latest concusion with MS was not a dirty hit but the one last year certainly was. To many guys carreers are being cut short. And more importantly their lifes are being affected adversly.
Answer: I certainly share your sadness and concern about Marc Savard. Any way you look at it, it’s terrible. To answer your question, no, I don’t know if any changes being planned by the league. We just went through this last year, with the league trying to outlaw the blindside hits, etc. In general, I share Terry Murray’s thoughts on this, to that onus should be on the players to respect each other. The league can wag its finger at players all it wants, and threaten fines and suspensions, but nothing is going to fundamentally change unless players take the ice with the mindset of having a fundamental respect for each other. Of course, nobody wants a league in which there’s no hitting, and guys are tip-toeing around each other, but I think we can all agree that there’s some stuff in the game right now that’s just not necessary.
Eric Olsen asked: Rich: Do you see the Kings sending Bernier to AHL to keep in form now that Quick is heating up? Does that give Jones a chance to have a cup of coffee at the NHL level?
Answer: Simple, direct answer: No, not even the slightest chance.
Eric Olsen asked: What is your take on Kozun? Can you do more updates on WHL/Minor league players? Thanks
Answer: Kozun got off to a good start in Manchester, but his productivity has tailed off. He needs to be more of an impact player with the Monarchs before he’s seen as a serious option for the Kings. I’ll certainly do my best to provide updates, but it’s more difficult when I don’t have that information at my fingertips. When I see a good story pass by, I try to link it for everyone, and I’ll be mindful of trying to do more updates in the future.
Laura asked: Great work Rich, I enjoy tuning into the blog to see what you have to say. Keep up the great work! I was wondering if the Kings did a “player of the game” award in their locker room similar to what the Pens and Caps do after the game. I thought that was pretty awesome to watch the players gift it to whoever they thought was deserving of it in the game.
Answer: Thanks for the kind words, Laura. No, the Kings don’t have any postgame tradition like that. Frankly, I was surprised to see both Pittsburgh and Washington doing that, because I wasn’t really aware that NHL teams did such things, so I was surprised to see both teams doing it. My first thought is that it really doesn’t seem like a Terry Murray-type thing to do. And I don’t say that in judgment of Murray, or of the idea of the shovel, etc. It just doesn’t seem to fit with the Kings.
Irish Pat asked: I’m just curious if you get the sense whether or not Dean Lombardi’s job may be in jeopardy if the Kings don’t make the playoffs this season. Expectations have been high since the pre-season and for this club to not make the playoffs would be a fairly large step backward. I admire Lombardi’s resolve to back his coach and not make a foolhardy trade for a quick fix, but does Leiweke and company share this perception?
Answer: Are we talking about a charge to the finish, get 97 points and still miss the playoffs by one point “miss the playoffs”? Or a finish the season 8-22-0 and completely collapse in all areas “miss the playoffs”? See what I’m getting at here? It’s a legitimate question, but it’s not a yes/no question right now. But I appreciate that you couched the question in terms of whether I get a sense. Based on that, I would have to think that something terribly dramatic — in a negative sense — would have to happen in order for ownership to scrap this entire plan and fire an entire staff to which it just gave multi-year contract extensions.
5-Hole asked: A couple weeks ago the Kings had a situation where the opponent had a delayed penalty called against them. Quick went to the bench and the Kings had an extra forward for a 6-on-5 advantage for quite a while. (I think they scored on it but I don’t remember for sure) Anyway, if the Kings score while they have an extra attacker on the ice during a delayed penalty, do all the players on the ice get a ‘plus’ for that goal. Technically its an even strength goal, but I don’t know if any plus/minus is given for that situation.
Answer: Great question! I was pretty sure of the answer, but not 100-percent certain, so I looked it up and yes, players do get a “plus” in that situation. It’s exactly for the reason you said. The goal is classified as an even-strength goal. Both teams have the same number of players on the ice. Technically, there’s nothing that mandates that a coach must put a goalie on the ice. If a coach lost his mind and decided to start a game with six skaters and no goalie, the game would go on, and any statistics would count as normal.
Coach asked: A couple weeks ago the Kings had a situation where the opponent had a delayed penalty called against them. Quick went to the bench and the Kings had an extra forward for a 6-on-5 advantage for quite a while. (I think they scored on it but I don’t remember for sure) Anyway, if the Kings score while they have an extra attacker on the ice during a delayed penalty, do all the players on the ice get a ‘plus’ for that goal. Technically its an even strength goal, but I don’t know if any plus/minus is given for that situation.
Answer: There’s no changing of the system. To the extent that players might be reacting differently — in a positive sense — it’s that they’re making better reads, doing a better job with spacing and making accurate passes. It can also be a reaction to the type of defense that they’re facing. Is the opponent being aggressive, or standing up at the other blue line, playing a “prevent” defense? Lots of factors here, on a night-to-night basis.
MK Ultra said: Can the players pretty much do and go wherever they want during the All-Star break? I’m assuming there is no required practices/workouts?
Answer: Yes, the players are on their own time right now. In fact, it’s league-mandated. Teams cannot practice again until Monday.
neil asked: do the Kings ever practice the shoot out??? Has the Kings system change in the last 4 games..( less dump and chase…more pinching by the d)???
Answers: 1) Yes, regularly. 2) No.
Jimbo1007 asked: Just curious about the Shots on Goal statistic. A shot that hits the post or crossbar is not counted as SOG because the goalie didn’t have to make the save. So if a defenseman flips the puck out of his zone, and it rolls toward the net where the goalie stops it in the crease,is that counted as an SOG?
Answer: It’s highly subjective and, from my experiences, not always accurate. At one game this year, another reporter and I were seated near the gentleman who kept the official shots on goal. At one point, he turned to his left and said, “Did you see who got that second shot?” I thought, “Hmmm.”