Here comes the fifth set of Open Forum questions and answers…
Kings Fan Vancouver,WA asked: Rich. Now that the league is on break, are you going to take a break?
Answer: Yes, to the extent that there are no practices or games to tend to, but I’m not going out of town or anything like that. With 10 consecutive road games on the horizon, enjoying some time at home right now seems like the best option.
Bones asked: What do you think are the chances of the Kings moving to Kansas City?
Answer: Seriously? Zero. Is this really still a topic of serious discussion?
Bob asked: Rich, could you work on a piece called “anatomy of a roadtrip” where you recap your day including flight info, food, hotel etc?
Answer: Might be a fun thing to post in the summer, but honestly, it would be infinitely less interesting than you probably imagine. It might be more interesting to do it from a player’s perspective.
KC23 asked: I’m wondering about the options the Kings have if they want to keep Loktionov up when Sturm is ready to come back. Who would likely to have to go on wavers, things of that nature.
Answer: Well, at this point, if the Kings wanted to send someone down, all of the most-likely candidates would have to go through waivers. I’m ready to stand corrected on this, but other than Trevor Lewis, I don’t believe there’s a player on the current roster who wouldn’t be subject to the waiver wire.
Scot asked: Breaking News: Kings GM Dean Lombardi has an emergency to attend to on the day of the trade deadline, and Rich Hammond has been asked to take over GM duties for the day. You have one day (or whatever) to tweak the Kings roster. What do you do? Who specifically would you try to acquire? I won’t ask who you would specifically trade, that’s not fair to the players. But what is/are the teams biggest needs, and who would you try and add to fill the need(s), and why? (Contract, age, locker room presence, etc…) Mostly, I’m just curious which players in the league you really like. (but would also help the Kings)
Answer: Among a few people who follow the team, there’s been an on-and-off discussion in terms of, if the Kings could only acquire one “piece” right now, should it be a top-six forward or a veteran defenseman? I vote forward. Going into who I might try to target, that’s very tough to answer. I have no idea who, realistically, would even be available. I will say that at the start of the season, I thought Dallas’ Brad Richards would be a good target, but now that the Stars seem to be in a very strong playoff position, it’s highly unlikely that they would move Richards.
Telos asked: Have you spoken with Robitaille about, and are able to confirm, that the Kings are indeed changing their jerseys for the 2011 season to be the homeplate third jerseys they wear now along with a new white one and just use their current purple and gold as their new third jersey?
Answer: By notifying the league by Dec. 31 about possible uniform changes for next season, teams are only signaling to the league that they’re contemplating changes, no that they’re official or set in stone. In the Kings’ case, I know they’re looking at various options, but nothing has been settled upon.
Brian asked: Has anybody asked Murray why, in shootouts, he uses Dustin Brown in the top 3 instead of Michal Handzus? I could be wrong, but in the past 2 seasons, I’m pretty sure that Handzus’s shootout percentage is twice as good as Brown’s. If the shootout goes past 3 rounds, Murray frequently uses Williams over Handzus, and I can’t remember Williams converting in a shootout.
I know that the Kings are 5-0 in shootouts this year, but using Brown over Handzus cost the Kings points last year and could cost the Kings some valuable points later on this season.
Answer: This has actually been asked and answered a few times over the past couple years, as recently as Wednesday night. Terry Murray has a “pool” of players he selects for shootouts, and then ranks them based on a variety of factors. For instance, he said he chose Jarret Stoll last night because Stoll is a right-shot and Niemi was a left-glove goalie. I can’t speak to how many coaches go exclusively on statistics alone, but Murray does not.
Mike B asked: What size and kind of plane do the Kings charter? Does it have extra leg room and lounge since the number traveling is not nearly enough to fill the normal 737 jet? What kind of service is there including food. Is it easy for the players to sleep and rest. I ask since I know there is a lot of travel and a plane is not easy for the average person. Is it easier for a professional athletic in the sense the plane is more friendly to a sports team’s travel?
Also where will the Kings end up in the standings?
Answer: For reasons involving both security and privacy, I’m going to respectfully decline to go into details about the way the Kings travel. It’s fair to say that, if you watched any of the 24/7 show on HBO, that’s a good representation of what it’s like. Also, if I knew where they will end up in the standings, I’d be spending this weekend in Las Vegas, to be certain. I’d cut you in on a percentage of the profits.
Steve asked: I noticed Wayne Simmonds played 9 minutes against the Sharks. Is he playing with an injury that is being kept hush hush?
I have heard rumors of him having a bummed knee and Dean is looking to trade him. Please elaborate if you can. Thanks.
Answers: 1) No, not that I’m aware of. 2) “I have heard rumors…” Respectfully, this is where I stop reading.
Jay asked: Since watching 24/7 I have been very interested in witnessing some of our own Kings in a situation like that. Where we as fans can see them be more human, playing PSP’s on the planes, or being family guys, is there any chance that the Kings organization could do something like that? I feel like it would REALLY endear some of the player to the fans and make them more human.
ALSO, the real fun question i am interested in, who have you perceived on the road as the jokesters, the family men, the down to earth ones etc etc.
Answers: 1) I don’t think the Kings would be opposed, in general, to doing some type of 24/7 program, but there hasn’t been any discussion of that. If you’re asking if they would produce their own, wow, that’s a massive undertaking. The 24/7 show was filmed, produced and edited by a major TV network. It’s not a small undertaking. 2) To be honest, I don’t socialize with any of the players on the road, so I really couldn’t give much of a glimpse of how they spend their time on the road.
Dominick asked: Are the Kings for sale?
Answer: Tim Leiweke is on record, in a published quote, saying that the Kings are neither looking to see nor in talks to sell.
Paul asked: thoughts on the possibility of all pacific division teams making the playoffs? and has this happened before (including smythe days)? ranting: the kings have a +19 scoring differential but currently out of the top 8! does this speak to an inability to score at key moments or is it a clear example of the how season has turned for the worse (excluding the last 3 games)?
Answers: 1) Since the NHL went to three-division conferences, in 1998, it has never happened. I’d have to consider it highly unlikely, given that later in the season, there are more intra-division games. 2) I’m not sure how I would connect the dots between the season “turning for the worse” and the disconnect between the goal differential and the standings. It’s not unheard of. Two years ago, Minnesota was plus-19 and missed the playoffs, while Columbus was minus-4 and finished seventh. Here’s one factor: the Kings have only one overtime/shootout loss. Every other West team has at least three. The Kings’ inability to send some of these one-goal games to overtime — at a rate similar to what other teams accomplish — arguably has cost them at least a few points already.
Dominick asked: The Kings have been looking for an offensive left winger to play with Kopi,for a few years now. They currently have some promising left wingers with a savy for being defensively responsible. Do you think converting the 1rst line to playing a left wing lock with a defensive minded left winger with some speed could help? Or is finding a sniper to play on Kopi’s left still the only option?
Answer: No, I don’t see the Kings going to any type of system that you’re suggesting here. It’s far more likely that they will acquire a traditional, scoring winger.