As we get ready to find out where Anze Kopitar will be “drafted,” here’s the seventh set of questions and answers…
Marc Nathan asked: Why have the fans forgotten Jake Muzzin? (a cursory search of the word “Muzzin” revealed no previous mentions. This kid will be a bonafide NHL defenseman… Hickey? Teubert? Voynov? — We shall see. Muzzin — definitely.
Answer: Good question. He probably fell off the radar a bit because of his injury in the AHL. I liked his game a lot. If you saw my answer to a previous question — which I answered before I even saw your question — I included him among the six defensemen I thought would be playing for the Kings in two years. Nobody is saying his game was flawless, but when he was with the Kings, he did very well for himself as a 21-year-old defenseman straight out of junior hockey.
scvking asked: With a few days off here, I thought of a question that may take a bit of time for you to answer. Lots of hypotheticals in this one, but if you had to guess at what the Kings team looks like at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, what lines do you see? Obviously, we can’t know about any trades and signings that may take place, but based on what is in the organization at this point, what do the lines and pairings look like in your crystal ball a year and a half from now?
Answer: Also asked and answered earlier. I believe its in the third set of questions/answers, if you want to check that out.
Ari asked: What are the thoughts of the organization on Martinez. I felt he looked great in Manchester, and thought he wasn’t getting the look he deserved come training camp. Low and behold he is looking more and more lime a regular defender. Where does that leave Whisky and Harry?
Answer: Martinez is doing very well for himself. The thoughts on Martinez are very apparent to see. He’s a lineup regular and he’s getting power-play time. The endorsement, from the coaching staff, can’t get any more clear than that right now. As for Drewiske and Harrold, it leaves them as healthy scratches right now. Things can change quickly. Injuries can happen and performance levels can ebb and flow. That’s why you have “spare” players available, but right now Terry Murray is going with the mix of six defensemen that he believes is most effective.
ADub87 asked: What are the little wristbands that I see all of the players wearing in their post-game interviews?
Answer: As Sebastian pointed out, they are Power Balance wristbands.
Brian asked: I’d be interested to know how the players relate with each other, such as Doughty and Simmer being roommates — are they BFFs or what? What about the other players? I know Smyth and Williams have a good on-ice relationship, but what about off the ice?
Also, how much face time do the players get with Lombardi? Does he accompany the team on roadtrips? I know you try to keep journalistic objectivity, and I admire you for doing so — how hard is it for you to stay emotionally uninvolved with the happenings of the team? Do you physically stay away from the players? Do they try to grease your palm in exchange for good press? And to get all of those quotes from Murray — just how often do you talk to him?
Answer: Doughty and Simmonds are housemates, yes, so that’s a solid friendship. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are also close, it seems. I don’t really have any idea about Smyth and Williams, in terms of away from the rink. Lombardi will typically be with the team on road trips, unless he’s out scouting elsewhere. It’s not really hard, at all, for me to stay emotionally uninvolved. On a day-to-day basis, my concern is with trying to do my job in the best way possible, not whether the Kings win or lose games. I’m not trying to be cold about that; it’s just the reality of my job. I don’t go out of my way to “stay away from” players, but I also don’t socialize with them, and no, they don’t “grease my palm.” Terry Murray, typically, has media availability every day. Depending on the type of day, it would either be after practice or after a morning skate, and then after a game.
stephen17 asked: Rich, what do you think about Loktionov converting to a wing full time and down the road? Barring any trades, next year the Kings would have Kopitar, Stoll, and Lewis. Inevitably, Schenn will be with the team as well. Loktionov has played most of his young career as a center but I think he is more than capable of playing the role of a scoring winger, especially with Kopitar.
Answer: I don’t think this is the long-term answer for the Kings. Loktionov’s puck-moving ability, and his strength in the two-way game, lends strongly toward him being a center. I would think that, long term, the Kings are looking much more likely at Loktionov as a second-line center.
Matt R asked: My dad was asking me about this the other day, but I didn’t know the answer. Does losing in a shootout result in a goal against the losing goalie? For example, if a game goes into the shootout tied at 0, do both goalies get credit for a shutout? There seem to be logical answers for each side, so I was wondering what the actual rule was.
Answer: Yes, a 0-0 game that goes to a shootout would result in shutouts for both goalies. So yes, by extension, a shootout goal does not count as a goal against for a goalie.
Meman asked: With the Kings in Alberta on Feb 2nd and 5th, with 2 full days of in between. Is there any plans for them to da anything in Alberta? Could a person go watch them practice somewhere? or are there plans for a outdoor practice like they did last time they had some offtime between the Alberta games.
Answer: I wasn’t around the last time the Kings had multiple days off in Alberta, so I’m not sure what they did, but there aren’t any different plans that I’m aware of. All the practices in Calgary are scheduled for the Saddledome, so unless they open the arena to the public — I’m not sure, definitively, whether they do or don’t — that would be the only opportunity to see the Kings skate.
puck73 asked: Hey Rich, here’s one for ya…Have you ever met, or interviewed Phil Anshutz? And if so, how did that meeting go for you..what were your observations?
Answer: Asked and answered earlier, but again, no, I’ve never met him, just seen him at Staples Center in the past.
Duffy asked: If a Player is selected but cannot play for an injury or other reason – Does that Selection still reflect in his Stats. Would Crosby be listed as an Allstar this season for example? Why aren’t you going to cover the Game there in N.C.?
Answers: 1) Well, he would still be listed as an All-Star, yes, but I’m not sure what you mean by “reflect in his stats.” Forty years from now, yes, Crosby will be considered an All-Star this season. 2) Because I’ve had, if memory serves, two days off since mid-September, the next three weeks include trips to St. Paul, Edmonton, Calgary, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, Columbus, Manhattan and Long Island, and that list is long enough without adding Raleigh.
LB asked: Separately, do you think Lombardi did his whole Mike Murphy comment on purpose, to motivate the team?
Answer: No, I think he did it out of frustration. The next day, most of the players didn’t even know what he had said until news of the fine came out.
Pesus asked: Thanks Rich for this site that I am addicted to. How would you rate our skill level as opposed to the standings. I personally think skill wise we are much better than 11th. I think we are aound 4-6 skill wise but are 0-3 against the Blues minor league team. If you agree why is this? I dont know much about hockey X’s & O’s but I watch every game in person and watch all the road games on TV and what I do know is there is something wrong with this team. The only think I can think of is coaching, think we need a change, do you?
Answer: I’m not really sure how to answer. At the risk of sounding like Popeye, you are what you are. If you finish 11th in the standings, you’re an 11th-place team. That might sound simplistic, but I don’t know any other way to put it. If the talent was there, and performing to its capabilities, that 11th-place team wouldn’t be an 11th-place team. And no, I don’t think the Kings need a change in coaching.
puck73 asked: One more question Rich…I talked to you on November 11 at the suite night and asked you if you intended to do this at least one more time. So in fact, what I am asking is..will there be another..Rich Hammond meets the bloggers in a suite night this season since the 1st one was such a resounding success? If there will be one, a couple of helpful pointers if I may…#1 make it a Saturday game so more people can attend. and #2 on the name tags, instead of putting peoples names in big letters make the bloggers name in big letters..example..PUCK 73. At the last one, it was dfficult to see who someone was unless you got up real close and looked carefully because the blogger name was in small letters. Anyway, thanx Rich and looking forward to the next one because the 1st one was an unbelievable experience for me..it ranked right up there with frozen fury !
Answer: Glad you enjoyed it. It was great meeting you as well. I remember you firing the pucks into the net. As I mentioned a bit earlier, we’re looking at the possibility of another “suite night,” but there’s another event on the horizon and I need to get details on that so we don’t risk overlapping, duplicating, etc.
dude asked: Rich, thanks for doing the open forums keep up the wonderful job you doing for us fans!
question: If and i mean IF a coaching change would happen somewhere down the road who do you think would be a good fit? (in regards to style & attitude the coach would bring) Its hard not to think Stevens would be a strong candidate. 2- when Lombardi looks over at Manchester is it strictly just the players hes looking at? Does the coaching staff catch his eye (in the sense that maybe Morris can be the future coach
Answer: Respectfully, it’s not really even a relevant question. It would be like me asking you, “What kind of woman would you date if you divorced your wife?” Terry Murray isn’t going to be fired this season, so no, Lombardi isn’t looking for replacements and I really haven’t given any thought to the idea of “candidates.”