Trying to push through all the questions as quickly as possible, so if I don’t happen to get to yours, please don’t take it personally! Here’s the sixth set…
PurpleRocks asked: How does the number selection actually work anyhow? Andrei Loktionov is not officially listed on the Kings site roster. Does that mean Gagne would havr a right to the number 12 if he wants it and could the Kings make Loktionov pick another number or would Lokti have to agree to it? Thanks.
Answer: Essentially, a player who joins the organization — or a young player who makes the roster — would choose an available number. There’s no “code” or written rule on this. No player has the right to a number, so no, Loktionov didn’t have to “agree to” Gagne taking that number. Particularly when you’re a rookie like Loktionov, who had no particular history with that number, it’s not bad form. When a veteran gives up his number for another veteran, there might be a good-natured exchange, like a steak dinner or something.
McCheese asked: 1) When are you coming back from vaction? Need to know when to set my alarm. 2) With some new potential leadership elements joining the team this year, do the players / team have anything planned to help with the “team building” before camp? Maybe a barbeque at your place? 3) Onions… grilled, raw or not at all on your burger?
Answers: 1) I’ll be in and out for a few weeks, but not completely away. Don’t fall asleep on me. 2) You think I’m going to have that riffraff in my backyard? But seriously, they’ve only really added two players, so that’s not really a roster overhaul. With three weeks of training camp and a trip to Europe, they have plenty of bonding time. 3) Hold the onions, please.
Phillip asked: Question about the jersey change. Are the Kings planning to only wear the new road jersey when they travel this season. If thats the case, then why hasn’t the team store discontinued selling the old road jersey or at least put it at a discount as “last years jersey” I know there are some fans around the country who wont be aware of the change and could be buying up the old jersey expecting to see it this season. Just curious as to why the store does nothing to indicate its no longer going to be worn…or is it ?
Answer: Well, in order to answer your questions accurately, I’d have to have inside knowledge of the way that stores operate, and that’s a little beyond my scope. I have no idea why stores sell what they do, for what price. I’d suggesting asking the store manager. I’ll answer the part that I can speak to, which is that the plan is for the Kings to wear the black “home-plate” jersey at home, its white version on the road, the former home jersey as the “third jersey” and the special purple-and-gold as the “Legends Night” jersey.
m_and_m asked: When you had the last Lombardi Q and A just before the Richards trade hit the fan, there were several questions about the Kings’ offensive sysstem which I don’t remember you asking DL. Do you (and more importantly DL) think that if the Kings aspire to go deep in the playoffs this year or challenge for the cup, they need to open up their system? Given that they have 6 guys who have scored 30+ goals in the past, do you think they need to change their system and/or coach to get to the next level?
Answer: No, I don’t think the system needs to change. When it is implemented and executed, it works, just like every other system in the NHL.
YogaPhart asked: When the Dallas Mavericks won the championship this year I couldn’t help but feel somewhat happy… for Mark Cuban. He can be obnoxious at times, but he is always in the trenches with his team which, in my opinion, shows his commitment to his team’s success. In your opinion, do you think having a more visible, accessible owner can provide a lift to a team and instill confidence in its fans?
Answer: Well, what you see as “commitment,” just as many other people — if not more — see as grandstanding and irritating. And I say that as someone who actually appreciates Cuban and what he does. But no, I don’t think having a “public” owner does much tangible for a team. Owners make their impact in terms of what they do for the players behind the scenes, in terms of resources and treatment. If I’m a player, I look at ownership and ask, “Am I treated well? Is my family comfortable? Do we have the resources to win? Good facilities? Good environment? Comfortable travel and accommodations on the road?” If I was a player, and I was satisfied by all those things, I couldn’t care less how often my owner has his face on ESPN. I worked for newspapers for almost 14 years, and I never once met the owner(s) of any of them. I never recall thinking, “If only the owner of the paper came in and gave me a pep talk, I’d work much harder.”
Jorgen asked: With so many questions relating to contracts and negotiations; can we have a Q & A with Solomon? It would be interesting to have his view on the whole negotiation process from start to finish.
Answer: If there are specific questions about aspects of contracts, that might be interesting, but I don’t know how feasible it is to sit down and say, “OK, Jeff, tell me about negotiating contracts.” They’re sort of like snowflakes. Every one is different and there isn’t much of a pattern. The process of negotiating Drew Doughty’s contract is a 180-degree difference from negotiating Alec Martinez’s contract. So, I definitely agree with you that it’s an interesting subject/topic, but I’m not sure it lends itself to a tidy Q&A.
Vahe asked: I loved the mobile version of the site, is it ever going to comeback? Thanks and enjoy the break!!
Answer: The specific mobile version that they were using was very nice visually, but it was also quite buggy and was causing problems with the layout on the desktop version. We’re talking about doing a remake of the blog in the near future, and I’ll definitely have a mobile version at the top of the to-do list. And thanks for the kind wishes.
Nick asked: Ever been to Winnipeg? Are you looking forward to spending time in a new NHL city? Also, my own hockey gear was bought on a pretty tight budget. Do players get all their equipment for free from the manufacturer or does the team pay for it?
Answers: 1) I have not yet been to Winnipeg, and yes, I am looking forward to it. I’m not going to lie, I might look forward to it a little more if the trip wasn’t in late December, but I also enjoy the opportunity to visit a place I’ve never seen before. 2) It varies, but the team is definitely on the hook for some of it, which is why it’s not that simple for players to be handing out equipment after games, practices, etc. It’s great to get a stick from a player, but that’s also sort of like a player handing over $200. It’s not like handing out a stick of gum. Some players do sign endorsement deals, etc.
KingsFan in OC asked: My question – last year on one of the East Coast swings, Dustin Brown did a video blog type thing and some if it was some really good behind the scenes stuff. Do you know if Dustin, or any other player, is going to be doing something similar for the Europe trip?
Answer: As I recall, Brown was shooting some quick videos with his phone. I don’t know if he intends to do that again this season, but I do know that there will be some KingsVision crew in Europe, so I’m certain that there will be some videos about the trip.
nykingfan asked: Re the goaltending tandem Quick/Bernier. I would assume Quick is going to be the #1 going into camp/Regular season. Last year Murray had “penciled” in around a 55/25 split for the goalies, if I remember correctly. Do you think he’s planning on going in with the same amount or do you think Bernier will be given a larger share of the load, prior to the season starting? Obviously once the games are played, that eraser will be used numerous times and things are always subject to change.
Answer: I would assume that the split will be similar this season. By all accounts, it worked well last season, and given that Quick is clearly the Kings’ No. 1 goalie, I don’t see any plan/reason to give him fewer games, unless outside factors contribute to that. As you noted, the eraser often comes out, but 55 games is a reasonable number for an NHL No. 1 goalie.
LucLivesOn asked: Rich, I think the big question really needs to be answered. As you know I firmly support Dean and what he has done for the organization and what he is trying to do now. But the rumors are flying that the Kings want Stamkos (which team doesn’t) and a few of the names mentioned are Deans “core” players. My question is this: For years Dean has talked about building our team around “core” players but would he be willing to part of some of our core plus some of our top prospects to get a truly elite player such as Stamkos? And if he did pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal, would that change his thinking on our future as far as how he sets up the team going forward? Thanks
Answer: Please understand that I answer this with all respect to you, but I’m just not going to answer hypothetical questions that are based on Internet rumors. From my perspective, there’s absolutely no point.