ASK A KING WITH HEAD COACH ANDY MURRAY
Are there any plans in the future to shop for a top name defenseman, or is the group we have good enough to get us deep into the playoffs?
"I think (Kings President, Hockey Operations) Dave Taylor is always looking to better our team if the opportunity is there. Because of the salary cap situation, in order for us to get a top-level player, we would have to move somebody out. Dave will certainly make a deal if he feels it will help our hockey club and it fits within our salary cap structure. "
Mike; Playa Del Rey, CA
What is the toughest part of being an NHL head coach?
"Personally, I don't think there are any tough times. When I compare my job with what other people do in life, I'm pretty fortunate. Obviously, I don't like losing and I feel awful after we lose. But when I take a look at it as a whole, I realize I'm fortunate to be doing what I'm doing."
Mickey; Burbank, CA
What do you do to relax and get away from hockey in the off-season?
"I try to spend a lot of time with my family and their activities. My kids play hockey in the summer and I try to help out by coaching them. I try to get immersed in their lives because I miss so much during the hockey season. Still, planning for next year is always on my mind during the summer."
Chris; Chatsworth, CA
Could explain the rationale for scoring lines still using dump and chase (even on power play situations).
"As long as you're dumping the puck in with a purpose and you have a way to get it back, that style of play many times can be a very effective mechanism to get by defensive alignments. Teams now are so well structured defensively, that it's a good way to penetrate and get the puck back in the zone. Still, you've got to make sure you put the puck into a place that allows you to get in their first and regain possession."
Anne; Santa Monica, CA
Why are players kicked out of the face-off circle?
"The greatest reason would be that the player moved before the puck was dropped because he was looking for an unfair advantage. The referees usually recognize this and when they do, they kick the player out of the draw."
Why does it seem that when we have a comfortable lead we lose our intensity?
"If people take a look at our season so far, I think there has only been one game where we had a lead in the third period and lost the game. The best way to play with a lead is to keep the puck and continue attacking. At times, teams have a tendency to go a little bit conservative, but I can tell you that's not by intent. We want to have the puck and we want to keep pressing the issue."
With all the new rule changes, have you seen any unintended effects that you must now plan/coach for that you and others may not have anticipated?
"I don't think anybody realized how difficult it would be to get defensive containment in the defensive zone. Not being able to use the arms and the stick has really made it difficult for our defensemen to get pins and eliminate offensive attacks in the offensive zone"
What is your opinion of Ivy League hockey given George Parros' play?
"People who achieve in one level of life often achieve in another and I think there is a direct correlation between academic performance and athletic performance. George is a great example of that. He's a good person, he's intelligent and he's becoming a better hockey player every year."
Greg; Granada Hills, CA
The team chemistry seems like it's going great, do you anticipate any mid-season deals or trades?
"Team chemistry always seems to be highlighted in a positive way when you're team is winning. We've had the advantage of having a great number of home games. You still have to win them. But that's been an advantage for us. We've played hard and I do think the players care for each other."
Aron; Lancaster, CA
Which specific player(s) have benefited the most from the rule changes?
"The rule changes have favored the forwards and the smaller, quicker players. I think it's helped players like Lubomir Visnovsky."
Bill; Glendale, AZ
Is Valeri Bure going to have a tough time cracking the lineup when he's healthy and ready to play?
"Valeri's a good player and he can play on any team in the National Hockey League. We like to think that whenever any player gets hurt, he's going to have a tough time getting back into the lineup because we'd like to think the team is playing well. Normally as a coach, you don't want to change things when the team is playing well."
Jim, Placentia, CA
How do you decide who is going on the ice on the fly?
"Some games we look to match up certain players against certain players on the other team. For instance, we'll match up a good defensive unit against a strong scoring unit from the other team. Other times, we'll just roll the lines. When we roll the lines, we call out the next line 30 or 40 seconds before they take the ice."
Francois; Quebec, Canada
How is Valeri Bure's back?
"It's not as good as we would like it to be. It's been a real slow process. Valeri's probably as frustrated as anybody about the situation."