Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hockey Fest 2011: Meet The New Kings

Plenty of folks were excited for the Q&A with the newest members of the Kings -- Simon Gagne, Mike Richards, Colin Fraser and Ethan Moreau. Shortly after the State of the Franchise session, the concourse was packed with a standing room only crowd. No pressure there, new guys.

The discussion was moderated by Kings radio personality Nick Nickson, and after introducing each player he spent time asking a series of questions of the panel before letting the fans jump in. Most of the opening questions and answers were pretty basic, as were the answers -- typical press conference stuff. To a point, that was probably necessary with this group. They don't know the fan base well, and we don't know them so there isn't a shared history or cool inside jokes that would make for more interesting commentary. Even so, there were a few fun moments.

Here are The Queen's overall observations about each player, including some of their answers to the more interesting questions posed by fans.

Mike Richards
  • Mike Richards resume is simply jaw-dropping. He's won awards on every team he's played with. The most interesting stat Nick shared is that he holds a NHL record for the most short-handed 5 on 3 goals. This is a guy that can get it done in the clutch. I'm impressed.
  • In keeping with what I've read about him, he seems pretty quiet and reserved for the most part. His answers were safe, although his creative pronunciation of "organization" (it ends up sounding like organ-eye-zation) made me smile.
  • At times he looked liked a deer caught in the headlights, but it must be strange sitting on a stage with about a thousand people starting straight at you, so I'm inclined to give him a break.
  • I especially loved that all the other guys were wearing dress shoes while he rocked the old-school sneakers.
  • Favorite player growing up: Joe Sakic
  • Pet Peeve: Certain players who will not be named that chip everybody (pretty sure at least one of those is a New York Ranger)
  • Best answer of the day: When asked whether he will be changing his Twitter name because his number changed, he responded "I'm really terrible at it (Twitter) and I don't know how."

Simon Gagne
  • Gagne seemed to be the most talkative of the bunch and gave the longest answers to the questions asked. He has that totally adorable French Canadian accent so I had no problem with him talking as long as he wanted!

  • He got the full court press from Justin Williams and Mike Richards when the Kings expressed interest. He and Williams stayed in touch after their playing years together in Philadelphia. 
  • Gagne was the only player on the panel that was never a captain on any team he played for. He was an assistant captain in juniors.
  • Favorite player growing up: Joe Sakic
  • Nicknames: Gags, Gaggie

Colin Fraser
  • Fraser was in an unusual situation for this event, being at the center of Mulletgate and all. He may be the player the Kings got "stuck" with in the Ryan Smyth trade, but you'd never know it. He was funny and charming -- and if he sticks around he might give Matt Greene a run for his money in the snarky quips department.
  • His surgically repaired broken foot is now ready to go back in a skate, but as of Hockey Fest that hadn't happened yet. However, he was optimistic about skating soon and would see what happened from there.
  • Fraser grew up a Canucks fan but made it clear he "Isn't one any more." Good boy.
  • Favorite player growing up: Trevor Linden
  • Nickname: Fraze
  • Best answer of the day: "Coming from Edmonton, you know, we finished in 30th so...I'm happy to be here!"

Ethan Moreau
  • Although he's gone on record saying he's funnier than Matt Greene, you would never know it. Moreau probably spoke the least of any of the players, but after you've had a long career in the NHL, how much is there left to say?
  • I loved that he seemed to be on the verge of sliding off the chair the entire time.
  • Favorite player growing up: Wayne Gretzky
  • Nickname: Chop
  • Best answer of the day: A woman got confused about a hitchhiking incident involving an Oilers player last season that she thought was Moreau -- but wasn't. She kept telling him not to pick up hitchhikers here in LA. He was obviously confused and she kept pressing saying "You don't know what I'm talking about?" as the crowd kept yelling "WRONG GUY!" Finally, he shut her up with this AWESOME one liner -- "I did a lot of things in Edmonton but that wasn't one of them."

Of all the comments during the panel, the best one went to Nick Nickson himself. A fan asked Gagne and Richards what they thought about Los Angeles being called "Philly West" because of the large number of connections between the current Kings organization and former Flyers. Nick's response? "Do the Flyers mind being known as Kings East?"

Thanks to all the new guys for being great sports with the Kings passionate fan base. We're glad you're part of the team!


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