LA Kings Jim Fox on rebuild: “This year is the first year of going up again”
On Wednesday evening, longtime LA Kings broadcaster Jim Fox appeared on the Hockey Royalty Podcast to discuss a litany of topics.
At the Hockey Royalty Podcast, we were privileged to have longtime LA Kings broadcaster, and team legend, Jim Fox make an appearance. During his visit, Fox discussed the current Kings team, his thoughts on the club’s off-season signings, and even touched on his own playing career.
The 2020-21 Season
Of course, while it was towards the conclusion of the podcast, we begin here with Fox’s overall assessment of the Kings’ play last season.
“I think this year is the first year of going up again,” Fox observed. “I agree with what [podcast co-host Russell Morgan] said there as far as getting to a kind of a stability issue. I think the teardown ended last year, and maybe it was the leveling of the ground and the foundation, and now I hope that the upswing comes. I think that, you know, [the Kings’] goal was to play important games, and we felt with the divisions, alignments due to COVID, that maybe they had a chance. I think with about 15 games remaining, they still had a chance but then, bang, they fell flat. They fell flat at the most important– now the schedule had a little bit to do it — what, seven of the last eight games were Colorado and Vegas.”
To finish the abbreviated campaign, the Kings had lost six of their last eight games, including five straight to end the season for an overall record of 21-28-7. Yet, while the silver-and-black weren’t expected to contend in 2020-21, their overall performance was nonetheless disappointing. But, the Kings have been here before and from the vantage point of someone who’s been with the franchise as long as Jim Fox has, there is reason for optimism moving forward.
“I think it’s on the upswing,” said the longtime Kings broadcaster. “I think my perception of [the] timeline is probably a little bit longer than what people who follow the team would want it to be. I think it’s going to take a little bit longer when you go through a complete rebuild, but I’m also a big believer in tear it down and rebuild. Don’t go halfway. I’m not a big believer in trying to win and get better and– I don’t think that works. It’s my opinion. I don’t have– I know you guys, I follow you guys, too, with all the numbers and the stats and the analytics, so– but I don’t know if I have anything to back that up. But, I’m a believer in that you have a window and you got to go for it when you had the window.
“I think the Kings found themselves in that window after the ’15-16 [season] where they went for a couple more times. [They] probably weren’t ready, maybe should have started– but that’s hindsight. I had no problem with them going after [Milan] Lucic, I had no problem with them going after [Ilya] Kovalchuk. They felt they had that chance. When you feel you have the chance, go for it. Now, they went through two, three, four years of boom, down, right? Restock the shelves, get the prospects, keep the picks, keep the assets.”
Fortunately, the silver-and-black have had a production off-season, welcoming a few notable names to the lineup.
“Now though, [Viktor] Arvidsson comes in [Alex] Edler comes in, [Phillip] Danault signs as a free agent,” Fox added. “Now you have a chance to go on the way up, but I still think it’s gonna be a while.”
Playing the Kids
Arguably the biggest trend involving the Kings last season was #PlaytheKids. Yet, while the likes of Quinton Byfield, Rasmus Kupari, and Arthur Kaliyev each earned some playing time with the big club, it could have been argued that the Kings didn’t use enough of their future. Alex Turcotte, for one, didn’t play for Los Angeles at all this past season. However, with the Kings’ embarrassment of riches, so to speak, the club is faced with the enviable conundrum of who to call up this season and who to keep in the AHL.
“Well, I hope we continue to see a sprinkling in of the younger kids, you know, as we go along,” Fox stressed. “Now, I would assume Byfield is going to make the team out of camp, but will we see Turcotte?
“It’s a long list of names of what can and cannot be as far as young kids. Kaliyev, who I consider, you know, again, what do I know, but probably more of a one-dimensional player. I know he’s shown things in Ontario. You know, I hear the stories of, you know, he made this great pass– Arty! Shoot the puck! Shoot it! Brett Hull, when he played, you know, they said he was a great passer — better passer he got credit for. Great, we didn’t give him enough credit passing. Shoot the puck! So, you know, Kaliyev– Turcotte’s more of a well-rounded guy, how much will we see those guys? Kupari who, you know, he looks good. He’s got a package there as far as, you know, the skill the size, a little bit of strength, and I hope that continues.”
LA Kings: Quinton Byfield among early favorites for 2022 Calder Trophy
This is only a fraction of what Jim Fox discussed on the Hockey Royalty Podcast.
So, if you’d like to listen to what the Kings legend had to say about the club’s prospects in addition to reflecting on his own career and his appearance in the 1999 film Mystery, Alaska, be sure to tune in:
We were joined by @JimFox19 this week on @royalty_pod!
🏒: Playing career
🏒: Broadcasting with Bob Miller
🏒: Kings free agent moves and NHL Draft
Give it a listen! #GoKingsGo https://t.co/hjX6lrye2p
— Hockey Royalty (@Hockey_Royalty) August 13, 2021
LA Kings: Drew Doughty’s contract ranked worst in NHL, again