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ROYAL MAILBAG (Feb. 25)

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
THE ROYAL MAILBAG: What does Bob Miller do when the game is not televised?

Sunday, Feb. 25

This week's mailbag was full of questions on topics ranging from myspace to what is the difference between forecheck and backcheck. Find out those answers and more in this week's Royal Mailbag.


Can you please explain exactly what the terms "forecheck" and "backcheck" mean?
Laurie V., Sangus, CA


Who better to answer that question than former Kings forward and current Kings TV color guy Jim Fox.

The forecheck is the general term for the "technique" used by the team without the puck (Team B), in which "Team B" tries to "get the puck back" by confronting the team with the puck (Team A).

This confrontation usually takes place as "Team A" tries to leave their own zone and attack up the ice. This technique can also be used in the "neutral zone".

Example:
"Team A" is in possession of the puck behind their own net.
"Team B" tries to get the back back with an aggressive forechecking strategy
This usually involves "Team B" sending at least 1 forward, but usually 2 forwards (a forecheck involves all players on the ice from "Team B", not including the goaltender) to chase the puck-carrier from "Team A", until "Team B" can create a "turnover" and recapture the puck from "Team A".
Creating a turnover is usually accomplished by body checking the puck-carrier to force the puck-carrier to lose control of the puck. A successful forecheck can also be accomplished by forcing "Team A" to make a bad pass which is intercepted or recovered by "Team B".

The backcheck, meanwhile, is the general term for the "technique" used by the team "without the puck" (Team B), in which "Team B" tries to stop "Team A's" attack on "Team B's" goal.
When "Team A" is on attack (skating with possession of the puck towards "Team B's" goal), "Team B" will chase from behind or (check from behind while chasing the puck-carrier, hence the term "backcheck") and try to stop the attack against their goal.
A back-check is successful when "Team B" successfully stops the immediate attack against their goal, even though "Team A" still maintains possession of the puck. As long as "Team A" is no longer able to "directly attack" "Team B's" goal.
A completely successful back-check would involve "Team B" chasing "Team A" and not only stopping the attack, but creating a turnover in which "Team B" would end up with possession of the puck.
Both the "Forecheck and the Backcheck" take place when the team forechecking or backchecking does not have possession of the puck.
The forecheck is considered an aggressive tactic to regain possession of the puck.
The backcheck is considered a defensive tactic to stop the oppositions attack.

This is question for Bob Miller. When you are on a road trip with the Kings and the game isn't on FSN, can you actually watch the game without trying to do the play by play in your head? In other words, can you just watch the game as a "fan" or is it just too difficult?
Marshall C., Torrance, CA


"I don't like not doing a telecast of a Kings game but it does happen several times a year," Miller said. "It's easier for me on the road because at home I'm never sure where to sit, with my wife, in our TV booth or in the main press box.

"One good thing about not doing the telecast is that I can actually eat popcorn and hot dogs during the game. Our TV crew sitting with me on the road always want me to do the play by play using words and phrases I can't use on the air."

I've been wondering for a long time now if any of the Kings players have a REAL myspace they go on. I'm not asking for their e-mail though, I'm just curious if they talk to any of their friends on it.
Tyler W., Apple Valley, CA


The Kings players may not have a myspace pages, but Kings fans from around the world have created, http://www.myspace.com/kingshockey, where over 1000 King fans post comments and pictures from assorted Kings games.

Back in 1999 the Kings had a player whose first name was Roman and I think he was from Poland. I would like to know if he is still playing? And if he is what team does he play for now?
Adrian H., Sweden


The player you are referring to is Czech Republic native, Roman Vopat. Vopat played parts of three seasons with the Kings scoring 4-8=12 in 57 games played in Los Angeles. Vopat also saw action with the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, scoring 6-14=20 in 133 games with 253 penalty minutes. He has not appeared in the NHL since the 1998-99 season and is currently playing in Finland for Jokerit Helsinki.

The Kings have had one other player with that first name, Roman Cechmanek, who went 18-21-6 with a 2.51 GAA and a .906 SV% during the 2003-04 season.

I was wondering why referee Mick McGeough started wearing a helmet?
Travis D., Redondo Beach


Veteran referee Mick McGeough (19) was one of the last referees to start wearing a helmet. He did so to accommodate a new rule that referees and linesmen must wear helmets. It was put in place last summer, as part of a new four-year contract for NHL officials.

Thank you for all of your questions. Don't forget, throughout the 2006-07 NHL season, LAKings.com would like to answer questions from Los Angeles Kings fans. E-mail your query to LAKings.com for possible inclusion in a future mailbag column, which will be published every other Sunday. Letters can be addressed to any member of the organization and may be edited for brevity, length and/or content. Please include your name and location along with your question and email feedback@lakings.com.

The next Royal Mailbag column will appear on Sunday, March 11. Keep the questions coming!.....
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