Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: dean lombardi
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi already was making moves in early June to put programs in place to educate his players after Slava Voynov's domestic violence incident and Jarret Stoll's drug-related arrest in Las Vegas.
That wasn't going to be enough.
Mike Richards was arrested at the Canadian border later that month and eventually charged with possession of Oxycodone. This third blow devastated Lombardi, who once regarded Richards as the Kings' version of baseball's Derek Jeter, a heart and soul winner.
"So that hurts, particularly with a player like Michael in terms of the Jeter factor. You don't get over that right away," Lombardi said. "I don't know if I'll ever get over it, quite frankly.
"And then you question your own judgment. Then I just dived in. I said, 'OK, we're going to fix this. How do I do it?' "
Lombardi spoke with Kings' beat reporters shortly before the Kings' game against the Arizona Coyotes in the preseason Tuesday at Staples Center.
There were many aspects about the Richards case he could not discuss. Richards is facing a Dec. 8 court date in Emerson, Canada. The Kings terminated his contract and the NHL Players Assn. has challenged that action, filing a grievance. A date for the grievance hearing has not been scheduled.
While I don't loathe Kings loopholing contract like some do - I'm a Lamoniello guy after all - this all comes back to Lombardi's failure
Dean could have bought out MR, didn't. Could have dropped hammer on Voynov, didn't. Now he's hypocritical at best/moral bankrupt at worst
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports that whatever happened that spurred the Los Angeles Kings to terminate Mike Richards' contract happened last Saturday:
Dean Lombardi showed up for Round 1 of the NHL Draft in a good mood. Los Angeles was the proud, new employer of Milan Lucic, with the GM excitedly discussing the various ways his lineup could utilize the power forward.
But something happened later that lacked complete context until the Kings terminated Mike Richards’ contract on Monday afternoon.
Midway through the opening round, the emotion changed at the team’s table. According to several sources, that was the moment the organization found out about something that occurred on or around June 17, further muddling Richards’ situation.
Lombardi was discussing possible trade scenarios with Calgary and Edmonton, so he got up to personally notify GMs Brad Treliving and Peter Chiarelli. From what I understand, no transaction was close, but this ended any chance of a move.
In their release, the Kings announced they “exercised the team’s right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player’s Contract” and would not have any further comment.
In a brief filed to the NHL and the NHLPA, the team referenced Section 2(e) of the SPC, which states a player agrees “to conduct himself on and off the rink according to the highest standards of honesty, morality, fair play and sportsmanship, and to refrain from conduct detrimental to the best interest of the Club, the League or professional hockey generally.”
Friedman continues, discussing the means by which Richards can grieve the termination and the Kings' cap benefit...
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Weeks after Jarret Stoll was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine and Ecstasy, he met with his boss, Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi.
Lombardi was the man who traded for Stoll in 2008 and watched as the center became a team leader and helped spark the organization to its first Stanley Cup championship in 2012 and another in 2014.
"Probably one of the most gut-wrenching meetings I've had in my entire career, and I've had meetings with lots of players," Lombardi said of their talk last month.
These were Lombardi's first public comments on the matter since Stoll was arrested in mid-April in Las Vegas, shortly after the Kings' season ended. The defending Stanley Cup champions did not qualify for the playoffs and Stoll is due to become a free agent.
Lombardi conducted a conference call with reporters Tuesday and discussed the Stoll arrest and the Slava Voynov incident, issuing several mea culpas. Voynov's trial on a felony domestic violence charge is scheduled to start in July.
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
(on the possibility of re-signing Jarret Stoll and/or Justin Williams…)
LOMBARDI: ''I think those type of things, you talk to the players individually and tell them exactly what we’re going to be able to do. We’ve got two issues here. The reality is, we didn’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish, and we’ve got cap issues. What we’re going to be able to do here is probably more difficult than in the past. Then we also have this issue of, we don’t know what the cap (ceiling) is, and that’s really frustrating. … You hear a lot of speculation on where that thing is. So there’s a dramatic difference, in terms of what you’re talking about with the (salary-cap ceiling) spread. A million dollars might not sound like a lot, but for teams that have had success, that’s a lot. And we don’t know what that is, and we’re not going to know until whenever. … It puts us in a position where we’re not going to know, and we’re not going to know for another month. So you see what we tried to do here, in the meantime. (Jeff Solomon) did a fantastic job and got most of the young guys done. We pecked away at that during the year, and we’ve got two more of those kids out there. But we’ve cut that number down dramatically, with Martinez and Muzzin and Clifford and Nolan and Pearson....
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
On the surface, the Kings appeared to be in adequate spirits despite the drop-off in the standings. They’re aware of the situation they’re in. They’re frustrated, even if they aren’t always demonstratively so when speaking with reporters during off-day practice sessions.
But deeper down, given the seven wins in 25 games during the dog days of what was supposed to be a legitimate defense to their second title in three years, there’s clearly a simmering umbrage towards the season’s direction in what has been a cruel calendar year of 2015.
“I hear you people say it all the time,” General Manager Dean Lombardi said. “You don’t even have to be the general manager or coach to get a feel for a room, right? And you guys have been around long enough, and you can sense it. It’s weird. But you know what? It’s not weird, because 50 years from now with these brain scans and understanding of neutrinos, we’re going to find out that there is a scientific basis for that innate feeling we get that we can’t explain.”
Neutrinos aside, that innate feeling has been with Lombardi for a long time – even since the club’s six-game winning streak in October.
“Let’s get real here, this has been going on all year,” he said. “We’d show signs, like Chicago we played well. We played well in Boston, and it looks like we’re coming, and then we get this. This has been a year-long thing. This whole ‘flick switch’ thing is the kiss of death if you look at history. The only difference now is you’re in February, right, but in reality you’re seeing the same things.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The salary cap is of great concern to Lombardi, who is juggling numbers for several players who can become free agents after this season. Right wing Justin Williams, center Jarret Stoll and defenseman Robyn Regehr can become unrestricted free agents, while Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan will be restricted free agents. In addition, the Kings can sign center Anze Kopitar to an extension after July 1. His contract expires after next season....
“It’s a matter of how all these pieces fit into the puzzle,” Lombardi said Tuesday, after the Kings prepared for their game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. “Then we also have this whole thing with the Canadian dollar. I’ve been talking to other GMs about that. It’s a crazy way to run a cap. Do I need a stat guy or do I need a currency trader to figure this out?”
Lombardi said he and Jeff Solomon, the Kings’ cap expert, have talked to their players’ representatives about new contracts but the Kings have generally held off on going too far because they want to get a better idea of where the cap might fall the next few seasons. Lombardi also said he’s waiting to see if Mike Richards, who was waived and sent to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League last week, can get his game back because Richards has five seasons left at a cap hit of $5.75 million, a sizable chunk of any payroll.
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi talked to reporters about the decision to put Mike Richards on waivers. Here's what he said...
(on how Richards took the news…)
LOMBARDI: ``You can ask him. The process isn’t done, obviously, because he still has to clear tomorrow, so we’ll probably talk again tomorrow. I’m sure it’s not easy on anybody, but these are the tough decisions you’ve got to make.’’
(on not buying out the contract…)
LOMBARDI: ``We expect loyalty from our players, and I think it’s a two-way street. Under the circumstances, with what he had done for us, I thought he deserved a chance to get back to where he knows he’s capable of. That’s a hard balance. Obviously I thought about that a lot, but there’s the new-wave thing about there where players are commodities, and things like passion and loyalty are values that I thought made sports special. Commodities guys will tell you that doesn’t matter. Well that’s been a big part of the success of this team, I certainly believe. That’s kind of the way I came down on it. If you’re going to expect loyalty from your players, then you, at times, have to show loyalty to them....
"How long is this supposed to go on? It's clear that the system is dysfunctional."
"It has nothing to do with what he did. What he did is off to the side. That's indefensible. But if a guy does steroids — that's indefensible in its own right, too, but they're separate issues — you immediately get the cap space. What's ridiculous about this, if he gets convicted we get the cap space. If he doesn't, we're in never-never land. We get nothing. It's totally dysfunctional."
-Dean Lombardi, GM of the Los Angeles Kings on the cap issue caused by the suspension of Slave Voynov. More from Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
from Rich Hammond of Kings Blog at the OC Register,
After practice today, Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi met with a group of beat reporters in his office to discuss Slava Voynov’s arrest and suspension.
Here is the first half of the transcript of what Lombardi said...
(On when and how he found out about Voynov...)
"Yesterday morning, from (team executive Jeff Solomon). ... There’s phone calls going on. You’ve got NHL security and the league, Bill Daly, is calling. I don’t even know the time sequence."
(On whether he has seen or spoken to Voynov...)
"No. I think, obviously given the situation, you’ve got to let the process go through. I know Darryl went over there and spoke to him, as the coach. Right now, I think you’ve just got to let this process go through."
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Los Angeles Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi isn’t one to surrender his own analytics blueprint, however.
“You can get my book when I’m done,” he joked.
He acknowledged that he has spoken on the phone “a number of times” with former Boston Red Sox General Manager and current Chicago Cubs Director of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein about the use of analytics, but won’t divulge how his own club’s decisions are based on the statistical resources that they’ve compiled.
“Like if you have a secret formula, why would you tell the world about it if you’re trying to win? You know what? Here we come.”
“It’s unbelievable, that question now,” Lombardi said about the analytics discussion. “Every guy from Toronto’s calling me now because they did it. So all their writers call. There’s a perception out here that we have the Holy Grail – some magic formula – that that’s why we’re winning, and Lombardi’s got this blah blah blah. And so, just like you’re talking there, it’s not only the way you play, right, that they copy you, but now they want to know what you’re doing. So, yeah, maybe we have been [using analytics]. But don’t forget, too, like I’ve always said. There’s a big difference between data and knowledge, and how you use it. Be careful. And the other thing, too, is that you’ll never convince me that emotion isn’t a huge part of this game, more than any other game.”
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
The Kings general manager talked about the current approach from his players as they get ready for their Stanley Cup defense. It is, he noted, a subtle contrast from when they first won the Cup in 2012.
“They were on a mission when they left [for the summer],” Lombardi said. “We’ve never had so many players back this early. When I saw them, they looked really good. There seems to be a different focus … something better than even the first time.”
He later joked that the players were all trying to be like their teammate, the ultra-lean Jeff Carter.
Lombardi provided an update on goalie Jonathan Quick, who had offseason wrist surgery. Quick has suffered no setbacks, according to the Kings GM.
“He just started talking shots now … but he’s still got to go slow,” Lombardi said.
The regular season starts Oct. 8 against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
Will Quick get into any preseason games?
“It’s going to go right down to the wire, but we think we’re fine,” Lombardi said. “We’ve got [Martin] Jones if we have to go short-term.”
a bit more
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson leads us up to the trade deadline wondering whether the trade deadline will in fact play out as witnessing Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim attempt to strike back at the St. Louis Blues' preemptive roster-strenghtening strike in bringing Ryan Miller and Steve Ott into the fold:
Do the Kings have to get New York Islanders’ unrestricted free agent winger Thomas Vanek now, even if the whole world knows Vanek is going to sign in Minnesota, where he has a summer home? Or should they go for Matt Moulson, who played 29 games with L.A. after general manager Dean Lombardi signed him as a free agent out of Cornell University in 2006?
Do the Ducks, who have two first-round picks and two seconds this June and need a right-handed shooting defenceman, take a big swing at six-foot-eight Tyler Myers in Buffalo, even though his salary-cap hit is $5.5 million? They could offer somebody like forward Kyle Palmeiri, but would probably keep winger Emerson Etem and goalie Viktor Fasth.
Are the Sharks deep enough with the return of third-line winger Raffi Torres following knee surgery, No. 2 centre Logan Couture (hand operation), and rookie sensation winger Tomas Hertl (knee) skating again?
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+macdonald, buffalo+sabres, chris+phillips, christian+ehrhoff, dean+lombardi, kyle+palmieri, los+angeles+kings, matt+moulson, new+york+islanders, ryan+callahan, san+jose+sharks, thomas+vanek, tomas+hertl, tyler+myers
NBC Southern California posted an inteview with Dean, now aka Vince Lombardi.
Watch and read the interview here.
“We’re the flavor of the month. Six months from now I’ll be an idiot again.”
-Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi. More on the Kings summer plans from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times.
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
I’ll have the full transcript of the Dean Lombardi conference call shortly, but here are the highlights…
– Talks with the Blue Jackets started “heating up” about a week ago.
– Lombardi said he understands that taking on Carter’s big contract is a risk, but feels it is worth it.
– Carter will have to do an extensive physical. The Kings hope he will be able to play on Saturday, but aren’t certain.
– Lombardi said that in terms of potential trades beyond this, he has “absolutely nothing” right now but said he will be open to talks.
– Lombardi said the questions about Carter’s character have been overblown.
continued and if you wish to listent to the press conference, you can do so below. Many media members mentioned the conference was one entertaining.
“Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs—given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see—the delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 - 10ths of a second before the delay—this insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes That is not an opinion—that is science—amazing devise quite frankly.”
-Dean Lombardi, GM for the LA Kings on the clock issue last night. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
So it’s a can of worms for the NHL and even if an anonymous off-ice official loses his job over it, it won’t change the final result, which is that the Kings are credited with a point in a game which they may or may not have earned.
And if the Western Conference playoff race goes down to the wire the way it did last season, and somebody misses out by a point, the events of Feb. 1 in L.A. will not be easy for some close-but-no-cigar also-ran to swallow.
Or to forget.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic.
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Question: You’re now in a holdout situation with Doughty. What kind of update can you give about his status and the negotiations?
LOMBARDI: “Obviously we’re very disappointed that he’s not here. I don’t think it’s any secret, what we think of this player and his abilities and what his potential is. So that’s certainly not an issue, as far as the quality of the player or the quality of the person. We hold both to high regard. That said, a couple things. I don’t want to get into the intricacies what we offered, in terms of the minute details. It’s safe to say that, as far as the big picture within the league, we certainly made him an offer that puts him amongst the top defensemen in the league. Then you look at your team. It’s no secret that he would be at the top of our team. Then, thirdly, even thought I think you know how I feel philosophically about paying for potential, it’s part of the system unfortunately. But the third thing that’s critical to us is the allocation. Where we’re at now, we certainly stretched the limit in terms of paying him amongst the top players in the league, paying him appropriately within the team’s salary structure and, most importantly, being able to keep this group together.
Update 3:48pm ET: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Twitter offers this reminder—
Worth noting that technically speaking, Doughty is not a holdout , he’s an unsigned RFA. Not that Kings fan will feel any better.
It has been common to just use the word gate behind any misunderstanding or wrongdoing. In this case, I don’t believe that the Oilers set out to pull the wool over the heads of the Kings. So, I hereby propose this subject be called the Fraser Feud.
I was in St. Paul at the NHL entry draft amidst all of the Ryan Smyth trade talk, and everyone was excited about it, no matter what team they were there representing or covering. TSN cameramen were telling me how wonderful they felt the move would be for Edmonton. The heart of the matter seemed to be at what cost.
“The bottom line for me, I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word.”
-LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi on the Smyth/Fraser trade with Edmonton. Fraser is injured and Lombardi is not happy with that. More at Helene Elliott’s twitter account.
added 9:13pm, David Staples of the Edmonton Journal with his opinion,
My take is there’s plenty of room for medical specialists to disagree about an injury, and to do so in good conscience. If Lombardi has a real complaint, he can take it to the NHL. Until he does, this comes off as something of a snit fit from a GM not used to having a star player holding a gun to his head and demanding a trade to a single specified location.
added 9:15pm, Helene’s story just made it at The Fabulous Forum, where the story gets a little more in-depth.
NEW YORK (January 21, 2011) – Los Angeles Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi has been fined $50,000 for comments made following Thursday night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
“There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League’s Hockey Operations Department in general or Mike Murphy, in particular,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
“People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did,” Commissioner Bettman added. “Mike Murphy is a devoted caretaker of the game. His commitment to the National Hockey League, all 30 of its Clubs – and to the game – is beyond challenge, question or debate.
“I have spoken to Dean, who has apologized to Mike Murphy and to me and has acknowledged that his comments were wrong, inappropriate and without merit,” Commissioner Bettman said.
The money goes to the NHL Foundation.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet at CityNews,
Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has apologized to NHL vice-president Mike Murphy for an outburst following his team’s loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night, but still expects a phone call from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Lombardi was furious after a Coyotes goal scored by Martin Hanzal on a high stick was allowed following a lengthy review by the league’s war room in Toronto. He said Murphy’s decision was swayed by the fact that he didn’t get the GM job with the Kings.
“I called Mike Murphy and apologized first thing this morning,” Lombardi said. “He was very professional and a bigger man than me.”
from Rich Hammond at Kings.com,
Irate after a video review failed to overturn a second-period goal by the Phoenix Coyotes, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi and coach Terry Murray publicly called out the NHL review crew in Toronto after the Kings’ 2-0 loss to the Coyotes.
The disputed play took place 8:48 into the second period of a then-scoreless game. Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal, stationed in front the net, lifted his stick and knocked the puck out of the air and past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
On-ice officials immediately called it a good goal, and after a video review of more than five minutes, the crew in Toronto, led by Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, ruled that the goal would stand.
“When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.‘s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls,’’ Lombardi said. “However, we have put ourselves in a position where these calls have a monumental effect on our season, and we’re going to have to find a way out of it ourselves.’‘
I saw the goal live and honestly, I felt whatever was ruled on the ice is the way Toronto would see it, it was that close. You can watch the goal in real-time and slow motion below…
“The biggest thing is the uncertainty of planning. Whenever you’re trying to put a team together under any system, it’s about planning ahead. Obviously going forward here, there’s a lot of uncertainty. The ability to plan … it just seems we shouldn’t be in this position of such uncertainty.”
-Dean Lombardi, GM of the Los Angeles Kings on the CBA. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
“...I don’t think there’s another top guy out there right now, so you’ve got to be careful about just running out there and getting a fill that we didn’t really want. So that’s what you’ve got to guard against at this point now. We’ll continue to work through it, but I don’t see anything on the horizon. But I’ve been around long enough to know that something always comes up.”
-LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider where you can read more.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said Friday his harsh evaluation of Jack Johnson’s old flaws in an interview on the blog frozenroyalty.net was intended to lend perspective to the defenseman’s progress, not to disparage Johnson or the University of Michigan.
In the interview, conducted by Gann Matsuda and published as part of a series, Lombardi said Johnson “never had any coaching” at Michigan and was “awful as a hockey player” before he joined the Kings and refined his game enough to be chosen for the U.S. Olympic team at the Vancouver Games….
Lombardi said he meant to give Matsuda background information on Johnson’s evolution and didn’t expect those comments to be published. “The whole article was completely out of context,” Lombardi said.
Matsuda said Lombardi never designated that part of the conversation as off the record. Lombardi did not dispute that.
note 01/25/10, I received a note from the folks at Hockeytalk.biz and they wanted to point out Gann Matsuda works for them and not Frozen Royalty.
from Helene Elliott at the Fabulous Forum,
Kings defenseman Jack Johnson reacted angrily Thursday to comments made by General Manager Dean Lombardi in an interview posted on the blog frozenroyalty.net in which Lombardi said Michigan—where Johnson played college hockey—is “the worst” in terms of coaching players and called Johnson “awful as a hockey player” when he played for the Wolverines.
He also criticized Michigan Coach Red Berenson and said Johnson was unable to accept criticism after playing at Michigan and for the U.S. national team development program.
The interview, part of a series, can be found here.
“I’m a Michigan man. I’m very proud of it. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Johnson said after the Kings’ 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center.
“Near the end of the first period, we started losing territory. We stopped making plays, stopped moving our feet. Then at the beginning of the second period, I think we went 10 minutes without a shot. Then they score two goals, and all of a sudden we get (mad) and get four quality chances. But that’s the point. When you talk about the mental side of building a team, it’s the same old story. You have to respect your opponent, but you can’t fear them. Yeah, they’re still the Red Wings, and they’re a hell of a team, but we’ve got to get over that mental block and start believing in ourselves. I thought we looked up and it’s 1-0 and, `Holy smoke, we’re playing with them,’ and then – like last year – there was a little bit of waiting for something bad to happen. And it did.’
-Kings GM Dean Lombardi on the loss to Detroit yesterday. More from Lombardi by Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
from Dean Lombardi at LosAngelesKings.com,
On behalf of the Los Angeles Kings, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the passionate and undying support that you have shown the team for so many years. Your support of this franchise is unparalleled in the world of sports. Few sports teams can boast a commitment from their fans that encompasses 40 years of dedicated support that continues to thrive despite never having been rewarded with a championship. Your relentless fervor is one of the prime sources of motivation for my staff to continually raise the bar of our work ethic in order to deliver the type of product you so richly deserve.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Question: I talked to Brown and Kopitar and asked them, `If Dean asked you how to improve the team next season, what would you say?’ They both said, `Scoring left winger’ without much hesitation. Obvious?
LOMBARDI: ``I’d say another thing is obvious too.’‘
Question: What’s that?
LOMBARDI: ``All of these young players have to get better. No doubt about it. Actually, that part is even more important, because if they don’t make the commitment this summer, it doesn’t matter. When you put a bunch of young players together, learning to be pros and learning to make the commitment to be the best they can be, learning to be teammates, is as critical as their physical condition, their play on the ice. That starts immediately after (today’s) game.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Here’s general manager Dean Lombardi on the suspension: “We didn’t believe he deserved a penalty, let alone a suspension. When you stop the tape, his elbow is clearly down and at the point of contact, his feet are on the ice. They both ended up halfway up the boards, so it’s not a charge….”
“We’re not only going to match any offer sheet, we’ll have enough space to go after your guys. Go ahead and make our day. If you sign our guy, we’re coming back with both barrels firing. You’d better be damn straight that you have the cap space and all your guys are signed.”
—Dean Lombardi, LA Kings GM
“Dang, snap, OH NO HE DIDN’T!”
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News,
It’s not that I have high expectations for the Kings next season; I just like the direction the team is going. By building mainly through the draft, GM Dean Lombardi has ensured that when the Kings get good, they’ll be good for a long time.
I have no doubt there are Kings fans upset about the slow pace in which the team is rebuilding and wish Lombardi would sign a couple of veterans to get his club into the playoff hunt. But if he did, he might as well rename the Kings the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It takes patience to build a winner.
Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings spoke with Kings GM Dean Lombardi tonight. Some highlights from that conversation:
—The Kings were right there on Brad Stuart, and apparently didn’t have a problem with either the term or the money, but Stuart decided that he wanted to play for the Red Wings. To this, Lombardi basically tipped his hat and said, ``I can’t blame him for that.’‘
—Lombardi still has his eye on a defenseman who, in his words, fits with both the present and the future. He’s not at liberty to name names, obviously, but I don’t think it’s hard to do some reading between the lines, right?
—Rob Blake is still there as a strong possibility, and discussions are ongoing.
From Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings, the transcript from Dean Lombardi’s press conference yesterday, plus a series of posts where Hammond asks Lombardi his own questions.
Here’s more from Lombardi, talking about the natural assumption that the Kings might already have a new coach in mind…
“People can think whatever they’re thinking, but we haven’t done any research or anything like that. I think we were solely focused on the right fit here, but I think it’s safe to say we realize the importance of this hire and I’m not going to hurry it. I guess one indication that we don’t really have anybody in mind is that I don’t see myself rushing to get someone here this week. I guess if I had somebody in mind, I’d be on the phone signing him right now, but I’m not anywhere near something like that. I mean, whenever you fire someone, a coach or whatever, the thought is always in the back of your mind. `OK, who are we going to get to replace him?’ But in terms of us already finding someone and saying, `This is the guy who would fit,’ no. We’re not even near that.”
Also, Helene Elliott at the LA Times takes a look back at Crawford and the Kings organization.
from Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings,
I typically dislike commenting on rumors, because anyone can start them without naming sources and 99 percent of published rumors turn out to be exaggerated or just simply B.S. I don’t know the gentleman who wrote the FoxSports.com piece about Lombardi being on the hot seat, and I’m certainly not going to question his motives or sources. And given where the Kings stand—that would be last place in the conference—I suppose it’s fair to question whether Dean Lombardi SHOULD be on the hot seat. Any GM whose team is at the bottom of the conference is going to come under some scrutiny.
I would be completely stunned if Lombardi got fired this year, even if the Kings finished in last place.