Lombardi Q&A

There’s a better-than-average chance that I’ll be getting a phone interview with Dean Lombardi sometime in the next couple days. So, as always, I’ll open it up here for some questions. I have a couple questions I need to ask myself, but otherwise I’ll take the most popular questions from here, or at least the most pertinent ones in terms of the start of training camp. Fire away…

In response to a couple questions in other posts…I think it would be pretty extraordinary for Bernier to make the team out of camp. He would have to be incredible, and even then I think the Kings would want to pair him with a steady, solid, veteran goalie. With all respect to Cloutier and LaBarbera, I’m not sure either one of them would fill that specific role at the moment. But we’ll see.

Most productive summer ever? Wow… I guess you’d have to exclude the Summer Of Gretzky, since that trade alone probably made for the Kings’ most productive summer ever. Other than that? I think you could make a strong argument for this summer. It’s definitely been the most active summer in a while. I suppose in April we’ll be able to better determine how productive it was.

I’ll do my best to provide coverage from the rookie camp next week. I have other work assignments in the afternoon all next week, but I should be able to make it to the morning sessions and grab some interviews.

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  • BobMillersHair

    Q: Bernier has best showing in camp of all goalies. Does he get a shot?

    Q: Was there one signing or trade in this off season DL felt he “just” missed out on, that he wished he landed. And what player was it………(Vesa Toskala, Tomas Vokoun, Chris Drury..etc.)

    Q: Can Rich Gannon travel with the team so that we fans get team and player updates on road games. because I care Rich…because I care…..

  • Moondoggie

    Great job Rich, thanx again for the updates and all you do for us diehards. It has been a good summer but April will tell the real tale. I know he’s still young but I’m also curious about Bernier, what if he ends up having a great camp? It would almost seem counterproductive to send him back to Lewiston, don’t you think? It’s just possible he’s one AHL season from the NHL, probably not but a definite possibility. Your thoughts? DL’s?

  • PolarBearOne

    Question for Dean Lombardi:

    What do you expect Dave Lewis to bring to the bench as he joins Marc Crawford?

  • Ed

    Bob, I think you mean for Rich Hammond to travel with the Kings. Why would an over the hill ex-Raider QB be traveling with the Kings? :)

    Rich, Can you ask Dean if there are any concerns on Handzus’s health?

    Coming off a major injury year, could he become the next Bure/McCauley?

    Not sure if you have already answered this before.

    Thanks, Ed

  • Carlos

    DL, please comment:
    1) goalie Erik Ersberg

    2) Are there any prospects that can be compared to Kopitar?

    3) Expand on “player development” efforts.

    4) Other than Kings, who do you think is going to be the most competitive in East & West conference?

  • Pat

    Kudos to DL on a great summer, but what was with the Aubin signing? Amongst NHL goalies who played 20 or more games last season, we now have last year’s worst goalie by save %, Cloutier (0.860) and last year’s second worst goalie by save %, Aubin (0.875). And last year’s worst goalie by GAA, Cloutier (3.98) and last year’s 3rd worst goalie by GAA, Aubin (3.43). My question. Can LaBamba play 80 games?

  • Pat

    Moondoggie: Bernier is too young to play in the AHL this season. It’s either Lewiston or LA, and as tempting as it might seem, I’m thinking he’s on his way back to Lewiston. Maybe he can come to LA if Lewiston’s season ends with an early playoff exit.

  • Chris

    Qs for DL:

    What is it about Dave Lewis and the Kings roster (including other coaches) that make for a good match?

    Clouts, Labs, Ersberg, Aubin et al… what’s the thinking behind the current goaltending
    stock?

    After a year of draft picks, free agent signings and trades, what sort of overall team “character” are you aiming for?

    Thanks!

    PS Damn, Rich, you are one sexy blogger!

  • Christian

    Q:Let’s say the Kings are surprising everyone. Do we go after Forsberg in December?

    Q:Have you spoken to Cammi and if so how is he? Does he know that if he produces like last year he will have the chance to be a hero like Luc? In part because he is making less than all of us expected he would after arbitration. And will he embrace that. Because us fans will reward him.

  • Paul

    Just for the record regarding Bernier playing in the AHL, he’s not eligiable to do so unless Lewiston releases their rights to him.

    As I understand it, players under the age of 20 that have their rights owned by a CHL team can only play for the CHL team or the NHL team. They can’t be sent to the AHL or the ECHL. If you want to keep them, you have to play them.

    Sid the kid was an example of a player whose rights were owned by a CHL team, but the NHL team kept him and played him.

    Bernier won’t be 20 until next August.

    So I’d say the chances of Bernier going back to Lewiston are probably pretty high.

    Now on to my questions. :)

    If the call had to be made today, who would Dean think Marc would pick as the starting goalie? And is he satisified with that guy getting the job?

  • Shaun

    Q: Who is Dean looking forwards to seeing at rookie camp and why ?

    Q: Rich are you planing on getting video interviews when you go to the rookie and training camp ?

    Keep up the great work!!!

  • kingofdodgers

    Rich/DL?

    Who do you see breaking out defensively(other than JMFJ)? Harrold? Petiot? Piskula?

  • Brian

    Question for DL:

    Do you see the Kings getting a Superstar/Star type player that will bring the young core we already have together ie. Joe Thornton in San Jose?

  • PUCKBOY25

    Thanks again Rich. I know Dean won’t be able to comment but ask him about going after Kipper next off season (if he’s avail) and see what his reaction is….I bet you’ll know the answer…….

  • BobMillersHair

    Rich Gannon….LMAO….
    I am sure its not the first, eh Rich. Doh…
    …But maybe Rich Gannon could give some insight on how he blew the Super Bowl. Or maybe Kings could add him to the coaching staff…JK.

  • Darren

    Is he aware of any injuries going into camp that he is concerned with?

    Thoughts behind the recent signing of Bagnall and the Defense slated for Manchester?

    Ask if he thinks if there is enough time for training camp this season with the early departure to London? If there’s enough time for them to piece their team together?

    Great job Rich.

  • Gary

    Since you have signed Ersberg to a one year contract… is he unrestricted at the end of the year? or is there a chance to retain him if he does well for our organization? Need clarification with the current CBA.

  • BallPointHammer

    Just a quick perspective on Bernier.

    Doesn’t include playoff games.

    Roberto Luong:
    drafted 1997
    2 years QMJHL [54 & 43 gp]
    1 year split NHL [24 gp]/AHL [26 gp]
    6 years NHL [47 to 76 gp] (not including 2004-05 Lock Out in which he did not play)

    Marc-Andre Fleury:
    drafted 2003
    1 year split NHL [21 gp]/QMJHL [10 gp]
    1 year AHL [54 gp] (2004-05 Lock Out)
    1 year split NHL [50 gp]/AHL [12 gp]
    1 year NHL [67 gp]

    IMO Bernier needs a couple more years to develop before entering the NHL.

    Q. Can DL name one each of forward, defenseman and goalie from the young guys headed for Manchester that he would most like to see progress to regular NHL duty by end of this season?

  • http://www.catcherman.com Micheal

    Q: With all of the transactions the Kings have made this offseason, how has Dean Lombardi’s outlook and expectation of this season changed?

  • Nelson

    Rich can you ask Dean where he thinks the Kings will finish this season.

    Also ask him what his expectations are from each goalie

  • CBGB

    1) Hickey looks “good”, Alzner and Gagner look “better” – thoughts on the Canada/Russia series?

    2) Would you ever consider an “offer sheet” to another teams player?

    3) If we are out of the playoffs in April, have you talked to Blake about waiving his NTC so we can pick up players/picks? Or do you have any intention of signing him to a longer, less expensive contract?

    4) If Cloutier and LaBarbera don’t live up to expectations… then what?

    5) When are you going to hold your next “chat” with season ticket holders?

  • Kingsfan27

    Question for DL:

    Why sign J.S. Aubin?

  • Booma

    Moondoggie,

    I believe (and correct me if I’m wrong Rich), that Bernier is too young for the AHL right? So his only options would be to play the NHL or back to juniors, correct?

    Thanks Rich for all the info you so gerously and so often, provide. Keep it up!

    Ask Dean, injuries aside, where he sees this team finishing? (course I can’t see him saying “dead last, this team sucks” even if it did…)

    Also, as of today, who does Dean see as the 1st guy to call up on D from Manchester?

  • Marc Nathan

    I’m still interested in knowing what Dean would consider to be a “failure” in his second season here. He’s revamped the organization from top to bottom, and has made some drastic player personnel changes coming in to this season, so… where is he at in his thinking? Is this a team that he feels can and should compete for a playoff spot, and will he consider it a failure (for himself) if they don’t achieve that goal, or is he just looking to climb out of the bottom of the barrel and find a comfortable spot in the “black hole,” in an attempt to make NEXT (08-09) year the year the team legitimizes itself as a contender.

    At some point the guy has to go to sleep and say, I did this and I am happy (or not happy) with the job I have done. Where’s the line he draws for himself?

  • ChrisH

    Kings fan yes but realist first. Nice moves this off-season but there is no way this team makes the playoffs. Frankly it would be better for the Kings to not make the playoffs, get a high pick in the ’08 draft and pray that Kiprusoff is available July 1st. If they sign Kipper, the Kings become instant contenders in the West.

    Question for DL: What is the status/future plans for Ron Hextall?

  • Steve Alvarez

    Great Job Rich, great to get such insight into the Kings Org.

    Q: Dean what postion do you think is the most available for a rookie to break into the line up.

    Q2: Dean what rookie or rookies do you think have the best chance to break into the lineup.

  • Jon

    Ahhhh! beat me to it Ed, but it would be funny if Rich Gannon did travel with the Kings. Questions for Deano: Have you seen Cloutier practice? If so, Does he LOOK ready to play?
    Will he try to wear a modern style Goalie helmet or will he stick with the older style helmet?(I think the older style looks better)

  • Pat

    Does DL have a role model that inspired him or perhaps mentored him in his career as a GM?

  • Kresten

    Rich,

    I have a couple of questions?
    1 After this arbitration with Cammy, What is the likelyhood of him signing a long term contract next year?

    2. With all the aquired defenseman who are you most looking forward to seeing play?

    Thanks Rich for all of your work it is much appreciated

  • Danny

    DL has signed a number of defensemen… realistically, who are the 6 he expects to start the season with. Is Harrold or Petoit likely to be among them? Dallman?

  • Jeremy “thanks for the 5 million” Roenick

    Is bringing Dave Lewis on board at all supposed to light a fire under Marc Crawford and send a message that we expect a better season and his job is on the line?

    In every single season preview I have read, our goaltending has been universally rated among the bottom three teams. Are we really just expecting Bill Ranford to somehow teach our goalies to play better than they ever have before in their respective careers?

  • JB

    Enough about Cammy! The guy never called you back or made any kind of statement to the fans. He’s obviously chosen the role of union goon. Let’s talk about some of the other young kids that can be true leaders.

    D.Brown? What does DL see him needing to do this year to continue to progress? Last season he was in better shape, lighter and pounding everything in sight. What next?

    Who does he see as Kop’s wingers?

    2 years ago Kings had killer PP w/ Vishno & Corvo on point. How do we get back to that success? Will Vishno go back to playing the other side? What other D may be good on the PP? In other words please no more sending Blake down to screen when shots aren’t even getting through.

  • deacon blue

    Here’s a scenario: Scott Niedermeyer decides not to retire and the Ducks have to cut Selanne loose because they’re constrained by the cap. For Mr. Lombardi: would the Kings be interested in Selanne, especially since he might give the Kings a little “home-town discount” (he’s already enrolled his kids in SoCal schools) to play close to his adopted home? Just some thoughts.

  • HockeyOnly

    I sit here and read all the comments about Bernier and it just seems to me that if the kid is good enough to play in the NHL he doesn’t need to be taken by the hand. Sorry gang but I grew up in the era where if you had the talent then you were the guy and didn’t need to be hand fed and burped. You guys still forget that talent will get you everywhere and sometimes over teaching can ruin a player. Goaltenders work on their system and style, because you have never stopped a disc coming at you at 90+ you may think it’s a big deal ……. and it is …… if you haven’t grown up stopping the 90MPH plus shots as you went further up in your career. Roy wasn’t hand fed, Terry Sawchuk wasn’t hand fed, Ken Dryden wasn’t either and neither was that 17 year old that started his career with Buffalo a couple of eons back and won the Calder cup, I think his name was Tom Barraso. Let Bernier be and from what I have seen of him he’ll do fine if he isn’t babied.

  • MWJ17

    Blake may seem like the obvious choice for team captain this year. But with only one year left on his deal, would it be wiser to pick someone who has apparent long term plans with the club to be captain?

  • Scott

    I’d like to know details about the team’s situation under the CBA: how much cap space is left this year assuming all bonuses are earned, how many SPCs (if any) are left under the limit, and how much space is left on the reserve list (if any)?

  • Jon

    HockeyOnly, Well Put! Will you be my dad?

  • Steve

    I’m sure this was asked, but why Aubin? Was there something he saw in him? I think Garon would have been a better fit for an insurance goalie. Edmonton got him relatively cheap. I don’t know if he even wanted to stay in LA. Maybe you could ask him about Garon also. Thanks Rich and keep up the good work.

  • Eric

    It seems like the two biggest questions have to do with “who fits where”, both in goal and the 6th-7th defenceman spots. Unfortunately, we already know these answers… We’re starting with a level playing field and we’ll let them fight it out in camp to earn the roster spots. If someone like Bernier or Piskula or Harrold have an amazing camp (as in: pull a Kopitar), Dean and co. will have some decision making to do, but they’ll welcome and address that scenario when the time comes.

    My question is more about the fringe forwards… It sure seems like they’ve tagged Zeiler as the best of the energy guys, but it looks like we’ve given another shot to Giuliano and Kanko to see if they can push John for that role. I’d like to know what they expect of those two guys this year, and to get their feelings on the depth of prospects in each type of role (tough guy, energy guy, scorer, playmaker).

    Thanks Rich!!

  • Nick

    Why sign Modry and Klemm when you made comments about Harrold being NHL ready, having Piskula with NHL experience, and re-signing Petiot. Any of those guys would be a good option, inject some more youth in the defense and cost less….

  • 33YearKINGsFan

    I’ve watched the Kings draft many players from Europe over the last few years – Kopitar, Grebeschov, Tukonen, etc. Yet in the 2007 draft, only Oscar Moller is from Europe (and he plays Canadian junior hockey); all the others are from North America. Has Lombardi changed the Kings draft philosophy, or did it just work out this way? What might we expect next year?