Lombardi on hot seat?

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. AEG knew what it got when they hired Lombardi. They got a guy who was going to build from the bottom up, who was going to try to build a base and then go from there. If they didn’t want that, and if they wanted a quick fix, they should have hired someone else. Lombardi’s primary focus from the beginning has been to create quality, youthful depth in the organization. You saw it from the beginning, with the emphasis on draft picks and on trading for young players such as Jack Johnson and Patrick O’Sullivan. To that end, I think Lombardi has been a great success. There are more quality young players in the system than ever before, all the way down to a player such as Wayne Simmonds, who is off the radar right now.

The question is, how does that translate? Not every one of those prospects is going to turn out to be a NHL player. If you consider a talent pool of Boyle, Bernier, Cliche, Hickey, Lewis, Parse and Purcell, just to name a few, the success rate isn’t going to be 100 percent in terms of all of them becoming NHL players. The real question is, how high will Lombardi’s batting average be with these kids? That will be a big part of his ultimate success or failure.

The other question is, can he fill the gaps by signing established NHL players to fill out the roster? So far, I give Lombardi high marks for building up the reserve list, but I think he’s been below-average in terms of free-agent signings, and that’s probably being kind. I’m looking at Blake, Handzus, McCauley, Nagy, Preissing, Stuart, Thornton and Willsie, not to mention the trade for Cloutier. How many of those players to you look at and say, “I’m sure glad he is/was a King”?

I know a Ducks comparison won’t be popular here, but you have to look at what they did. They brought the kids (Getzlaf, Perry, Kunitz, Penner, etc.) along and made veteran acquisitions (Selanne, Niedermayer, Pronger, O’Donnell, Beauchemin, etc.) that panned out. If a team is going to have success, they go hand in hand. Lombardi’s challenge, particularly next summer, is to make some smart veteran acquisitions. So far, I think that’s been his clear weakness.

I’d be happy to hear what everyone thinks on this matter…

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  • tim chaney

    Keep Dean, fire Crow… Just that simple. But when do you do it?

  • fivehole93

    I agree that it would be a total shock if DL gets fired. When he was hired he said it would probably be 3 years before he could get this team where he wanted it. The youth he has is great but the free agent NHL signings have not. Of those signings I believe the Handzus one will pan out. He is coming off a major knee injury and that will take some time.

    Next summer will be the make or break point. I am not totally sure who will be UFA but DL will have to try and sign a number 2 center and a top 4 d-man. He could try and trade for one as well but that will cost picks and prospects. The Kings will free up some cash to go after a big time free agent or two next year. Willsie, Nagy, Thornton, Blake and Stuart’s contracts are up at the end of the season. I do hope they can resign Stuart because I think he will regain the play we saw when he was in San Jose.

    Rememeber DL has a lot of new faces in here this year and with the short training camp it will take this team a little longer to gel. IMO Crawford will go before DL.

  • xeropoint

    Rich,

    I don’t think there is much more to be said! Spot on analysis. I believe it’s up to the players and coaches at this point, to turn things around and hopefully string together more consistent efforts. Lombardi should not be fired for the teams poor play.

  • Mike

    Rich,

    My feelings are quite simple. If AEG fired Dean Lombardi during this season or this offseason, I would throw my jersey in the fire and turn my back on them.

    I’ve been a fan for a really long time and have endured alot of frustration and dissapointment. I think for once we should all show some patience and know that this kind of thing isn’t built in a day. They knew who they were getting in DL and I think any GM, no matter what team, should be given a minimum 3 years. If AEG failed to Allow DL that, I would walk and turn in after 20 years of fanhood.

  • Kevco

    Keep Dean, Fire Crawford.

  • anthony

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Lombardi did indeed get fired.
    As a matter of fact, I’m really hoping that it does.

    Lets go over his his rap sheet.
    2006 signings:
    Rob Blake-$12 Mil
    Alyn McCaualey-$6 Mil
    Scott Thornton-$3 Mil
    Brian Wilsie
    Ratis Ivanans
    Kevin Dallmam (doesn’t even play or exist)
    Dan Cloutier (signed after being traded for $8.2 Mil)

    Can anybody tell me what the hell these players contributed to the Kings

    2007 Signings:
    Michal Handzus-$12 Mil
    Ladislav Nagy-$3.75 Mil
    Brad Stuart-$3.5 Mil
    Tom Preissing
    J.S Aubin
    Klemm
    Kyle Calder

    It appears only Calder seems to be producing and nothing else.
    I have to be honest. When I heard about the Handzus signing. The first thing that came to mind was that: this is worse than the Cloutier deal.
    You would think this IDIOTIC G.M. would have learned from the McCauley failure.
    Why does he throw away money on injured HAS-BEENS with bum kness.

    TRADEs:
    Wow lets see. What did we get for
    Craig Conroy-Nothing
    (Lundmark is gone)
    Sean Avery-Nothing Jason ward is gone & Cliche’ has 2 goals in the minors)
    OUR CAPTAIN- Modry Wow.

    The truth of the matter is that this G.M. is not skilled enough to be a G.M. What he did in San Jose got him eventually fired. Otherwise de’d still be there.
    In my oppinion, he’s the worse G.M. in the league behind Kevin Lowe-life. Almost every move he’s made is suspect at best. Except for O’Sullivan & Johnson.

  • anthony

    One other thing

    I love the way he brags about Frolov, Kopitar, Brwon, Cammi, Purcell, Boyle, Parse.

    When he did absolutely Nothing – I mean Zero -in acquiring them.
    These were Dave Taylor moves.
    Another loser if I may add.

  • Seattle

    ^ Valid arguments about returns if you completely ignore every single draft pick we grabbed. It seems pretty clear that was the main reason behind these.

    Beauchemin was a rookie, I believe, when acquired for Federov.

  • Anonymous

    Lol Anthony way to sound like an idiot. Purcell was signed by Lombardi and he is leading the AHL in PPG.

  • Paul

    As is typical for Anthony, he’s only focused on the negatives.

    Has Lombardi done a great job in free agency and trades? No when it comes to veterans, yes as it pertains to young players.

    Just as Rich pointed out, DL did trade for Jack Johnson & Patrick O’Sullivan. And the Norstrom trade got us high round draft picks. Modry was a throw in (in my opinion), and he’s not playing that bad.

    Regarding DL building through the draft, he’s done the best job of any King GM ever.

    Tell me Anthony? What did Dave Taylor do for the Kings?

    Now, I can’t see Lombardi getting the axe anytime before the end of NEXT season. A new GM should be allowed at least 4 years to develop his talent pool, and I believe Lombard will get at least 3 seasons.

    In the original story by Rich, he questioned whether all the Kings youth would eventually be full time NHL players.

    What many of them will be is trade bait.

    If this team can turn things around, and be in position to sniff the playoffs in a month or so, DL could package some of the young talent to acquire a quality veteran to help with the playoff push.

    The question shouldn’t be whether DL is on the hot seat. It should be whether Marc Crawford is on the hot seat?

    I’ve certainly not been impressed by Crow so far, but I’ve been willing to give a Stanley Cup Champion coach the benefit of patience.

    But my patience, along with many Kings fans, is wearing thin. So that makes me wonder how much patience DL and AEG have with him.

  • anthony

    I guess if your name is Anonymous, you either want to be unknown or you must be hiding something like:
    -lack of a brain
    -0 intelligence
    -no life
    -lack of accomplishments
    -etc…

  • JOE

    i don’t care who he really brought in as FA’s because what matters is that we need our core to be good. as far as free agents are concerned lets not look too far back. Jeremy Roenick? loll. I think thats a bigger bust than any other one of these guys, except maybe cloutier.

  • Nick

    I agree with Rich’s comments. From a rebuilding standpoint and adding youth to the system he has done a fine job, but adding veteran pieces, he has been horrible.

    It will take years for Lombardi’s plan to take effect. The one thing that bothers me is that why not just go the route of Phoenix and give all the kids a shot…Why spend all these money on band aid veterans and mix them with the kids. If the Kings are going to lose might as well lose with Purcell, Boyle, Brady Murray, and Petiot in the line-up over Armstrong, Handzus, Calder, Preissing, and Modry….

    Lombardi could’ve let Harrold and Petiot battle for Modry’s spot…Why re-sign him? Those kids are now 25-26.

    Right now the Kings look like a team that is not going to make the playoffs and not going to get the #1 pick…and that’s not good…that is where we have been for the past 5-6 years…

  • Ryan

    As was noted earlier, Anthony is wrong…again.

    DL signed Purcell and signed (not drafted) Parse when Dave Taylor couldn’t get a deal done. furthermore, DL has built quite an impressive talent roster in FA signings with the likes of Bagnall, Piskula, Likens, Moulson, etc. Many of these guys were sought after by several teams and DL had the prowess to get deals done with all of them.

    Furthermore, despite the well-intentioned, although mostly bad, UFA moves DL deserves, at the very least, two more seasons. That’s how long it’s going to take to begin see the emmergence of the draft picks/ prospects that he has accumulated over the last 1.25 seasons.

  • kingskicka$$

    Anthony…I think you need a hug…

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever actually played hockey yourself? Honestly, I’m just curious…

    In case you didn’t notice, DL has 29 other teams to compete with to aquire players and I’d say those 29 teams have fewer holes to fill. I’m just saying…DL needs time.

    I would have to agree that Crow is not cutting the mustard…

  • AnThGrt

    Anthony – I just did not put my name (Thought I had remember personal info on). Way to answer the comment though and instead of answering it going to attack a person you have never met.

    So you post all the negatives yet can’t find one positives make me wonder those things you listed about me.

    To answer two things you posted though: Cliche was never seen for offense and is supposed to be a shutdown 3rd/4th liner, who captained his minor league team to the cup. As for Modry he has been our 2nd best defender this year, not that it means much but he has been solid. Also you wrote nothing next to half of those trades where picks were included. One of those picks already turned out to be Simmonds which looks to be a great pick. I do not think anyone can say anything about Hickey yet (definately a strange pick) but prior to waiting a few years it is tough to judge. From there the rest of his draft was quite amazing including picking up the possible steal of the draft in O. Moller.

  • Bob Bobson

    I think Dean Lombardi’s strength has always been in finding talent through the draft. No, the Sharks haven’t won a Cup yet but they are perennial favorites. Some of it has to do with their current GM, some of it has to do with our current GM. I am fine with giving him more time.

  • Maverick

    So far I think all Lombardi moves have been positive with the exception of a lot of his free agent signings, but I think it is too early to tell whether or not they are truly mistakes until the end of the season.

    GM’s should be given more grace because their performance is based on a grander scale than coaches. I believe it is time to evaluate what it is that Marc Crawford brings to the organization. So far I cannot list very many positive things to say about his coaching style or ability. He definitely needs to be on the hot seat and be given the ace very soon if the Kings can’t reverse their spiral downward in my opinion. Lombardi should be given another year or two to produce results at least, before he is on the hot seat and fired.

  • Robert

    Let’s bring back Sam McMaster…

  • Anonymous

    What did Dave Taylor do? hmmmmm, let see, oh wait….

    Kopitar
    Frolov
    Lubo
    Cammy
    Brown
    Gleason turned into Johnson
    Demitra turned into O’Sullivan

    Just the young core that will, in the next couple of years, lead this team to a Cup.

    Other notables:

    Manchester Monarchs
    Reading Royals
    European Teams
    Scouting

    He try to build this franchise from the ground up. It is not his fault TL got in the way.

    If you’re going to blame DT, let it be for the ’03 draft when they had 3 1st rounders and did nothing to improve the team. Actually, blame Lieweke. DT was a puppet.

    Blame DT for being a puppet.

    How dare some of disrespect a loyal king for over 20 years.

  • Bob Bobson

    To play devil’s advocate, if DL is fired, who would replace him ? I am curious about what everyone’s thoughts are.

  • Gord

    Oh my god the sky is falling, Fox Sports has an editorial section.

    The only option Lombardi has to keep his job safe is to package Hickey, Cammalleri and Bernier for somebody like Marian Hossa so we can make a playoff run.

    Then when we scrub out in 5 games, with Hossa posting 1 goal and a minus 6, we can sign him to a big fat extension (is 8 million ok, sir? how bout 9? let us please you…) because, hey, he’s talent NOW, he’ll give us results NOW. Lets trade the next decade for NOW. Lets see 7 playoff games or less NOW. We’re whiny children who want everything NOW NOW NOW NOW……

    Will that make everyone who hates Lombardi feel better? For God’s sake, step away from the guillotine and make no sudden movements.

  • Irish Pat

    Lombardi is doing a fine job. My perception is that he wants to build through youth and the veterans he has brought in are solutions for short and long term success. If DL didn’t sign the veterans this last off-season we would have kids, and I stress KIDS, taking there lumps in the NHL which would be a detriment to their collective development. Having guys like Calder, Handzus, Preissing and Klemm help with playing through these tough years for the young guys already on the NHL roster and frankly, I believe Lombardi knew that this team would stink which is why he signed guys like Nagy and Stuart to 1 year contracts. When the trade deadline comes we’ll be able to stockpile more draft picks for what is said to be a very deep draft. Right now the only teams I truly root for to lose are the Ducks (for obvious reasons) and the Stars because we have their 1st rounder this year from the Norstrom deal. Thank you Dean and keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the Kings contending in 3 more seasons. I hope my patience will be worth it. I’ve already suffered through the McMaster, Beverly and Taylor regimes. Bring us the Cup.

  • Brian

    Why is everyone on the fire Crow bandwagon? Surely you can’t blame all the downfalls this season on him…

    Anyways, Rich, you’re exactly right. Building within has been superb from DL but bringing in the veterans has been a ridiculous gesture by DL I think. Not a single one of his free agent signings made me say “woo hoo”. Most of them I down right gagged over. I could understand Willsie after the year he had with the caps and being so young. But names like Blake, Cloutier, Handzus, Nagy etc… They’re all “has been” players or struggling players. And to make it worse he hands out 4 mil contracts to them. HUH? I gave most of those players the benefit of the doubt but I was soon proved wrong in that they are living up to their reps basically.

    One has to wonder did DL think he was going to get something special out of any of those players or did he bring them in as mentors? Either way that leaves a sour taste in my mouth…

  • Josh

    I dont know why you guys argue with Anthony. He just makes himself look even more stupid every time he comments.

    Keep Dean, Fire Crawford !!

  • dbushik

    Keep DL and MC.

    Talk about reactionary panicy fans…if you’re calling for either of these guys to be fired, I have to think you fall into this group. You may also fall into any one of a number of other groups: those with a lack of knowledge about the history of success of this franchise (or lack there of), those with a lack of ability to view the relative progress of this team with perspective, those with little to no knowledge of the league as opposed to knowing they are fans of the Kings, etc.

    Look at the history of this team over the past 20 years and tell me how reasonable it is to expect it to be a Cup contender within a year or two? Please, explain how that is reasonable. Please explain your quick-fix proposal and how it isn’t something this team has in the past tried and failed at.

    DL has made some big errors, but it’s hard for me to buy that the fundamental direction he is taking isn’t exactly where we need to go.

    You can complain about the short term solutions not working (i.e. the veterans signed), but how much weight does that have relative to rebuilding the reserves and getting younger over the next five years?

    Blake gets hammered as a bad deal, but honestly, does it matter that eats up payroll short term? I’ll remind people that Blake was the second choice. Chara turned the team down. If Blake’s salary not being on our payroll actually meant ticket prices were lower, I could stand to listen to more beef about the guy and DL’s decision to sign him. However, it doesn’t, so what are people complaining about?

    And looking at a lot of the mistakes, are they really mistakes? Cloutier is the one that stands out to me, but even that one, you knew what the team was trying to accomplish. And to cut DL some slack, I was about as far from a Cloutier fan as you could get BEFORE we signed him. In his time with the team he completely out-did my expectations for his potential to stink on ice. And thats coming from a guy who thought he was poor to begin with. Could anyone really see that coming? The contract extension is kicker that makes it so bad, but bringing in a 30 win guy to settle the position was not a bad idea.

    Stuart and Nagy were both one year deals. So, when we take a chance on a guy who is known as risky to begin with, but also has big upside, on a one year deal and he doesnt impress you, is that a mistake? Considering where we started, is that really such a blow to the team?

    I dont want to go through each specific guy (Im already filling up way too much space here), but after the guys Ive already mentioned, most of the signings were clearly short-term plugs to fill in the roster. Having those guys bomb isnt a huge knock on DL for me. Those guys were not in the long term picture for when this team is good anyway.

    I have to call out Rich here too a little. Comparing acquisitions like Pronger, Selanne, and Neidermayer to the likes of the guys the Kings have brought in is ridiculous.

    Elias, Chara, Drury, these are the types of guys that maybe you compare to those guys (although there was word way back when that DT had looked at Selanne before signing Bure…but you can’t blame that one on DL), and who all turned down the Kings.

    And would anyone have wanted to give up Cammi, Frolov or Brown for Pronger? Lupul at the time was considered to be the same kind of blue-chip prospect these guys are/were.

    And when you talk about bringing in a guy through trade like Pronger or Beauchemin, DL gets no credit for Johnson? O’Sully? Again these guys are brought in to be good tomorrow and not today, but if we’re talking trades, let’s talk trades.

    And really, I think Burke is a fantastic GM, but you have to talk about the team Murray built before he got there when talking about his success with the Cup.

    For me, DL has done all the long term things wonderfully and has made mistakes on the short term patches. Considering how this team has been so apparently dedicated to moribundity guised as mediocrity (frankly I don’t know which was worse there…) over the past decade…you’d think fans would kind of get the idea that getting the long term things right is much more important.

    Well, you’d think that…

    I just dont understand how fans can be so agitated that the sky is falling, when clearly it crash landed well over a decade ago. I doubt anyone who has been a fan long enough to recall a top line of Gretzky, Shuchuk, and Lacroix (or how about even more recently when just a couple years later you couldnt even include Gretzky in that line-up) would be complaining about the DL era. Well? Anyone out there that recalls pretty much the entire team having Arizona license plates on their cars and who also has a beef with the way DL has run things (you know, because we pretty much were playing the Phoenix Roadrunners top roster)?

    Hey, I cant tell you how upset I am having watched teams like the Boston Bruins go from the bottom of the league, to the top, back to the bottom, and begin climbing again, all while the Kings did worse than tread water over the same stretch of years. But maybe if more fans had that kind of perspective, they might actually see the results DL has gotten here in less than two years time.

    The guy is human as when the team is in the basement, you do have to start asking questions of his ability. Okay, but the answers that questioning brings to the surface should be pretty solid endorsements of what he has done positively here if you have any sense of perspective on what the root causes of a decade of languishing in less than passable play were.

    DL is doing the big things right, and that is what this team needs. At least thats my lengthy opinion

  • Daniel

    Ha, Anthony can’t spell.

    Bob Bobson – In the article Rich referenced, the author suggested that Luc Robitaille would step in to the GM position. His whole article revolved around two points – 1) GM’s have short shelf lives and 2) former players are being groomed to be GM’s (see Hull, Snow.)

    I am suspect of the author’s knowledge, being that his number one reason for GM’s not lasting long at their posts was because Bettman “despises the GM breed.” That very well may be true but are you telling me Illich would fire Holland because the commish said so? Yeah.

    As for the Kings, I believe that they are headed in the right direction but if they continue to lose they need to get rid of ALL the guys over 34 and let the young players develop an identity together.

  • zingor

    The reason people bag on DL for poor FA signings is because the team sucked last year and no good NHLer wanted to sign with the Kings. Thus DL had to take some risks. Some of them might flop but it really doesn’t matter. This team doesn’t win without a long term strategy. The only thing I wish DL had done was pull the trigger on the Luongo deal. He is the only player worth all the talent the Kings had been acquiring.

  • The Ex-Sportswriter

    Yes, Lombardi gets the players and signs them to contracts. But it’s Crawford’s job to get them to play, to put out the effort on the ince. At least when Andy was coach, there would be hardly any “nights off” when the Kings played.

    Oh, by the way, Ivanans is right: The Ducks are the dirtiest team in the NHL, but the officials let them get away with it since they are the defending Cup champs. And Pronger is the biggest offender, and also the biggest crybaby – one day, he will be put in his place …

  • Anonymous

    The only saving grace Dean has going for him right now is the “potential” of the young players he’s added. But the idea of keeping a GM at the NHL level based on what a kid or kids in Junior is/are doing is beyond crazy. Steve Ott had a 50 goal season in the OHL.

    I love Dean’s honesty, his aggressive approach to unsigned college kids & the way he’s refilled the prospect till faster than anyone the Kings have ever had. Maybe he should be a scout & not a GM, because no Kings GM has spent this much money & added this many NHL players to the roster in a 2 offseason stretch only to have so many of them come back to kick him (and the fans) in the ass. And the most frustrating part about it is the writing was on the wall with Mccauley, Cloutier, and Handzus due to injuries, and Nagy, Willsie & Preissing with their reputation. Blake has looked solid, but $6 million for a guy who everyone knew wanted to come home to LA? As a Southbay native I can safely say someone who lives in Manhattan Beach 3 months a year shouldn’t need more than $4 million to make it full time.

    To the people who say fire Crow, what are you justifing this on?

    Crow doesn’t have a second line center, despite the fact DL spend $4 million on what has become his annual addition of a checking center coming off a major injury. In all honesty we needed a checking center, but I’m not even sure a healthy Hanzus could fill the role of shutdown center & 2nd liner.

    Crow doesn’t have a blueline built to kill penalties after losing Norstrom & Miller who were first & second in PK ice time. Now I have no problem with letting either of those guys go, especially after Miller asked for a 2 year deal. But was there a defenceman who was more wrong for the Kings roster than Preissing who’s spent his career watching the PK? Has anyone looked up his career stats as far as PK ice time go? Did anyone watch the Ducks eat him alive & whittle his ice time down to 8 minutes in the Finals? His plus/minus from last year means nothing once you realise he skated with the leagues best forward unit & never faced anything but checking lines. On a team that has Stuart, Visnovsky & Blake for the PP, Preissing is nothing more than a warm body who is getting less total ice time than Modry. I find it hard to believe Harrold couldn’t be filling that 13 minutes of even strength ice time that Preissing is at over two and a half million.

    And the kicker is Nagy. What kind of twisted GM would wish that on his coach? You gotta feel for Crawford there.

  • tullskull

    The impatience around here is really killin me…
    I hope they do fire DL so I can join Mike and take a break from this team.
    All you “just make the playoffs” armchair GM’s don’t deserve someone like DL who is willing to put up with your sophomoric rants while committing to rebuild the team the right way.
    By the way, I know it’s an inconvenient truth, but DL can only sign players who are WILLING to COME HERE to play!

  • Nick

    Excellent post dbushik.

  • Matt George

    Frankly I’m a little tired of all the excuses for things “not working out”.

    Damn right DL should be on the hot seat. Three years to rebuild doesn’t have to translate to BOTTOM of the league for two years, then POSSIBLE playoffs.

    As has always been the case in sports…when the mud slinging and trash talking starts, the person pointing to the scoreboard with a winning score wins the debate. As far as I’m concerned, Anthony has every right to be consistently negative because the Kings have been consistent LOSERS. All the rest of you can continue to go “well this didn’t pan out” or “this trade coudla been better” blah blah blah blah …

    Just look at the scoreboard. Last Place. Period.

    Having said that being on the hot seat doesn’t necessarily translate to firing in my opinion…the hot seat to me means “Ok we’re in last place guy, what are you going to do about it NOW?”

  • Matt George

    Yes that’s right!

    NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!

    Because my lower bowl season ticket package pays a good portion of one of those knuckleheads salaries.

    And by the way guys… when I say NOW … i’m NOT saying CUP NOW… i’m saying “anywhere but the bottom NOW” Like… at least SOMEWHAT COMPETITIVE NOW.. surely you “10 year plan” rebuilders wouldn’t begrudge me that!

  • drew

    Keep DL … keep MC … sell the team AEG ….

  • Matt George

    On a separate note, i really believe Al Strachan made up the “whispers” about DL to support his article.

    Maybe its just me.

    .

  • jack handy

    debushik – good take on things.

    my primary issue and or concern is with my perceived lack of effort/heart from the players on the ice right now.

    having said that i have grown even more concerned since Crow has resorted to handouts called Key Factors Late Game With Lead.”

    it seems desperate to me… like a bad, mid level retail manager trying to save his ass.

    call me naive, but i never expected something like this from a stanley cup winning coach.

    also, i’m not calling for either of their heads. what i am calling for is accountability of the players on the ice via MC or DL.

  • Paincorp

    I’ll Chime in…

    I’m not only on the bandwagon for firing Crow, I built it and am driving it! Do people here watch the interviews with the players on TV? Look deeper into how they say things. Kopitar commented once that it can be frustrating to not play consistently with the same players when asked about the constant line changes. Of course it was followed up by a ‘Professional Positive’ comment to counter any thought of negativity, but if you look beyond the ‘Press Professionalism’, you can see the frustration. Cammi has made little comments on it as well. Did you ever see Scotty Bowman switch up lines like Crow? He preached chemistry and that lines have to go through their struggles to obtain it. Crow never gives that chemistry a chance to develop. It’s known Crow can lose his temper. That’s fine. A good coach will get results when he loses his temper. Are we seeing results???

    Has anyone thought about that flyer Rich mentioned that was left lying around HealthSouth after practice that the press was NOT supposed to see?? Who had access to those papers? I believe it was coaches and players only. Remember, it was mentioned by Crow that it was not for the public to see. He played it off as not a big deal, but in reality it should prove to all of us that there is a lack of respect for the head coach in the locker room. If a coach calls a document sensitive and it gets left out in the open like that, there IS a lack of respect somewhere. Yes, it’s subtle, but if you want to make a statement and do it anonymously, that would be a good way to do it. Look deeper folks. I see plenty of subtle hints that players are frustrated and disheartened by the coaching.

    Regarding the comparison between Duck & King acquisitions, Don’t jump too hard on Rich as I (and others) have mentioned that here as far back as a month ago. I can see your point about players refusing to come to the Kings, but Burke is a witch. And when a witch has a broom of never-ending magic, (Ducks owner Mr. Samueli and his commitment to whatever it takes to build a winning product) it is a deadly combination. DL is a witch when it comes to prospects, but you can’t win a game of chess with a bunch of pawns. Sometimes you have to trade a few pawns for a Bishop or a Knight so you have enought talent to win. Right now we have too many pawns. The Ducks had plenty as well and Burke knew he could afford to move some. One thing Burke did that the Kings do not have is a single, unified mindset. From ownership to the equipment managers, everyone has the same focused goal. The Ducks did a motivational marketing campaign within their organ-eye-zation last year that had banners and sloans all over their building and training facilities, reminding the team of that focus. They also have a tough as nails coach who holds his players accountable and creates that accountability amongst his players with captains that have some control and play with grit. Burke created that in ONE YEAR, which is miraculous in itself. He deserves credit.

    The point? The Kings and Ducks before the beginning of last year’s season were considered by many to be equal in future potential. who did more with what they had? Burke got his final pieces to win a cup, Lombardi got more pawns because we did not have the talent yet to make a run. When we’re ready to make that run, I’ll bet we’ll see the same scenario we saw with Burke last year when all we will need are the final pieces. The comparison is legit though as Burke took care of all aspects of his team while DL concentrated much more on his future first and (In my opinion) not enough on building his current team’s character, which I think is continuing (IE: Crow hindering chemistry, Blake as captain, Lubo with the A, Moulson not present at the team building event, etc.) Maybe he’s too busy with the prospects to notice these issues?

    Overall, DL is doing fine and I love his honesty and candor. I think he’s good for this hockey club and things will improve under him.

    Crow, with all due respect, needs to go. Hockey knowledge doesn’t always translate to good coaching, especially when it comes to respect from your players.

  • 619KingsFan

    Although we may not be seeing immediate dividends this season, the important fact is, Dean-o is building a team EXACTLY as it should be in the “new” salary-cap era of the NHL. As Rich points out, not every prospect in the minors will turn out to be a quality NHL’er. But the best way to ensure success in the new NHL is to load up the cupboard with as many “can’t-miss” prospects as you can get your hands on.

    Can anyone argue with the success the Senators are having this year? With the exception of Heatly & Gerber, most of their team’s big contributors are products of their development system. The Senators certainly had to endure years of futility, but their virtuous patience is paying off now, and they have a club that will be the standard of success in the League for sometime to come.

    As the old saying goes, in order to make an omelete, you have to break a couple eggs. Dean has broken a couple of eggs during his short tenure with the Kings, but honestly, would the Kings really be better off this year with Nordstrom, Conroy, Avery, Lappy and Gleason in their line up this year? I would aruge the answer is “no.” But the players drafted & acquired with the trades of the players named above should make the Kings a solid team for a long time to come.

    Please objectively ask yourself this: Would you rather have a GM running your team like Darcy Regher who has built Buffalo into a young exciting team with enough in the pipeline to overcome any free-agent subtractions, or would you rather have a bafoon like John Ferguson Jr. of Toronto who makes splashy but ultimately unsuccessful “win now” acquisitions like Allison, Raycroft, Domi, and Lindros?

  • stevebaric

    Rich

    I totally agree with your posting. I dont think Lombardi will be fired this year. And I agree with you that I have been impressed with how he has accumulated young assests. Also, his drafts look pretty good (moeller and simmons are going off and we all know bernier is on his way)

    however, his Free Agent acquisitions have been BRUTAL. He has been an absolute failure. I think if the Kings dont make the playoffs this year Crawford should go and then Lombardi has one more off season

  • tullskull

    wow nice post paincorp.
    I find it kinda ironic that your description of the Duck’s efforts to help the team unify their focus reminded me of Andy Murray.

  • Red Light

    When you list all of the big blunders DL has made you are forgetting to include his biggest blunder MC! MC could not get it done in Vancouver and will not get it done here. DL has given MC all the ingredients to make something very good but we have nothing but slop. DL needs to be accountable for MC now. We should be improved from last year and not worse fro the wear. We have some veterans who are under achievers and need to be dealt with; we all know the names of those players. MC needs to show them (and us) that he is doing something about it. If not, then DL needs to do something about MC.

  • Eric K

    hmmm… it’s hard to judge going “way” back since i’m 18. i don’t even remember the stanley cup finals in ’93. so, the tradition i’ve had of the kings is one of mediocrity; a little excitement in 2001 when we pulled off an improbable comeback and then pushed colorado to game 7, but NOTHING else. i’ve watched the ducks go from doormats to– excuse the term– kings of the NHL. we’ve almost never had killer prospects, players that made the NHL say “wow,” a line that other teams had to base their whole gameplan around. we got to 2nd in the NHL midway through 05-06, and that was the high point before our inevitable collapse.

    so what do i see now? i see a team with (according to the stats) the #2 goal-scoring line in the NHL, a line with an average age of 23. i see a team that has one of the top defensive prospects and one of the top goalie prospects in the NHL. in short, i see a team with the tools to win, not this year, but within the next few years. i see a team that finds it tough to attract top-level talent but caused buzz about hockey in LA. i see a team that is actually making me feel good about the direction we’re going in.

    what does that suggest to me? lombardi is doing all right with what he’s got. yeah, we’re not getting a lot from our acquisitions this year. yeah, we’re in last place. but guess what? we have a team that we genuinely expect big things out of in the future. if there is one person out there who thinks we’ll be in last this time next year, or two years from now, please enlighten me. but if i’m given a choice between waiting a couple of years near the bottom for a great team, or treading water at 10th or 11th place constantly, guess what i’ll choose. if we’re still in the cellar two years from now, i’ll be calling for DL’s head with you guys. but i, for one, am fine with where we are.

    oh, and crawford’s driving me nuts. tonight miller and fox were talking about the trouble the kings had adjusting to not playing with cammo and fro. crow, i thought the constant shuffling might have prepared us for this, but it’s just more evidence that the refusal to keep comsistent lines is hurting us. i’m not gonna leap on the “Fire Crawford” bandwagon just yet, but i’m not willing to be so patient with him. get 60 minutes out of the guys and find some stability, or yeah, crow needs to go.

  • Josh

    I agree. Im not being inpatient. Im not looking for a cup right now now now. Im looking for anything but the bottom of the standings. The Flyers and Blackhawks seem to be doing it. Im tired of all the excuses. I understand DL is building a young strong core but why cant we show some improvement?
    With that said, Im a proud season ticket holder and Ill be there when the Kings turn this around.

  • Jon G

    “Going with the kids” only works if the kids are good players. If all you have is a bunch of Pavel Rosas and Aki Bergs, going with the kids is just an excuse for being lousy.

    We hear great things about our young guys, but based on DL’s veteran free agent signings I think it’s fair to ask whether he is a good judge of talent. The fact that San Jose falls short of expectations every year makes me wonder whether their players are overrated.

    On the positive side, DL clearly made a great trade to pick up Jack Johnson and I believe Bernier will prove to be an excellent goalie. I’ll cut him some slack on the Blake signing because that was done more for PR purposes than for hockey purposes.

  • Paincorp

    Tullskull- Thanks for the comment. You’re absolutely right about sounding like Andy Murray. The problem at that time is that he was the only one in management with that focus and attitude. If he had it from the top to the jock scrapers, we might have seen some different results.

    …and Eric K, I like your angle of perspective. Don’t worry…I have a window seat built for you on the bandwagon whenever you feel like jumpin’ on.

  • nykingfan

    As far as Anthony’s comments being ridiculous, isn’t he a lawyer? Enough said.

    I’m amazed at the impatience shown by most of you. The organization has been lousy forever and now you demand immediate results? Cmon! DL needs to be given time to cultivate a winning atmosphere. That can’t happen in 2 or 3 years.

    Has anyone taken a look at the big free agent signings this year? How’s Gomez and Drury doing in NY? Not too good. How would you like to have Gomez’s ridiculous contract on the Kings books? Free agency doesn’t really work in any sport for the most part. There are always big names moved, but rarely do they perform up to their previous levels. That’s why teams are willing to let them go for nothing. Most Gm’s in the league are not stupid. They know their own players and who is on the decline. The best way to pick up good players is through trades or draft. Teams will give up top talent if they can get younger and cheaper. That means trading draft picks for good players. DL has stockpiled draft picks to make that a good possibility.

    DL has said all along that F/A will only work if you are adding 1 or 2 pieces, not a whole boatload of you know what. Who knows, maybe there will be a team or 2 looking to add a good checking center at the deadline for the stretch drive and Handzus could be that guy. You never know.
    This team is built around Kpoitar, Cammy. Brown, Johnson…..I haven’t noticed anything wrong with those guys. They all seem to have extremely bright futures and that bodes well for the fuiture of the Kings.

  • Big Rob in Dallas

    Who can tell me when we’ve signed a successful free agent? I know it’s early in the morning but I think most have been busts for whatever reason.

    It seems the players we sign come to LA get caught up in the lifestyle and suck it up on the ice. Once they are traded and exiled to places like Edmonton, then their game picks back up!

    Seriously someone name me 3 good free agent signings from as far back as 88-89. Before that, I don’t know who you are talking about. BTW, Gretz was a trade so he doesn’t count.

  • http://www.letsgokings.com CalfDemon

    The definition of irony…

    Anthony calling other people losers.

  • kyle

    Lombardi understands building a franchise is not a short term proposition. Yes, the previous regime gave us some talent, but no team wins consistently with a couple of superstars and no quality supporting cast. Fro and Kopi and Cammi will not win a Cup by themselves. This franchise was paper-thin as far as depth was concerned—at all levels and positions. Dean’s gotten us high picks in the upcoming entry drafts, and some quality kids are already in the system. We saw them at development camp this summer. Not all of them will be top-flight pros, but at least now we have a number of kids who might be attractive to other teams for trades, and who have a shot at becoming NHL-level talent. That’s more than I could say a few years ago.
    Patience folks. If we don’t screw this up by mortgaging our future to get some short term satisfaction, we could be more than merely competitive.

  • http://www.beckman.com Bob Weinstein

    After Lombardi took Hickey with the 4th pick, I came to the conclusion that he is either a genius or an idiot. Unfortunately, most of the free agent signings would suggest the latter but I guess we just have to wait around and see. I thought the analysis by Rich was excellent.

  • dbushik

    Paincorp-

    Again, I think Burke is a fantastic GM also, but it’s ridiculous to say he built the Ducks in one year.

    Who were the key players for ANA in their Cup run? Burke had no hand in bringing Neidermayer (the one that sucks), Perry, Pahlsson, Getzlaf, Kunitz, or McDonald to that team. None. Right there Burke already had four of his top six forwards and two thirds (or more) of what becomes the best defensive line in the league.

    And it gets better…

    If you want to compare what he had to start with as opposed to what DL had, I’ll just simply ask what the biggest hole in our team has been for a number of years. Well? DL didn’t go out and get Cloutier because we had a guy who could do the job already, right? One could convincingly argue it’s the most important position on your team if you still need a hint.

    Burke walks into a situation with Giguere AND Bryzgalov in the fold. Two guys who both beat the hell out of any netminder the Kings have had in recent memory. He didn’t acquire those guys. Murray built a rather solid base for the Ducks to build up on before Burke even gets there. He took the philosophy many GMs think is important: build from the net out. That give Burke a fabulous place to start.

    I think Burke is great, but before you start assigning him super human powers, you may want to give credit where it is due to Murray.

    The Ducks turned their organization around (like you mention) well before Burke shows up. Gauthier actually did the drafting of the young guys who become key for them (and you also may or may not be familiar with another team he helped build into perrenial contenders, the Sens). Murray then brings in goaltending and builds a much more solid team. And yes, Burke does then come in and do some magic of his own.

    But thats three GMs who all did positive things to make that team what it is consecutively over the course of…get this…NINE YEARS!

    Let me repeat that: IT TOOK THREE GMs ALL DOING GOOD WORK AND NINE YEARS TIME FOR THE DUCKS TO GET WHERE THEY ARE!

    So please, I like Burke too, but he does not weigh the same as a duck (i.e. he ain’t a witch).

    Okay, so based on reality now, what is reasonable to expect of DL? DT did leave him with some nice forwards, but what else? No goaltending to be sure. With relation to the Ducks progress, that puts DL on the same footing as Murray when he took over the team in 2002.

    So, on that basis, it appears DL is open to criticism relative to Burke in…oh, say…five years or so.

  • Kingzzfan

    I believe DL and MC are playing for the draft this year hoping for the first over all pick. The draft pools are deep over the next two years and I wouldnt put it past them. This is what it takes to build from the ground up. Youth and talent.

  • Paincorp

    dbushik-

    Go read the first paragraph I wrote regarding Burke over again. The reason I call him a witch is because he took a team with all the ‘PIECES’ you mentioned that were acquired by 2 other GM’s and made them into a cohesive unit called a ‘TEAM’. THAT is what he did in one year. THAT is why he is a witch. How often do you see team cohesiveness like that built in one single year???? He’s not a witch for the pieces he brought, although some of his moves certainly did not hurt.

    Ditching the primadonna, overpaid Federov, ditching the overpriced Petr Sykora, Scott Niedermayer being signed (He still had to sign him to a REASONABLE contract to fit in the cap structure which takes talent), Getting Pronger (He gave up Ladislav Smid and Joffery Lupul, have you heard from them lately???). He takes calculated risks from hard work and research to make his team better NOW without disrupting his future.

    Only 5 players remain from the pre-Burke era: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Chris Kunitz, Andy McDonald, Rob Niedermayer, and Samuel Pahlsson. Giguere is great, when he is on his game. When he’s not, he’s a huge detriment. Kunitz was waived by Atlanta. Who friggin’ knew he’d blossom here? Maybe the ‘Atmosphere’ Burke created had something to do with that. McDonald, product of his enviroment as well. Rob had his brother and Pahlsson is just plain good.

    Everyone else you can credit to Burke in some way. He takes educated risks. He unifies his team. Ownership let him spend excess funds to get his team motivated, as I said before, with an internal marketing campaign focused on team principles.

    Maybe were simply a step behind the Ducks in regards to ‘PIECES’, but the one thing, and my point, that is the big difference is the unification that Burke has created amongst his team. HE DID THAT IN ONE YEAR.

    What if DL applied the same strategy? Maybe we wouldn’t get a Cup, but we’d have a unified team that with the pieces we currently have, could do some major damage in the playoffs.

    We have more pawns than the Ducks do. Tons of depth. What are we bringing that depth into as far as team atmosphere? Let me tell you, It’s not the same one that Perry, Getzlaf and Penner were brought into by Burke, I’ll guarantee you that.

    How long was Dave Taylor our GM? NINE YEARS you say? There were many positive things done by DT in those nine years. I would daresay MORE than what the Ducks achieved in their NINE. I mean they had 2 GMs to our one in NINE YEARS, right?

    Let me ask: IF ALL 3 GMs WERE DOING GOOD WORK, WHY DID THE FIRST 2 GET CANNED???????????

    Based on THAT reality, since DL and Burke started at the same time, and the Kings had more or even the same ‘Good Work’ done in the last NINE YEARS, what is the ‘Intangible’ Burke is bringing to the table to make the Ducks better? You can’t simply blame goaltending. LaBarbara and Garon has a few runs a season ago that the rest of the team DID NOT CAPITALIZE ON because management did not motivate properly.

    Now do you understand my point, because by your reaction, you clearly did not before. It’s not so much about the moves as it is unifying your team for the common goal with no excuses. Even Burke’s moves have been pretty solid though. I still believe my arguement is justifyable. Sorry you do not agree.

  • dbushik

    Just real quick, Getzlaf and Perry were prior to Burke, and huge parts of that team winning.

    Second, DT did do some good work, no doubt, but are you going to tell me he wasn’t pulling punches? Are you telling me he had free reign to do whatever he wanted and really do the things DL is now doing? There was a clear mandate to hold the fort until a cap was in place. To be just good enough to make the playoffs, but not any better, and he couldn’t even get that done with the way the team was run.

    DT did a solid job of making lemon-aid. Certainly he put in a lot of needed infrastructure for the team, but get serious on what he was going with regards to the on-ice product. He was making lemon-aid.

    And I’m not saying that is his fault. His bosses changed the limitations they put on his job after they brought in DL. DT was rightfully unhappy with that, and we can see it in his move to DAL at a time when all indications here were his role was going to be expanded within the Kings.

    Which bring me to why the two Ducks GMs and DT got the axe…it’s simply the nature of the position. At some point DL will get canned too. Just like in SJ, even if you do everything right, at some point your number comes up. Each guy is going to be able bring something to the table to build a team, and once one guy does what he can do, it may very well be time to bring in the next guy and pick up where the last guy left off and continue down the next phase of the journey.

    Is that not what your understanding of the history of GMs in this league has been the last 20 years? Sure is what I have seen… Same thing with coaches many times.

    Look, I think Burke is a fantastic GM, but even in this response you are still are still overstating it by leaving out key players that were not part of what he contributed. Two huge parts specifically. That isn’t any knock on Burke, like I said, he’s a wonderful GM, but to say DL should have done what Burke did (and btw it was at least two years it took him to do what he did, even if you overstate it, not one) is not reasonable.

    If for no other reason than the difference between the tandum of Bryz and Giguere compared to Lab and Garon. If for no other reason even.

    And I did address already a lot of things you talk on. Lupul was considered the same kind of blue-chipper as Fro or Cammy or Brown at the time (he still is IMHO, he just didn’t have any interest in playing in EDM (just like 95% of the other players in this league), he’s third in team scoring on PHI right now and on pace to match his career best in points), and if you didn’t know that, I wonder why I’m wasting my time… Which of those guys were you willing to give up for Pronger if you think that was such a great move by Burke? Would it have been similarly good for the Kings to make that move without a Conn Smythe winning goalie already in place?

    Look, Burke is good, but you really need to get real here. You are still totally exaggerating what he did. He did a lot of good, okay, but he can’t walk on water.

  • Brian

    It makes me sick to think that some people on here call themselves “fans”…

  • ulundy

    The KINGS are a small part of bigger real estate strategy to make more money for Anschutz. He’ll keep DL as if he was a good construction general contractor. Stay within budget being his mandate. Make some good “infrastructure” decisions, ie, draft/groom solid players. Leiweke is a powerful man in Downtown LA who has done a masterful job of keeping staples busy every night, just look across the street, ownership of the KINGS was a trojan horse to dominate the downtown real estate scene. Being known as the the owner of the KINGS has more local cache than being the landlord of Staples. If a Stanley Cup was the ultimate goal of the ownership, they would be just as innovative as they are in their real estate dealings. Winning a cup would be a nice, but not as important as ROI on their land. Rents & keeping control of downtown is the main objective of the real estate behomoth that is Anschutz. You think he got rich by knowing whether or not Cloutier would be a good goalie?

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