Lombardi answers, “Why now?”

OK, finally I can get to the full quotes from tonight. Here’s the first part, with Dean Lombardi answering the question of why he fired Marc Crawford today, more than two months after the season ended…

“It’s hard to explain. I guess the timing is a little odd. I had some concerns in terms of the team’s performance. Although I didn’t think we were world-beaters, I also didn’t think we should have been out of it in January. I think it’s fair to assume we probably should have been in it. We probably weren’t good enough to get in but I thought we were off the map way too early. The other thing that’s hard to judge is, yeah, we were better down the stretch but, as I’ve always said, in those games nobody respects you and nobody is `up’ for you. I don’t know what they mean once you’re out of it early.

“But that’s all in the past. What I was doing going forward was a number of things. I think we were getting a handle on what was in the draft, what possibly was in play for us (trade-wise). We’ve gotten a handle, since the season ended, in terms of Manchester did go out in the first round of the playoffs, we had a chance to see those kids a little further along. We had exit meetings with some of them, where we got a feel for where they are in terms of coming into our lineup, and I think we feel pretty good about that. Then you come into managing the payroll. I think we see some changes in there that are happening that — I don’t want to say `force us’ — but in order to continue this plan and make sure we keep these players, I think we had to make some adjustments in our projections.

“So this issues are, OK, I have some concerns about the past, and then there was, OK, what are we doing going forward. At the end of it all, you go to ownership and say, `OK, this is your new periodic.’ They know the plan, and what I want. It’s not unusual for ownership, in any organization, to say, `You know what, you have to adjust the plan because we don’t want to take the heat,’ or `We want to make the playoffs,’ or whatever. But really, the message I got was, `Stay with this and actually, even go younger. Don’t get off it.’ It was more toward the plan. So now, this is the team we’re looking to have and it’s clear to me that that’s what they (ownership) want. Now, do we have the right fit? You can do all your analytics but when it comes down to it, you go with your gut and you say, `You know, with the way we’re going to have to do this, I don’t think (Crawford) is the best fit.’ There you go. That’s two months in a nutshell.”

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  • Moondoggie

    Most interesting…I doubt too many will miss Crow, just too much indecision and shuffling of lines last year. I’m all for the youth movement, the question now is who will coach them? Dave Lewis? Johnston? Quinnville? Is Andy Murray available??? Interesting developement……

  • Anonymous

    If there was ANY inkling in DL’s mind that Crawford wasn’t the right fit for this team and his “periodic”, then Crawford’s status should have been reviewed immediately after the season ended.

  • Daniel

    Well, I do believe his comments just tore a huge hole in the notion that the President of Hockey Operations and the President of Business Operations are totally autonomous from AEG. Sounds like he just said ‘we can’t trade for 100% solutions so if we are going to struggle it will be with young, inexpensive players. Our salary this year will be as close to the cap floor as possible.’

    I want to complain and say why didn’t you do this 2 years ago. I guess they didn’t have as many NHL-ready prospects back then and the only assets they had to trade were Demitra and Avery. Couple tha with the fat Cloutier was a bust and you have where we are. They could have done worse and taken the Toronto route. Mending bridges with band-aids.

    So, ultimately they had to build slower than they should have.

    My question is – What does ownership allow to come first? The playoffs or making money? To make money they will have to get to the playoffs and last longer than 7 games. To get to the playoffs they will need a majority of the (currently) young talent to stay on the team. As we all know, over the next two years these guys will be making a lot more than they are now (plus any quality UFA’s out there.) So, what is it?

  • PSP

    (For the record, I made the anonymous comment above – forgot to sign in)

    Where is Bruce Boudreau when you really need him?

  • andre norway

    What I can read and understand out of DL is that AEG has given him full control of how we do things. They want him to go with the youth (yes I know that means less money spend on salaries) and they want to give him time to build a contender for years to come. The reason Brownie sign with the kings is that he has a kings logo tattoed on his butt and he wants to be a king. For Brownie is was not about the money as it was for a special no.13. Brownie knows he will get rewarded for this down the line. I think we will se a young team this season but not to young. He will bring in an veteran d man together with hickey and Doughty and he will resign Blake. Up front Boyle, Purcell and Moulson/Murray will get playing minutes. Toukonen is done with the team, the same is Petiot.

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