Here’s the first set of answers from this morning’s questions…
Question: Did you ever get the impression from Crawford that he was pushing for more veteran help? And by the organization possibly going even younger, do you have any perspective on whether or not Lombardi would be willing to trade Visnovsky or even Frolov for youth?
No, I never got the impression that Crawford pushed for anything in particular. He communicated with Dean on the direction of the team but I think it would be inaccurate to say that Crawford pushed, or lobbied, for any moves in terms of player personnel. In terms of going forward, I think anything is on the table at this point. Things could be very interesting over the next week or so.
Question: Did you see this coming?
No, I really didn’t. I really thought that once Crawford survived January, he would be around at the start of next season. I figured that he would be fired if the Kings got off to a rocky start next season, but never did I imagine he would be fired two months after the season. Lombardi also gave no indication that it was coming, and he was asked on a semi-regular basis. To hear him explain it, it’s a decision he reached only in the last week or so.
Question: DO YOU THINK MARK MORRIS MIGHT BE VIABLE OPTION,CONSIDERING THE RELATIONSHIP THAT HE HAS WITH THE YOUNG PLAYERS
I don’t see why not. Lombardi and his staff have been very complimentary in regard to what’s happening in Manchester, and I would have to think that reflects well on Mark Morris. Lombardi has said the ability to relate to young players is important to him, so it seems natural to at least give Morris a look, doesn’t it>
Question: Do you think it is a mistake to say NHL experience is not a necessity for the next coach or that DL is ok not having a coach by development camp ?
I tend to agree with Lombardi that it’s better to have a good personality fit than a coach with a great resume. All great NHL coaches have to start somewhere, right? But if you’re hiring a guy who isn’t something of a known quantity, you’d better feel really strongly that he’s the right fit because there is some risk involved. I tend to disagree with Lombardi that it’s not crucial to have a coach in place for the development camp. That’s a perfect time for the new coach to get familiar with players in the system and to sit down and get to know them as people. I think it will end up being a moot point, as I’ll be pretty surprised if this coaching search lasts more than a month.
Question: I know the Kings aren’t opening up the coaching position too far yet, but has Craig Hartsburg’s name come up in any conversations? As I’m sure everyone knows, he coached Team Canada at the WJC with some of our prospects… they obviously want to go younger with the squad and Hartsburg has experience with developing young teams in high pressure situations.
There is no real “list” of candidates at this point, but I did mention Hartsburg’s name in my story today because I think he fits the loose description of what Lombardi said he’s looking for. I think you’re on the right track, in terms of looking at coaches who have experience working with prospects.
Question: My original question was based on your meetings with Dean and the scouts and if you felt there has been a trade already in place for a while now. I know Dean has mentioned that at the deadline that they had something close but it fell apart. Do you think that trade still on the table or a variation of it that he is just holding off until the playoffs werec ompleted, all the buyouts took place, etc.? Now with Crawford’s firing, it seems like Dean is going young. How do you feel that impacts potential trades down the line? With a new coach coming in, do you feel Dean has to do something drastic defensively with trades and/or free agency in order to give the new coach a chance to succeed? It seems it’s a lot easier to win when you have a strong defense and goaltending than without one.
Well, the last part of your paragraph there is absolutely correct. And those are the final, big pieces of the puzzle that Lombardi is trying to put together. But I don’t think you’ll see anything “drastic” in terms of making the team a winner now, for the new coach. If that’s what you’re waiting for, don’t hold your breath. Remember, Lombardi flat-out said that the team is getting younger. So if you think he’s going to trade two prospects for an All-Star defenseman, or spend $7 million on a free agent…well, he’s not. As for the first part, I don’t think anything pre-trade deadline is still on the table. They’ve moved on to other names and other potential deals.
Question: The real question is whether Tortorella would want the job. Rich, what do you think?
My answer would be this: read Lombardi’s answer from the conference call last night about the Kings competing for a coach with other teams. Lombardi wants a guy who is excited about the challenge of building the Kings into a winner. Would Tortorella have that passion, or would he want to go to a team like Ottawa that is more ready-made for winning now? In his first three seasons, Tampa Bay went from 27 wins to 36 wins to 46 wins. Would he be fired up about trying to do that with the Kings? That’s the biggest question.
Question: 1.) Is there any turth to the rumors that the Kings are interested in Filatov or is it just posturing? 2.) Is Lombardi on the hot seat? 3.) Any word on where they are at with Sully’s deal? 4.) Whos is this target under 30 defenseman?
1. I can’t imagine any scenario in which the Kings would end up with Filatov. Nothing’s impossible, but I’d be stunned. 2) No. Ownership just made a big commitment to Lombardi’s “win by building” strategy. There’s nothing to say they couldn’t have a change of heart in 12 months, but not now. 3) They’re still working on it. There doesn’t seem to be panic on either end. 4) There’s not just one target. It’s a general statement and there’s a few potential targets.
Question: For example, why hire Crawford and then trade Demitra and NOT trade for Luongo? Crawford would have been great for THAT team, which would have lasted one season. But Lombardi hired Crawford and then went semi-younger. Now he is going ‘full-blown’ younger. There is adaptation and there is waffling. Which one is Lombardi best at?
To be honest, the hiring of Crawford makes less and less sense as time goes on. But that’s why I have a hard time criticizing Crawford in all this. He is what he is, what he’s always been. Lombardi knew what he was getting when he hired Crawford. Lombardi knew, when he took this job, that he would be doing a massive rebuilding job and that ultimately he would be putting a young team on the ice. And I don’t think anyone really considers Crawford to be the type of nurturing coach that young players would necessarily thrive under. It’s hindsight to say this now, but I really believe that they would have been better served hiring a different style of coach two years ago.
Question: Between 0-100 (0% No chance / 100% No way they’ll trade him), what percentage do you feel we’ll see Cammalleri at the start of camp in El Segundo? Do you think Uncle Phil’s new tax woes will affect the Kings in any way? Were you surprised to read this comment by Helene Elliott? “Leiweke declined to comment, letting Lombardi be the Kings’ voice.”? Inevitably, what was the biggest thing you attribute to Crow’s not coaching the team anymore? Do you think the Kings will ultimately hire a recently fired coach, a coach with little or no NHL experience or In-house?
1) Right now, I’d say 40 percent. 2) No, not really. The fact that the Kings themselves are losing money, as an organization, is of more concern. Phil’s tax woes are unlikely to trickle down to the Kings. 3) Yes, I’m always surprised when Tim Leiweke doesn’t blab something to the Times. 4) That’s a tough question. Crawford has always been a fiery coach who doesn’t hesitate to yell, and in short, Lombardi decided he wanted a different type of locker-room presence to deal with the young players. 5) Ultimately I think it will be option two, a coach with little or no NHL experience, but not an in-house hire. That’s just my gut feeling, as Lombardi would say.