Mark Hardy interview

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I caught up with new Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy for a phone interview. Hardy had been in line to be coach of the AHL team in Rockford, Ill., but chose to join Terry Murray’s staff with the Kings. Hardy spent parts of 11 seasons as a Kings defenseman and spent six seasons as a Kings assistant under Andy Murray. Here’s the interview…

———-

Question: Can you talk about how this came together?

Hardy: “Well, I know Dean (Lombardi) got in contact with the Blackhawks and asked for permission to talk to me. The Blackhawks and (GM) Dale Tallon were classy enough to let me know that they called and I returned Dean’s call and we worked everything out. I keep pinching myself. I can’t believe I’m coming back, but I think it’s fantastic and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”

—–

Question: Any mixed emotions about leaving Chicago, when it seemed that things started to be headed in the right direction there?

Hardy: “Oh yeah, it was tough to leave here. Actually, I was going to be the head coach in Rockford (in the AHL) and work with their young players down there, but when I found out about the Kings, I jumped at the opportunity. I just couldn’t wait to get back. But yeah, there’s a little bit of that, knowing the direction that the Blackhawks have come in the last two years. There are some really good young players here and I really enjoyed it here, but to come back to the Kings… I always felt like I was a King and I know it’s going to be a tough road but I’m looking forward to working with the young players there.”

—–

Question: Is there a sense of wanting to get another shot at this with the Kings, after things didn’t turn out well with Andy Murray’s firing?

Hardy: “Well, absolutely. I sat down and I talked with Dean and with Ron Hextall and then I met Terry Murray. They’re all on the same page and they want to get this thing going. It’s part of a big thing. We’re going to be able to turn that thing around. I think they’ve done some very good things, in terms of drafting young players, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

—–

Question: Did you know Terry at all? Had you worked with him before?

Hardy: “I did not. We just sat down and kind of hit it off. It seems like we’re on the same page. I’m going to be coming back there to work with Nelly (Nelson Emerson). Jamie Kompon seems like a very hard-working guy and a really good guy. I know those two guys and we’re going to have a really nice coaching staff, along with Dean and Ron Hextall. I know how bad they want to win and get this thing turned around. It’s just a real good opportunity.”

—–

Question: I know we’re real early into this, but have there been any discussions about what your particular duties might be?

Hardy: “Not exactly, no. I’m sure we’re all going to sit down. Terry said that we will meet well before training camp starts and define all the roles and get together as a coaching staff and figure things out.”

—–

Question: Looking from afar for the last couple years, what have you seen from the Kings? Did you keep an eye on the team and watch the development at all?

Hardy: “Yeah, pretty much. It was tough to stay awake some nights, but I watched as many games as I could. It’s always fun to watch your old team play and see how they’re doing. I know it’s been tough, but I can definitely see that they have some good young talent there, and things are only going to get better. I watched Brownie (Dustin Brown) turn into a big leader on that team. Kopitar is obviously a big force. Jack Johnson is coming into his own. Frolov had a pretty good year. O’Sullivan had a good year. They made some nice additions, I think, with Matt Greene and Stoll coming in. I think it could be good there.”

—–

Question: There are a lot of young defensemen in the pipeline who will have to contribute soon. Are those the guys you think you can help particularly, having been through it yourself?

Hardy: “Well, I’m hoping so. I had the same situation here with some young defensemen who I was able to work with. Duncan Keith and Seabrook, Cam Barker and Wisniewski. They were young defensemen as well and I had a good relationship with them. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to those guys because we had a really good relationship and things went well with them, but I know that I’m going to the same type of thing that I started with here two years ago. Hopefully, I can help with them, because I know that the Kings have some very talented young defensemen on the way.”

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  • txkingsfan

    for those who don’t know Hardy, have never watched him play or have never seen him coach, the Kings are lucky to have him. Not only was/is he one of the hardest working and best conditioned (he physically looks 25)guys in the business, but he is a natural “teacher” combining both on-ice experience with the ability to relate with the young players – as evidenced by his success with Chicago. I had the pleasure of working with him back in the 93 cup run and he is also one of the nicest, classiest guys you could meet. I like this addition a great deal and look forward to seeing what he can do with these young guys.

  • deano

    Good hire all around. I’m still waiting for the addition of one more D man. Hopefully it’s Barker.

  • Buck

    I like Harpo and I’m glad he’s back. Also, as a fan, this is what I like to hear “I always felt like I was a King…”

  • Anon

    Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that Dean hired Hardy instead of Murray? Dean calls the Blackhawks and gets that going, then Hardy has talks w/ Dean and Hextall first before meeting w/ Murray. Hope this go-around goes better.

  • anthony

    being head coach of an ahl club is a stepping stone to being an nhl head coach. it’s a great opportunity to run your own club. i guess harpo really wanted to move back to the west coast.

  • cristobal

    was it mike keane whom Hardy absolutely blasted through the glass in the 93 cup finals. one of the greates kings checks of all times. dave taylor had one of the others when coming out of the penalty box to completely floor a vancouver(?) player with his head down.

    txkingsfan – could you elaborate on your working with hardy?

    Great hire and good move by Lombardi/Murray. Hardy is an asset.

  • Anonymous

    Harpo is a lifelong King, and made it clear he never wanted to leave in the first place. This is Dean not only making good on a mistake he made 2 years ago (along with a few others), but bringing in a MUCH better defensive coach to coach the incoming young defensive core. Hardy’s influence on Chicago’s young defensemen was/is obvious in their play the last couple of seasons, and one would think he will be concentrating on defense here in LA under Murray.

    We do have a decent coaching staff in place currently.

    I didn’t comment in any of the other posts, but I’m also very happy to see Dave Lewis go, another former King. He’s a good man, who knows this game, but I have never been high on his ability to coach young talent.

  • txkingsfan

    cristobal … we were both employed by the Kings during the 93 season. While my hockey days now consist of pick-up games and coaching young kids, I look back at those days as some of the best of my life.

  • Quisp

    Off topic, and I’m probably late to the party on this, but this guy who video blogs about the NHL and the Leafs is frequently hilarious. Also it’s a nice bit of perspective (for instance, leafs fans crying Armageddon over giving up a third round pick for Jamal Mayers…).

    http://ca.youtube.com/user/SteveDangle

    The prospect of Mats Sundin indecisive at the drive-through is a highlight.

    It is 67 days, 5 hours, 12 minutes and 6 seconds until Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 7:00:00 PM (Los Angeles time)

  • JonG

    I never really cared much for Harpo as a player, but after reading this interview I just love his attitude. Anyone can toss out a few platitudes when joining a new team, but it’s obvious Mark is speaking from the heart.

    “I’ve always felt I was a King.” Welcome back Harpo!!

  • JDM

    I’m thrilled over this hire. I don’t care whether Dean or Terry made it, it’s a great addition. Coaching has been a thorn in my side since Andy’s last season or two, but now I really feel we have assembled a respectable staff that also appears to be the right fit.

    To note anonymous, I don’t think Dean fired Hardy, he and Andy were let go prior to DL’s hire I believe. ??

    Love the quotes, awesome interview Rich!

    I’m getting pumped… that count down of yours Quisp is going to drive me insane the next 67 days!

  • cristobal

    txkingsfan – what did you do for the Kings?

  • cristobal

    i wouldn’t mind seeing Marty McSorley brought back into the organization, perhaps in Manchester. Let’s these guys that care about the team back on board. Taylor too.

  • ChrisH

    Hey I could be wrong but wasn’t Hardy in charge of our penalty killing under Andy Murray that was one of the league’s worst?? Hope I’m wrong. Rich – how’s your memory?

  • CBGB

    One thing mark Hardy and Dustin Brown have in common ? They both don’t like Sean Avery – Can’t wait until Avery does something dumb and Brown knocks his block off.

  • Pat McGroyn

    CBGB,

    Harpo and Brownie aren’t the only Avery-haters currently with the Kings. Denis Gauthier & Jarret Stoll quickly come to mind, too. It was Gauthier to whom Avery was referring when he spoke about “French players skating around with a visor, not backing anything up.” And Jarret is now a cougar-victim of Avery’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel Hunter.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=137855

    http://www.whosdatedwho.com/celebrities/people/dating/rachel-hunter.htm

  • http://rolliepop dumbthony

    I for one am glad Harpo is back. I worked for the Kings as the assistant equipment manager from 85 to 88 and Harpo was an absolute class act.For example, In the summer of 86 I bumped into him at the Culver Ice Rink and he just handed me a $100 bill saying he forgot to tip me for the previous season. He was always fun to hang out with and always had my back. I do have to admit that I never thought of Harpo as coaching material back than, but knowing him like I did, it doesn’t surprise me now.
    Welcome home Harpo!

  • H to the Hizzang

    Lets bring back Wayne while we are at it!

  • 24diving

    Yay! It is great to have him come back. He should never have been let go, but since te defense would have succked no mater who the coach was, it it is ggod that the success he had in Chicago proves his abilities.

    [quote]ChrisH said:
    Hey I could be wrong but wasn’t Hardy in charge of our penalty killing under Andy Murray that was one of the league’s worst?? Hope I’m wrong. Rich – how’s your memory?[/quote]

    Yes, that is true but so is the year when the Kings were third in penalty killing under his coaching. It all comes down to the players and the chemistry of the team.

    [quote]JDM said:
    … To note anonymous, I don’t think Dean fired Hardy, he and Andy were let go prior to DL’s hire I believe. ??[/quote]

    Murray and VanBoxmeer were fired by Taylor. Hardy and Bennett were replaced by Crawford’s coaching staff.

  • Anonymous

    Rachel Hunter sure has made the rounds, hasn’t she? Wonder who her next boytoy will be?

  • http://hbshakes.blogspot.com Shakes

    dude i’m excited. i like people who like being Kings (and are winners).

    And i think it was Cristobal…who I swear may be Anthony’s alter ego…who referred to this check below:

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mark+hardy+93&search_type=&aq=f

    What I hate about the ’93 finals is that everyone thinks that the Kings folded after losing Game 2…when in reality they fought hard through three OT games that happened to go against them. Hardy’s check in Game 3 awoke a team down 3-0 to come back and tie the game….

  • Duckhunter

    Was that hit in game 3? I went to that game, but must have missed it, because I don’t remember that hit. Good grief that was monstrous. How did I miss that?

  • yaknow88

    I think Hardy is a solid hire. Glad he is back to help develop the young guys. Plus the Cloutier news was the best in months. Also NHL network showed highlights of the ’89 playoff win over edmonton. I am slightly positive again about the Kings!

  • cristobal

    here’s a tough story, non-kings related if anyones feeling charitable:

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/17435-The-Straight-Edge-Pulling-together-for-Baird.html

  • triplcrown

    It looks like wer’re putting together as much
    a TEACHING Staff as Coaching staff.

    This could mean a lot for our young guys,
    somewhere down the line.

    And it’s not just the Art & Science of
    NHL Hockey these guys need to be indoctrinated with.

    A guy like Hardy will be likely to
    coax out of the players
    more aggressiveness/team-toughness than we’ve seen in
    recent years–Creating a team of guys who STAND UP
    FOR EACH OTHER;A Team that PAYS BACK physical “excesses” taken by other teams against
    ITS players. That fits with new head coach TM’s style,
    as far as I know.

    And in ’09-10, when Simmonds & Teubert get here…!

    In any case, I think, with the talent-base we have,
    we will see more success in ’08-09
    (or at least less failure), than we’ve seen
    the past several years.

    This is our turnaround year.

  • santiclaws

    “dave taylor had one of the others when coming out of the penalty box to completely floor a vancouver(?) player with his head down.”

    It was a Winnipeg Jets player. I was at that game, and you could hear that hit all the way in the nosebleeds where I was sitting.

  • cristobal

    santiclaws – i can still picture it. i thought maybe i’d be able to find it on youtube, but couldn’t. incredible hit, though. Glad to see someone else remembers it. Taylor was great as a king.

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