Lombardi was asked a question about his labeling of certain players as “bridge” players and, essentially, whether he risked marginalizing those players by indicating that they weren’t really a part of the team’s future. Lombardi spent the first part of his answer trying to identify whether any of the current Kings fit that description, then tried to clarify what he means when he talks about “bridge” players…
LOMBARDI: I’m not sure we have any of that right now, to be honest with you. Stollie is still only 26. Greene is still young. Denis Gauthier is trying to resurrect his career. He’s got one year left on his deal and he’s still young enough to become a part of this. Jason (LaBarbera)… It’s a great question, but this probably goes back to one of the things we were talking about last month. That doesn’t mean that those veterans cannot continue to be a part of it. If you have a guy, like say even a Bryan Marchment in San Jose, when he was probably getting to the end, as long as those guys are able to recognize that they might not be able to get much money, they can still be a huge asset.
The biggest thing to answering your question is that they have to accept a lesser role. I think this is what Murph is talking about. If you have that veteran who maybe accepts a lesser role, supports the new leadership but doesn’t provide the ceiling, you can still certainly be part of this. To answer your question, when it’s dominated… That’s what happens when you have to bring in those six guys like last year…it took over the identity of the room. Maybe I was a little strong on that. Maybe the better thing is, if that type of player dominates your room, you’ve got a problem. That doesn’t mean you can’t have those type of players. They can fit in.
The player that’s a good example of that is probably Trevor Linden. When Trevor Linden was a top player and everything else, he goes back to Vancouver and still had a leadership role but he had no problem going back down to the third or fourth line, in support of the Sedins. He would probably be considered a filler or a bridge when he came back to Vancouver, but he became a valuable guy because he accepted that role and pushed those guys along, then he handed off to them. He’s not sitting there on power-play time and worried about his contract and everything else. It’s a fair question, and the answer is that I think I was talking more about is, if your room is dominated by it, you’ve probably got an issue.