Question: You’re going to the GM meetings in a couple weeks, and fighting will be a topic of discussion. When it comes up, what will you say?
LOMBARDI: “I’m absolutely, positively against taking fighting out of the game.”
Question: Are you in favor of any of these reforms, or anything?
LOMBARDI: “I’m OK with the idea that the helmet stays on.”
Question: What about the idea that you need to get rid of the “staged” fights?
LOMBARDI: “What’s a staged fight? I don’t know what that means. Is that when somebody starts talking tough to one of our skill guys and our guy says, `You want to talk to me?’ and they fight? Is that staged? I think it’s answering the bell, and saying, `Quit screwing around with our guys.’ What’s staged? So (Evgeni Artyukhin) runs Doughty and we go after Artyukhin, is that staged?
“I don’t know what that means. I’m against it anyway. If you can tell me the definition of staged, which you really can’t…but if you could, chances are I’m not against that either. You’re asking me about staged, and I don’t know what that means. When a guy runs our best player and the tough guy comes over to him, is that what you’re talking about?”
Question: Here’s another ambiguous one: the idea that the league needs to filter out guys who are just enforcers.
LOMBARDI: “Oh really? Did you see that building (Staples Center) on Saturday? What in the world are you talking about? That was a hard game, that had everything imaginable, from hitting, to the right type of fights. Obviously we came out on the wrong end, but if you’re a fan, that had everything. That’s hockey.
“And you know what? That isn’t Europe. If anyone wants to go watch some of those European games, you aren’t going to get close to the juice that was in that building Saturday, in that type of game. It was physical, it was tough, it was a man’s game. And that’s hockey. Anyone who wants to try to change this game should go to Europe for three weeks and watch those games. They’re struggling over there, because it’s like watching paint dry. There’s no question about it. They’re 2-1 games, nobody touches anybody, there’s no passion and all you get is a little razzle-dazzle skill every once in a while.
“I don’t know, for the life of me, why we want to emulate that. It’s beyond me. In that game (Saturday), you had people off their feet when, if it’s not a goal, it’s something physical. I got off track…what was the second part of that question?”
Question: About getting the `one-dimensional’ players out of the game.
LOMBARDI: “What’s a one-dimensional player? Ivan (Raitis Ivanans) can play a little. (Derek) Boogaard can play a little. (Zach) Stortini runs around and he’s physical. I don’t consider him to be just an idiot. So who is it? Donald Brashear is a pretty good player. So who’s the one-dimensional player? Just like you can’t define a staged fight, you can’t name a one-dimensional player. Who is one? (Andre) Roy from Calgary, maybe. They dressed him the other night. He’s a battleship. He played, what, two minutes? They cruise him around the pond and that’s it. They put him on the bench and he’s done. So, OK, there’s one, but I’d like to know how many of those guys there really are.”
Question: Battleship…I like that.
LOMBARDI: “That’s kind of what he looked like. They cruise him around, just to say, `OK, in case you guys start something, we’ve got him.’ `Now go sit down.”’