Lombardi: the season wrap-up

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Here you go…this Dean Lombardi interview covers so much ground and I can’t really begin to sum it up. Hopefully you have a lot of time and a comfortable chair. Lombardi addresses the need for a left winger, how the Kings can improve, why making the playoffs next season isn’t a drop-dead necessity, the criticism he got for the O’Sullivan trade and much more. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the read…

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Question: I talked to Brown and Kopitar and asked them, `If Dean asked you how to improve the team next season, what would you say?’ They both said, `Scoring left winger’ without much hesitation. Obvious?

LOMBARDI: “I’d say another thing is obvious too.”

Question: What’s that?

LOMBARDI: “All of these young players have to get better. No doubt about it. Actually, that part is even more important, because if they don’t make the commitment this summer, it doesn’t matter. When you put a bunch of young players together, learning to be pros and learning to make the commitment to be the best they can be, learning to be teammates, is as critical as their physical condition, their play on the ice. That starts immediately after (today’s) game.

“So regardless of what’s not in the lineup, what is in the lineup, if it doesn’t continue to move toward maximizing its potential, it’s not going to matter whether we bring back Gordie Howe. We’ll still be spinning our wheels. So the most important thing is to take care of what you’ve got. If we don’t nurture these guys we have, we’ll just be spinning our wheels. That, to me, is more important than making an addition.

“So, unfortunately, the answer you got from two of my best young players was not what I’m looking for. The critique should be, `I’ve got to get better. And if I get better and Doughty gets better and Brown gets better and Purcell gets better and Drewiske gets better and Quincey gets better, and if we all do our job, and if Dean can get us a left wing, that would be really good.’ That’s the answer.”

Question: One big question that the fans have…

LOMBARDI: “Is he going to get a left winger?”

Question: Well, yes, but there’s a `Part B’ to that. That is, is Dean finds that winger he wants, will he have the ability to spend what it takes to get that player?

LOMBARDI: “I’ll get to that, but there’s a first part. The more important part is, the player has to fit. This team has the capability of improving without one addition. That’s still most important. Secondly, we have to be very careful about just getting a player who has a profile but isn’t the right fit, in terms of the way he plays and his character. If that player is there, and I feel strongly about it, I will go to ownership and I would expect that they will support it, as long as it doesn’t mean going over the cap or spending a ridiculous amount.

“It will fit with the long-term plan, because there’s no doubt that ownership is committed to this plan. They’re going to want to know two things: does he fit, and if he does fit, does he fit financially, to ensure that we’re able to keep the young core we have? If that’s there, I would expect ownership to support that. But I am not going to ownership just to get a big name, because it’s just going to be the same old thing. It will get us to a certain point and then it’s going to peter out again.

“But that’s what I mean about progress. If you had asked me last year, `What do you need?’ you would have gotten 10 different answers from me. `We need a goalie, we need a scorer, we need this and this.’ Now, you can at least start seeing it. So let’s not panic here and just go get any left wing. So that’s the procedure here with ownership. Ever since I’ve been here, that’s the premise that I’ve operated under, and they’ve given me no indication that they won’t support that. Like I said, I am not just going out there to get a big name that looks sexy. He better fit as a player and he better fit with his character.”

Question: What you, agree though, that this rebuilding has kind of reached a fulcrum?

LOMBARDI: “You know what’s weird about it though? It has come too fast. This is what I find strange about this, and this is why I struggle. These last games, even though we’re out of the playoffs, we’re constantly evaluating. There are some things you can look at, to tell you where you’re going, and in the last two months we’ve been looking at everything to see why we were falling. It’s one thing to say, `We’re not scoring,’ but you have to look at why we’re not scoring. What area of the rink? What’s the proper chemistry? But like I said, it’s kind of strange. I did this once before (in San Jose), and I’m struggling with why this is quicker, but also clearly finding the answer.

“It’s about building the reserve list and building the team, and we’re moving along faster now, so that we can focus more on the team. Now we have a team on the rise and we have a pretty strong reserve list right now. In San Jose, we improved for six years in a row, and what was underestimated about that is that we got a little younger each year. So then it really comes together when you have a decent team, and by doing it that way you had a culture established. This team dropped dramatically (in age).

“Last year’s team was not a young team. Your highest-profile guys were young, but we were like 25th in age. This year it went completely the other way. So that’s why, when you say that we’re at a fulcrum, we’re really young, so I don’t know if it’s fair to say, `Well, you’ve got to do it now.’ When things came gradually (in San Jose), I never had that question. It was, `Add a piece, add a piece.’ But this is way younger.

“You can look at it and say, `Well, they only improved eight points.’ Whoa. That’s a big difference, when you’re 25th in the league (in age) compared to one of the youngest in the league. That means your team has upside and, hopefully, is headed in the right direction. So I don’t agree with that. These (young) guys aren’t going anywhere if we run our payroll right. Kopitar and these guys. Look at all these kids who shouldn’t be going anywhere. So to say, `You have to do it now, at all costs,’ I’m not so sure. Why? It’s not like my window (for winning) is right now, or I’m going to lose Doughty and lose Brown and lose Quincey and lose Quick. My whole plan is to keep those guys here, and keep my window open, so I can strike at the right time for the right piece.

“So I’m going to say, `The window is now,’ or `The fulcrum is now,’ now what are you doing? Well, number one, I don’t agree that my window is only right now. It’s still our priority to keep our own guys. Two, how do I know the right player is there? Well, if you say my fulcrum is now, that means I have to get the seventh guy on my list, even though he doesn’t fit, he doesn’t have the right character…but the fulcrum is now so let’s take a swing at it. No. I don’t see that. (The Kings) have had that before. That’s when you got (Jason) Allison. That’s when you got (Ziggy) Palffy. That’s when you got (Jeremy) Roenick.”

Question: So let’s say we’re sitting here a year from now. You didn’t find that `piece’ you were looking for and the Kings have finished, let’s say, 10th in the West. What would that mean to you?

LOMBARDI: “I would look at it as, `Did we get better?’ and `Are we positioned to get better?”’

Question: So you don’t think this team absolutely has to make the playoffs next year?

LOMBARDI: “What is it, `You have to make the playoffs next year to save your job’? Well, if that’s the way you’re going to operate, how many teams have lost their way, and lost their plan? That’s not the right way to view it. You do what’s right for the team. If you want to win a Cup, you get the right guy. We have come too far, in a very short time, to have it drop off. This team, the most important thing it can focus on (this summer) is, `If we don’t add one player, how are we going to get better?’

“You’ve got kids here, like Kopitar and Doughty, who aren’t even close to being trained athletes. Kopitar hasn’t been in shape, as an elite athlete. Not even close. Doughty? No way. Do you know how much upside is in them, if they apply themselves this summer? Then you’re going to bring back the group, and your room hasn’t changed a lot. They have a little chemistry and they know each other. I sense there are a lot of guys who like each other. They know they have a chance to stay together if they do the job. There’s no `mercenary’ element down there. So that’s going to get better by definition, if we all do our jobs down there: coaches, trainers, development people and players. If they get better, that should allow us to get better, period.

“We don’t want to make the panic move, but we have to get better. You have to answer to your fans. Keep showing them that you’re on the right track and that you’re only getting better, and that you’re not going to get loose because you overpaid somebody and you’re going to lose a guy two years from now. Now, again, if the right guy is there, boom. The market doesn’t always act accordingly. You can’t just manufacture a deal on a whim. If you start trying to manufacture, it usually means you’re going to get (taken advantage of), because you’re forcing it.

“You see teams where they say, `They’ve got to make the playoffs,’ and then you see those deals go down. Five pieces go out, and they make themselves a little better, create some buzz and maybe even get the eighth spot (in the playoffs). Then where do you go from there? You’ve got no chance to win the Cup. If our eyes are on the Cup — and that was my order, to build a contender, and not just make the playoffs — then you can’t look at things and say, `You have to do this.’ Quite frankly, that’s the way we’re going to operate. You can’t get in `survival mode.’ You have to do the right thing.”

Question: So let’s say you get the development you want from Kopitar, Doughty, Quick and those guys. What’s the next step?

LOMBARDI: “Then the most telling thing is that we don’t score enough 5-on-5. We’re the lowest in the league, scoring 5-on-5. Of all the statistics that we have to improve in, in order to get to an elite level, that’s where we’re the furthest from becoming a top team. Our special teams are certainly good. Our goals-against, for most of the year, was pretty darn good. It’s been starting to drop off, but it’s been pretty consistent. That was the main goal for this year, that we had to become harder to play against and get the goals-against down. So that’s where we need to improve. And you can take it down further, in terms of size, and loose-puck battles, and rebound chances and all those things, but the bottom line is, we don’t score 5-on-5.

“Now, that comes from the forwards, but don’t forget, when you have inexperience on the back, that’s part of it. It’s those guys on the back delivering pucks on the tape. That’s why I always say that the defensemen are the most important guys in the rink, because it all starts back there. So as much as we made progress back there and we were bigger, we still have to get better at getting the puck up to the forwards, so that they can either make constructive dump-ins on the other side of the red line, or have a chance to do things on the rush and back the defense off. So when you look at your offense, it usually starts in the back, and we still have to get better at delivering pucks to the forwards.

“That said, certainly the forwards have to be better. We weren’t big enough on the wings, we’re not gritty enough in the battles, we don’t go to the net hard enough. Then you’ve still got the skill element. Clearly, and anyone can run the numbers, our scoring 5-on-5 is at the bottom of the league, and there’s no frickin’ way you’re going to win in the playoffs if you can’t score 5-on-5.”

Question: But you’re going to have to go outside the organization to fix that, right?

LOMBARDI: “Yeah, and I’m not arguing that. We’re crossing over some different topics here, and that’s where you get some variables. So, yes. But when you ask, `What are you going to do?’ I’m saying that I’m going to get better just by making those young players better, so that I don’t have to force my own hand and go out and get something I don’t want. But yeah, the home run would be that these guys all make the commitment this summer to get themselves better, and the right player is there, and he fits. Then you get a double-barrel hit. I think the double-barrel is critical. If we go out and get that guy, and these guys don’t show up committed, we’re spinning our wheels. It’s going to be the game. We might be a little better, but we’re not going to be where we want to go. It has to be both.”

Question: If we were betting on this, what are the odds that both Frolov and Johnson will be on the roster in September?

LOMBARDI: “The same as they are for anybody else, I guess. I don’t know how to answer that one. The only thing that would be relevant, to me, is Fro’s contract.”

Question: And Jack’s contract.

LOMBARDI: “Yeah, but there’s a big difference. Fro is like Cammalleri, where he can walk on you.”

Question: But Johnson is also like O’Sullivan in a way, right?

LOMBARDI: “Yeah, but that stuff… I saw that stuff, with Helene (Elliott of the L.A. Times) saying I traded (O’Sullivan) because he gave me a contract hassle. Trust me, Harry Sinden could do that. Glen Sather could do that. There’s no question that, back in their day, they would send a message. Harry loved shipping guys to Edmonton, although Edmonton was still a good team. There’s no question that there was a little of that in the old days, when GMs had enormous power, but if anybody thinks that a GM with half a brain is going to trade a guy because of a contract hassle, there’s no way.

“Cammalleri was a rental for us. If I thought, last summer, that we were a Cup contender — just like Calgary took him, because they thought they were a Cup contender — I would have kept him. But he was a one-year rental, and I just saw no chance of re-signing him. We had to do something, because I was going to lose him for nothing. I’ve been to arbitration time and time again. Look at my history. I’m always the first one to take the player out afterward and say, `Let’s bury this.’ The lawyers, on both sides, they have no concept of the idea that me and the player have to go back and work together.

“With O’Sullivan, I don’t care what people say. That had nothing to do with it. I think, and most people will tell you, we got a pretty darn good hockey player (in Justin Williams). In the last week or so, he’s starting to show what he is. It didn’t surprise me that he didn’t start where he’s capable of, because of his hand, but we knew we were getting that. Handzus took a year before he showed us what we were seeing in him. Now everybody sees it. Nobody competes harder than this guy. With (Williams), we won’t have to wait a year, and he will be more than fine.

“So that stuff is totally unrealistic. The players have enormous leverage these days. If you’re going to do that stuff, and you get that reputation, you’re asking for trouble. Harry and those guys could do it back then, because management always had the hammer. There was no free agency, and there were no holdouts and stuff. That stuff, nowadays, there’s no chance.”

Question: But aren’t you back in that Cammalleri hole with Frolov?

LOMBARDI: “That’s why I was wondering where you were going with this, because you bring up those two guys and they’re totally different. Jack is not a rental. The O’Sullivan deal was a hockey deal. I am under no pressure, so to speak, because my asset value is wearing out in Jack’s case. He’s not going anywhere unless we decide.

“With Fro, you raise a point. There is a little bit of the Cammalleri thing, where he can walk on you in a year. Will that enter into the equation, when we can have some discussion with his agent and see where he’s going? It might. If he comes in and says he wants seven million, we might go, `Oooh,’ but we have to be careful with that too. We’re young and we’re going in the right direction. We might be more inclined to keep a rental because we don’t want to go backward next season. If you trade Cammalleri for a first-rounder, you’re going backward. You’re not as good as you could be. So I don’t think we’d be as inclined to do that now, but I guess it might enter in. But that’s why I see them as two different situations.”

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  • JDM

    He sounded pretty heated. I like some of the stuff, mostly when he says that the players should look to themselves for improvement before outside help. I agree wholeheartedly. On the flip side of that, it was kind of a ever so slighty loaded question.

    Other stuff bothers me. I think he can say all the same stuff about the “right player” while still maintaining that the team needs to make the playoffs next year.

    The fact that he immediately hypothetically rephrased the question in terms of losing his job, among other responses and seeming tones he used, tells me he is accutely aware of the scrutiny there will be and the HUGE importance of his moves this summer.

    Whether or not he thinks ownership will fire him if they miss the playoffs, it seems he knows he will lose a lot of fans and will have a much harder time selling another year without playoffs to the those on the fence.

  • JDM

    Also, great picture!

    “Who? Me?”

  • src3

    Great interview Rich.

    Loved DLs responses. Reading between the lines tells me that Moller is safe and that Fro is wont be getting 7 mil.

    In other words boys, suck it up and bring your A game next year. Dont think DL is looking to sign anyone for big bucks just yet.

  • DeEstie

    DL said, “a big name that looks sexy”. Really, that’s what does it for him, a big name winger who looks sexy?

  • number 6

    I haven’t even read anything but the answer to the first question and I wanted to comment right away. While I agree with many of DL’s moves and disagree with others, I totally agree with his response. No doubt about it. For me that is the right response if such a thing exists.

  • PaulCat1969

    I really love what Dean has to say here. The captain of any ship leads with a stern but fair hand. He surrounds his crew with capable and hard working people and he stands back and let’s them do their thing. He expects the most out of them and gives them respect and in turn they give him that same respect.

    Whatever he does this off-season I will be firmly behind him.

  • Johnny Utah

    Thank you Rich and thank you Deano.

    I say this team has a serious leadership problem with DB and Kopi wearing letters. Love DB as a quiet leader, but not as a C. And Kopi phoned it in about 15 games ago – he has no biz wearing the A.

    Greener on the other hand – love his leadership from the blue line.

    Dean hit it right on the head.

  • Jimmy

    Wow, Lombardi sure spoke his mind in that interview. Thanks Rich, another awesome interview with legitimate questions. Right to the point and in your face.

    – Jimmy

  • Zad

    Ah yes. Deflection. When questioned about what he intends to do to bring in the badly needed missing piece, he answers that the current pieces must get better. Someone explain to Dean that winning breeds winning, leaders breed leadership, confidence elevates talent and turnips do not bleed.

    Does Dean think everyone but him is stupid? You need someone to put in goals in net. That’s what this game is about – outscoring the opponent. Am I supposed to believe that every cup contending team this year is a circle jerk of character guys in a love fest? Is such nonsense limited to LA? Scott Niedermeyer and Chris Prongers are two of the biggest jerks in hockey. Yet, they have somehow found a way to bring a Cup to the Birds. It wasn’t their character that did it. It was their talent, experience and well earned reputation for being better than most.

  • PakiFro

    I like how he’s lowering the expectations for himself and the team, much like “this is the toughest job in the NHL” when he introduced Terry Murray. No way is finishing below the 8th spot an improvement. If this team is going to be in a “black hole” I’d rather they be in the 7th or 8th seed black hole than the 10-15th seed black hole (you know, the one that Phoenix is in). This is the first interview that I’ve read from Lombardi that I’m completely disappointed in his answers. Bottom line is the Kings need help on left wing, whether Brown, Kopi, and Doughty get better or not. Frolov can’t do it all himself. If all those guys have great seasons, the Kings would STILL be weak on left wing. There’s a reality to the situation that needs to be respected as well. Brown and Kopitar clearly realize they need some help, that they can’t necessarily do it all on their own. Someone to come in and be a game changer. Lombardi should open his eyes to that as well.

    And as far as Palffy and Allison go, I’d do those trades ten times over. The injuries ruined this team under Dave Taylor, not his moves. They broke records for man games lost to injuries, I think twice.

  • variable

    thanks, as always, rich…great job…

    the wait game begins…we will have to see what d.l. has in mind….

    next big day is draft day….

  • variable

    oh yeah…

    d.l.’s photo is a bit reminiscent of rodney dangerfield….

    “i tell ya…it’s gettin’ hot in here…i get no respect…no respect at all!”

  • Marc Nathan

    Nathan: The season wrap-up

    The team failed again. Yes, they got younger and we didn’t have to endure watching Thornton, Nagy, Willsie, Modry, et al, but we had to endure Peter Harrold as a forward, and his 30 games of futility ended when he scored a goal that ALMOST took them out of the top 5 in Tuesday’s lottery… Most of the rest of the team was fun to watch, though frustrating because matched up against the rest of the league, they found they couldn’t score in over 15% of the games this season. That was lame. FOUR Western teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year are in this year. That’s both good and bad news for the Kings. Good, because it means that parity can work to the Kings advantage and next year they could sneak into a slot. Bad, because a healthy Minnesota, Colorado and Dallas, coupled with a VERY good young Phoenix team that might figure out how to get an elite goaltender in the off season, and the Kings will have a snowball’s chance in hell of ending their 6 going on 7 year playoff drought.

    Lots of doubletalk and rhetoric from the GM, who continues to have the confidence of the ardent young Kings fans, but jaded old f**ks like myself know… it’s just a dusted off version of the International House Of Cliches, and the patience which has worn thinner than a supermodel on the Atkins diet, and means another year of frustration as the prices go up up up. (Can’t wait to see the concession prices next season.)

    Oh yeah, if you had a spare 7,500 dollars, there’s a Drew Doughty game worn in the Team LA store. LOL.

  • Dave

    Zad, did you read a different interview? He clearly addresses the need to acquire help from outside the org,

    “Question: But you’re going to have to go outside the organization to fix that, right?

    LOMBARDI: “Yeah, and I’m not arguing that.”

    Quite the deflection…

  • David

    “We might be more inclined to keep a rental because we don’t want to go backward next season. If you trade Cammalleri for a first-rounder, you’re going backward. You’re not as good as you could be.”

    Boy, you can sure read a lot into DL’s above comments.

    So we were “going backward” when Cammy was traded to Calgary on Draft Day last year? Thanks for filling us in on your inside info. Deano, ten months later!

    Frolov has been with the Kings his entire NHL career. Now he’s being referred to as a “Rental” by DL. That certainly would not make me feel wanted by the organization.

    The real issue in DL’s above statement goes straight back to AEG. How many players in the last 14 years have they not re-signed for financial reasons?

    A few come to mind…..Gretzky, Blake, Schneider, Smolinski, Boucher, Robitaille (2002), Norstrom…I’m sure there were others. Quisp, you want to help me out here?

    Do you think AEG is going to change this pattern going forward? Not bloody likely.

    So you establish yourself as a bonified good player with the Kings, but AEG wants you to take a hometown discount, or will kindly show you a door heading east.

    I don’t know what’s more insane, AEG’s financial strategy or continuing to be a Kings Fan?

  • variable

    $7500…?!?!?

    i guess that lucky person who snagged drew’s jersey off his back for fan appreciation day should know what to do with it…

    geez…

    so much for the recession…

    i think i’d rather buy a used car for that or pay off debts…yikes…!

  • variable

    i don’t want to read into d.l. frolov comments too much any more…

    the more he seems to get loquacious, the more he seems to drift into the obscurity and odd insights…

    however, he does have others in management that are fond of fro and maybe…just maybe…they will convince d.l. to go into july 1st with a positive offer and continue from there…

  • WWAMD

    variable

    Where did you hear about 7500 bucks for Drew jersey

    That is ridiculous

    I love the kid but Kings fans overrated his memorabilia

    The other day I seen one of his sticks for sale for 300 bucks…this tops it

    The Great Ones game used don’t even go for 7500…WOW.

    So where did you see that is went for that much?

  • Bring Back the Shield Jersey

    Uh oh, Kopi and Brownie just got themselves in big trouble. Hey Rich, I already got a transcript of their exit interviews.

    DL: Anze, boy did you suck this year. You spent too many summer nights out late in Ljubljana, and not enough hours getting stronger. You want a scoring left winger? I want quicker feet from you, I want you taking boxing lessons, I want you to get some Eye of the fricken Tiger and not be coddled by mommy and daddy. I want you going to the net as if the Hapsburgs were after you. Now get the hell out of my office!

    Anze: But Coach Murray’s system makes

    DL: OUT!!

    ————
    DL: Well well well if it isn’t the captain.

    DB: Uh, yeah. Hi Dean.

    DL: That’s MR. Lombardi.

    DB: …Mr. Lombardi.

    DL: SO I hear you want a “scoring left winger”? Anything else I can get for you? How about an NHL player that knows how to execute a 2 on 0 ? Would you like that? Me too. That probably won’t cost more than 5 million per. Of course someone will have to go to make room, let’s see, who should it be? Oh, I’ve got it! How about the guy on this team who can’t execute a 2 on 0 ?!

    DB: Uh, that would be me though.

    DL: I know that numb-nuts! And it cost us the game!! And what about that open net versus Vancouver? Do you think a scoring left winger would be able to actually score from 3 feet away? I really should look into such a player. Plus, maybe he wouldn’t fall down every time he tried to pass the puck for 4 straight games. Maybe he could make more than 5 good passes in a season. Yes Dustin, you have convinced me. Maybe He could be in the top 5 league-wide in shots taken, AND be better than tied for 67th in number of goals. Yes yes, you’re definately on to something. You can go now, I must get on this right away. Gooodbye, have a nice summer.

  • KingsFan19

    Well, I hope DL read the rest of the interviews with Kopi and Brown where they also addressed getting better as a team whether or not a Sniper LW comes in.

    DL will bring in someone or someone will step up. The Kings are a team on the rise.

    Just my $.02.

    Go Kings Go.

  • jleung

    This sounded more like it was aimed at the players just as much as it was aimed at the fans. He’s right that Kopitar and Brown’s answer wasn’t the right one, because it means a part of them say that the answer to their problem is out of their control. And of course he can’t outright say we need a LW because that hinders him when negotiations with one of the UFAs start up.

  • Matthew Barry

    1) The $7,500 jersey was at the L.A. Team Store – You can buy a game used Ovechkin All Star jersey for less and MAYBE in 25 years it will be worth that. But Doughty. Marc and I had a good laugh over that…. and the $1,000 dollar OScar Moller jersey.

    2) Dean, as I have predicted will not sign Gaborik, even though he’s the playmaker the Kings desperately need, Gaborik is all about Gaborik much the same way Cammelleri is all about Cammalleri.

    3) How does Dean compete with 11-12 year contracts? He needs a scoring left handed left winger. How many of those can YOU name?

    4) “We have to get bigger” – Is Oscar Moller now trade bait, much in the same that O’Sullivan was too small? Travis Moen or Chris Neil, come on down! I have a feeling Samuelson from Detroit is a player he’ll target.

    5) Dustin Brown – wrong answer – one goal in his last 20 games – Dean may have signed him long term and Dustin may have Kings tattooed on his Butt, but if Kovalchuk wants to sign an extension with the Kings, Brown may be included. At least that’s the sense I got.

    6) Are Kings fans, in a recession, REALLY going to renew or show up to Staples if this is the same team with a couple of spare parts added? Again?

    Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

  • Duckhunter

    Bring Back the Shield,

    Thanks for the good laugh, before I put my head down and call it a night. It was surely needed.

  • Johnny Kick a Hole In The Sky

    Dear Dean Lombardi,

    Solidify a legitimate “top six” next season. Right now we have 5 forwards – Kopitar, Frolov, Brown, Stoll, Williams. There’s an open slot for a UFA/Prospect. Our top prospects are Moller and Purcell. Problem is we need a guy who can score goals. Moller is not ready for that job yet, and Purcell is a playmaker. I don’t know how you will do it, maybe it will be with different players, all I ask you is to deliver TWO legit scoring lines. Solidify the lines, Dean!

    Onto the 3rd line:
    Handzus-Simmonds. Now we have to find a winger to complete that line. A good skating two-way player is ideal for this spot. I would guess our top prospect for this role is Trevor Lewis.

    Since Terry Murray plays ALL four lines, it would be best if we have a good 4th line. Is Boyle mean enough? Can Ivanans stop taking stupid penalties? Is Armstrong staying, he’s vocal and sticks up for his team.

    DMEN:
    Quincey couldn’t even make it with Detroit, and he’s a top 4 on our team? We have work to do. After Doughty there is a huge dropoff. I’m not sure this group is a “winner”.

  • Nick

    Quincey couldn’t even make it with Detroit, and he’s a top 4 on our team? We have work to do. After Doughty there is a huge dropoff. I’m not sure this group is a “winner”.

    this is just a bad argument. Quincey was an awesome player for us and I’m sure Detroit feels like they let the wrong guy go, too. It’s not like Ken Holland is mistake proof.

  • Wraith

    David,

    “A few come to mind…..Gretzky, Blake, Schneider, Smolinski, Boucher, Robitaille (2002), Norstrom…I’m sure there were others. Quisp, you want to help me out here?”

    Gretzky wanted to be traded to a contender it had nothing to do with money,

    Schneider had a great high priced contract with the kings however played horrible for us and the kings paid for someone to take him of their hands.

    Blake wanted a lot of money, if you believe he was worth that kind of money then your point stands on him.

    Nordstrom was traded to get assets to a cup contender in hopes he could get a ring and even was offered to come back. His Contract was really nice for a defensive defenseman. Taylor gave him a pretty good deal.

    I would say Kopitar’s deal is pretty good too. To say the kings do not pay their players is kind of weird when you have contracts like Nordstroms and Kopitars in the past. Yeah they traded Lubo and I think that was because of the cap hit but more down the road then at the moment.

  • Paul from Oxnard

    I’m as disappointed as anyone about the way the Kings finished the season. But let’s stop this “they have to make the playoffs or Dean has to go” crap! Let’s remember who are top 3 players are. Our best goalie is a rookie who didn’t even play a full season. Our best defenseman is 19 years old. And our best forward is 21 years old. Doesn’t exactly spell Stanley Cup contender to me.

    As long as Lombardi & ownership continues to stick to their plan, the Kings will be fine. Will they be good enough to make the playoffs next year? Maybe. But if not it’s not the end of the world. I agree with Dean. The key for the Kings next year is to get better, and whatever the results of that improvement are will be fine.

  • anthonyy

    More Failures than positives.
    But theres always a next season.

  • anthonyy

    I’m not starting to stir things up.
    I have too much respect for Rich and his site for that.
    But I believe that next season should be DL’s last chance.
    If the team ends the season like the last two, DL really needs to go.

    After I read this article that rich was nice enough to provide us, this GM doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The words are different, but the theme is the same garbage I’ve been hearing for the last 3 seasons.
    Time for a change.

  • dirtmover

    the “you talkin to me ” photo for DL- as a fan I want whats best for the squad and that doesn’t always square with mngmnts priorities- I thought some DL answers were of the spin cycle variety – but overall his goals and expectations for the team are realistic-under promise and over deliver -the one fact that made real sense to me was it has happened so very fast the turnaround of this team from the scouting to coaching to players to performance on the ice has been quick by professional standards- I try to extrapolate what the players will be like next yr getting bigger and quicker and stronger will lead to 5 or 6 more wins at least – with quick playing a full yr and the development of the young guys this team is poised for a breakout yr –

  • WWAMD

    I think Deano is just mad that us Kings fans have figured out his plan to hire every ex Flyer/Shark. Yes Deano we do have brains!

  • WWAMD

    Oh Yah P.S GREAT JOB Rich on the interview…NICE!

  • Brooklyn King

    Wow, it amazes me how some of you fans can be so short sighted. Anthony, you are right, it is time for a change. Time for you to stop complaining or start supporting another team. The positives have far outweighed the negatives this year, and I love that ownership is comfortable with a tactical approach as opposed to the usual desperation moves this franchise is known for. There is so much to look forward to for years to come with this team. It’s biggest stars are also the youngest, and it really has been a pleasant surprise to see a bunch of kids under the age of 24 play the way the did.

    Like him or not, DL has done a fantastic job of rebuilding a pathetic excuse of an organization. The only thing left is to add a couple of pieces to the puzzle, and make the playoffs. I’m sure when that happens though, somebody here will find any excuse they can to complain. So in parting, I’d like to say, thank God for Dean Lombardi. I split my time between NY and LA, and trust me, if the Kings had Glenn Sather as their GM, people would be rioting. DL is one of the best in the business, and if some of you can’t see it, there’s no point in arguing. Playoff bound in 2010!

  • Winsomemore

    Great interview Rich. This will be interesting off season for sure. Thanks for all the great work!

  • Alma Rodriquez

    Did anyone else hear the latest acquisition rumour last night (on HNIC) that the Kings are considering Lecavalier?

  • Dionnefan

    I’ve been a huge DL supporter, but I am disappointed in what I read, especially in the beginning. To me, it seemed like DL setting up a long list of excuses if we fail again. We don’t need to make the playoffs, we don’t need to sign a sexy name, etc. etc. YES YOU DO NEED TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT YEAR. I don’t think I’m alone in this, but if we don’t make the playoffs, I’m not renewing, period, end of story.

    That said, I was very happy with the direction the team went this year, and the improvements we made, but how can we continue to improve and not make the playoffs? THAT is the next step. Anything less is a failure.

  • Dionnefan

    I’ve been a huge DL supporter, but I am disappointed in what I read, especially in the beginning. To me, it seemed like DL setting up a long list of excuses if we fail again. We don’t need to make the playoffs, we don’t need to sign a sexy name, etc. etc. YES YOU DO NEED TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT YEAR. I don’t think I’m alone in this, but if we don’t make the playoffs, I’m not renewing, period, end of story.

    That said, I was very happy with the direction the team went this year, and the improvements we made, but how can we continue to improve and not make the playoffs? THAT is the next step. Anything less is a failure.

  • Too Fast

    LOMBARDI: “You know what’s weird about it though? It has come too fast. This is what I find strange about this, and this is why I struggle. … I did this once before (in San Jose), and I’m struggling with why this is quicker.

    There are a lot of comments I could make about Lombardis statements (both positive and negative), but after several hours of quiet consideration, I find the above quote the most telling.

    In one statement Dean Lombardi reveals his Achilles heel as the Kings GM. He has a plan that he and he alone will execute, but it is, sadly, his plan to rebuild the San Jose Sharks. Im not saying that his efforts to rebuild the Sharks was bad or a failure. What I am saying is that his plan was for that team in their circumstance at a unique moment in Sharks history. Mr. Lombardi, this is quite a different team, time and circumstance.

    Too fast? That is probably entirely and honestly true – for you. However, a good manager (in any line of work or responsibility) will always utilize the talents at hand to best accomplish the task assigned. Have a method you follow to achieve success? Absolutely. Alter that method when necessary? Absolutely. The U.S. Marines approach to winning is Improvise – Adapt – Overcome. Theyve made history following that plan, and surprisingly, their personnel are between the ages of 18 to 26 as well.

    Too fast? Too bad, for you Mr. Lombardi. I admit that I was one of those who could not understand your motivation for the OSullivan/Williams deal. However, now it is clear as to why you pulled the trigger. The team was advancing too fast based upon your San Jose Strategy. The choice was not will this deal get the Kings closer to making the playoffs this year, it was what might be best for the team a year or two from now when Williams might be 100% again.

    Would THIS young and inexperience Kings team have benefited from a legitimate shot at a playoff spot THIS year? My opinion was and still is yes. Lombardis, by the trade, said no. And if I, a lowly fan, can see that, imagine the trades effect on the men who actually suit up and take the ice? The game of hockey is and always has been about heart; the joy of playing the game. Lombardis move demonstrated no respect for this Kings team while some other potential future Kings lineup was his top priority.

    This summer, spend some time looking into the Lombardi bathroom mirror, Dean, and ask yourself if you are up to the task of running an ahead of schedule young Kings team.

    Are they too fast, or are you too slow?

    Admittedly, with some edits:
    The critique should be, `I’ve got to get better. And if I get better and [Murray] gets better and [Hextall] gets better and [Hardy] gets better and [Kompon] gets better and [Ranford] gets better, and if we all do our job, and if [I] can get us a left wing, that would be really good.’ That’s the answer.”

  • deadcatbounce

    I got out of the game-worn jersey market for good after I got my old wool Bill Ezinicki sweaters about four years ago. You wouldnt believe how small the vintage jerseys are compared to what theyre wearing these days. Before that, I hadnt bought a gamer for about four additional years. I didnt realize the prices had gone through the roof. But now the problem with that is that teams have caught on and they wear three sets of home and road jerseys a year, plus third jerseys, plus one-hit wonders for charities and jersey-off-your-back promotions, so now they arent nearly as hard to find. Anyone want to buy some game-worn jerseys? I have jerseys representing every team and from Aalto to Zyuzin, from HHOF-ers to slugs, if anybodys interested. I look at them now and think about what else I could have done with all that money

  • uknojata

    Dean is a cross between Bill Clinton and Clint Eastwood. Even if you don’t agree with his politics, like Bill, when he speaks you feel like everything is gonna be alright. And last time it was “make my day,” this time it was “Then you get a double-barrel hit…the double-barrel is critical.” Slick Dirty Deano.

    It’s good to hear DL acknowledge that even our core are not playing to their potential. But nice try on lowering any post season expectations next year. Yes, for us to make any substantial progress these guys need to show more heart, balls, commitment, etc. But even with a great season from key players, your not going from last in the league in scoring to a playoff position. We need a top tier sniper, period.

    Dean suggested that even though losing Cami was a step backward, he just wasn’t the right fit and signing him would have been too difficult. I can buy that. With that said, if we see the same thing happen with Fro, thats a second big step backward, as far as goal production (our biggest issue this year). Why home grow a player if you can’t retain them after they lead your team in goals? I hope his tone is just a tactic with Fro, and he really intends on keeping this guy. If not, we’ll need two true top six forwards. Ya, like thats happening.

    A call for patience from the fans is a fu$$$ing joke at this point. We expect a playoff team next year.

  • Derek Bargaehr

    My advice: trade Gauthier.

    Sure, he picked up his play a little bit in the last bit of the season. But even then, his performance was only average. He committed a lot of dumb mistakes early (maybe the most obvious one being a turnover in front of his own net which led to an easy goal…I think it was against Detroit.) After that it was dumb penalties…two suspensions, one of which on a penalty which almost definitely cost the Kings a game. I can recall several instances where an un-necessary, blatant penalty by him led to a 5-on-3 during a penalty kill, or took away a power-play advantage for the Kings.

    The Kings have enough rough-and-tumble. Ivanans is, obviously, a great enforcer…Simmonds and Greene aren’t afraid to throw down or get in faces. Brown checks like a champ, and Armstrong serves as a fantastic agitator.

    On top of that, there’s tons of great defensemen on the Kings already: Johnson, Quincey, O’Donnell, Drewiske, and especially Doughty. And getting rid of Gauthier gives a spot back to Harrold, who, for what I saw, played competently.

    I think Gauthier is a poor fit to the team, and his performance dragged them down at times. Other times he played up to expectations, but while the rest of the defense was busy exceeding them.

  • Gary B

    I like all of his comments, except for the thought that conditioning, fight for pucks, and getting rebounds will be enough to greatly improve 5 on 5 scoring. That will help, but the current players have little skill away from the boards. It will also take skilled players in stick-handling, passing, and shooting, to greatly improve this problem. When players like the Hawks Marty Havlat back off dmen, and create several scoring chances a game, you see when offensive skill can do. He needs to get at least some players with that kind of skill.

  • Moondoggie

    Paul From Oxnard, Brooklyn King (are you Nykingsfan in disguise?)…..thx!

    For those who are ready to throw DL overboard because the Kings didn’t make the playoffs…please, gimme a break.

    Again, there are too many on this blog who want what Dave Taylor and other Kings GM’s tried to do with this organization the past 40+ years, a quick fix to satisfy a fan base who wanted an aging star to watch, a band-aid to fill a hole here and there and the end result, a fringe team that never really contends for the cup.

    The goal here everyone isn’t just to be competitive for a year or two and on the fringe but to build a strong team from top to bottom with a continuous feed of youth within and throughout the organization, from juniors & the colleges to the ECHL and AHL and on to the parent club. That’s how you build a winner.

    You kinda have to look at other teams in other sports. Take for example the Angels. This was a team that lived in the Dodgers shadow for years. They were always going after overpriced, washed up talent to make feeble runs at the playoffs. After a year or two, the cupboard would be bare and the team would go back to the cellar for 4-5 year periods. Just look at the Angels now. They have an endless supply of young talent in the minors. They have a very talented staff that keeps feeding youth to the parent club. To get there they had to rebuild the organization from top to bottom. They’re now one of the best in baseball and are near the top of the standings every year. It took time to build and develop that organization. It took patience but in the long run it has paid off huge.

    The same holds true for the Kings. DL has totally rebuild this team both on and off the ice. Look at the holes he had to fill. I cannot remember one single Kings team that was known for its defensive play. The Kings had huge holes to fill in that area. Now look at them, they’re one of the best in the league with youth waiting in the wings to take the place of the OD’s, Goats, etc. That’s what DL is saying when he says this team is ahead of itself in the rebuilding process. The minors are stocked with talent that will keep the young flow of talent going to the parent club for years to come. The club is loaded with draft picks to keep the team young and maintain the youthful flow. The Kings now have an organization in place where scouts can report directly to DL and Hexy to provide updates on which players are performing, who isn’t, their progress and those “gems in the rough” who ultimately will become future Kings draft picks.

    While I’m certainly disappointed the Kings didn’t make the playoffs, they’ll have a shot at the No. 1 draft pick, if they don’t get it at worst they’ll pick 5th which will be a strong pick in another strong draft. DL now has the assets in place to trade up if he chooses, packaging his 5th for the 1st and a couple of assets for a run at John Tavares or a bonafide left wing. Either or, it’s a win, win situation for LA.

    For all DL, TM and their staff has done for this team, don’t make them walk the plank for past years of futility. This team is way ahead of itself. They missed the playoffs by 11 points, just about what all of us figured it would take to get the 8th spot. They missed the playoffs mainly because of a poor showing on the road the 2nd half of the season which we all knew would be a difficult hurdle to clear; the last road trip literally killed the Kings chances.

    Frankly, I don’t want the last spot in the playoffs. I’d prefer to be 1st or 2nd in the conference, a team that can actually compete for the cup year after year like Detroit, a team good players will take a pay cut to play for a chance at the cup, not a team that gets knocked out the 1st round and returns to mediocrity year after year. The goal is in sight and good things are just around the corner for this team. Patience everyone, your wait will be rewarded for years to come.

  • cristobal

    LOOK IN THE MIRROR, DEAN…

  • Highliner

    Lombardi is setting us up for one more year of failure. Since the beginning he has harped on how he took over a broken organization and started the process of rebuilding. The team he took over ended the season 7 games over 500. They have not come close 500 since. The excuse was that he had to dismantle a team that was going nowhere so he could establish one headed in the right direction. His philosophy was to get rid of almost everything from the Taylor era, stockpile draft choices, and rebuild with youth. In the Taylor era as was pointed out before, quality players who wanted the going pay rate were shipped out, often for nothing.

    Dean was going to make this franchise a cup winner by taking the team in a completely new direction. He was going to go with a core group of young players, develop a strong farm system, and win a cup. It all sounded great, but I am have some serious doubts. It all starts at the top.

    Ownership could care less about this hockey team. They are land developers who had the goal of making tons of money doing what they do best, developing land. It would be funny if it was not so frustrating, but a couple of years ago, the ownership of both local hockey teams achieved their long term goals both in the same week. One of the feature articles in the Times was the Governor, Mayor, and lots of other political big wigs breaking ground on the latest Anchutz development near Staples Center. That was the same week the Ducks won the Stanley Cup.

    Back to the “new” direction. Lombardi has been telling us that we have a great core group of young players that will finally win a Stanley Cup. My fear about this direction it that as the young players develop, they are going to want to be paid the going rate. As they approach their prime, they are going to demand more money. More money than Dean and Anchutz want to pay. Others may not have the same fear, but until they prove me wrong, I think we are in for a merry go round of new young (cheap) players. Making the playoffs will not be a must, because the long term goal is the cup. Keep believing if you like but until they prove me wrong, I think that the Kings will be a revolving door. They will probably be one of the best development programs for teams that actually want to win the cup.

    Cammalleri was the first of the “core” players who wanted more money. He was given away for nothing. Letting a 30 goal scorer go for what they got in return is a joke. Frolov and Johnson are next in line, but I am sure Dean can get some real good draft choices for them. Then we will really have a bright future in the next 5 years or so.

  • JonG

    “You know what’s weird about it though? It has come too fast”.

    Are you kidding me?? Dean’s been at the helm for three years and we just finished in 26th place. Now he’s saying we don’t need to make the playoffs next year either.

    I am very excited about the future of this team but I don’t see how anyone can claim that we have turned things around quickly.

    Rich, great interview as always.

  • cristobal

    This was Murray's primary goal coming into the season.
    If you fail, you get fired, in any walk of life.
    This is Lombardi's guy and he's blaming the players for their fitness (Frolov and Johnson were in the best shape of their lives coming in, as was Labs).

    This guy is a snake-oil salesman.

  • cristobal

    we still have to get better at getting the puck up to the forwards

    So that’s why you trade Lubomir Visnovsky????

  • cristobal

    there’s no frickin’ way you’re going to win in the playoffs if you can’t score 5-on-5.

    Funny.
    Often championships are won and lost by effective special teams, in all sports…

  • variable

    cristobal…

    the more i read the comments of d.l. from rich’s interview, the more i’m confused…

    i don’t know if d.l. was having an “off” day and was just plain old tired himself, but some of the answers he gave were just really weird…

    i agree about the fitness comments…they seem a bit strange…if anybody saw the workout regime fro and jj went through on kingsvision, then i don’t know how he can say that…

    jj is apparently always in the gym…the team’s fitness didn’t seem to be an issue…maybe it’s just d.l.’s way of trying to get more out of his players come next season…

  • Rich Hammond

    Cristobal…it’s time to vary it up a little. You have three comments in a row, all on the exact same theme, and on every blog entry, you feel compelled to reflexively beat the same “anti-Lombardi” drum over and over and over. I couldn’t care less what your feelings are about Lombardi, but you’re annoying people, and we’ve been through this before. I don’t want to ban anyone, but I’m not going to deal with this anymore. And I don’t want any explanation or retort. Just please change it. Thanks.

  • KingFan4ever

    As somewhat vague and non-committal as DL’s answers where, I like his tone as far as getting the job done, first with the off-season fitness and two, setting goals to be infinitely better than this year. I really got the sense of urgency with his answers.

    It’s all on the players and their commitment to win although, I’d love to see the Kings raise expectations a little more as far as playing to win it all.

    I’m in the middle as far as DL is concerned. It certainly doesn’t bother me that he can be wishy-washy about his answers. Just put yourself in his position and you will be the first to be non-committal about your answers. Part of it is that he doesn’t want to be be held to his comments and second, he doesn’t have a crystal ball and simply doesn’t know what will happen in the future.

    This is the team that he has and he has to make things work. Plus I think he is smart enough to know that a significant improvement is necessary next season for the sake of the whole organization. The Kings have enough talent in their roster to get it done and it’s a matter of solidifying and hammering his message that more is expected of them next season. Let’s hope the players respond.

    Great interview as always Rich!

  • B-Copter

    I’m hoping Frolov can be re-signed for about $4.7M. I think he’s comparable to Arnott (4.5) and Hartnell (4.2).

    If Frolov wants $5M+, I’d think twice. Frolov still has room to grow, but I don’t think he’s quite on Gagne’s level yet.

  • cristobal

    What a great Easter weekend!
    God bless everyone.

    A new attitude of hope is upon me.
    I like the players DL has picked up in the draft and I’ve said all season long that the quality of players like Drewiske and Lewis and Simmonds and Moller is a reason for hope in Dean Lombardi’s drafting skills.
    I hope that he only gets better and that his message to the current Kings, as akward as it may sound, finds a home in their hearts.
    He is, in a sense, asking them to understand how much work it takes to become a winner. They have to be ready for that and should remain humble and understanding of the blessing it is to be playing and getting paid in the NHL.

    Maybe I’ve been wrong all along and it truly does take a few seasons in the tank in order to emerge from the cocoon fully formed with some great skill.

    Pittsburgh and Washington have done it pretty well of late, and Detroit was a mess in the 80′s…

    Anthony, lets change our perspective and just hope for the best…
    We’re lucky to have a team in Los Angeles to root for these 40 years
    Things could be better, but maybe that’s not the point.

  • nykingfan

    Great interview as always Rich

    That’s not me Moondoggie…although I agree with his comments and yours 100%

    Bring back the shield…..
    Thanks for making me laugh this morning. I keep going back and re-reading your interview and laugh each time. Well done!

    I though DL was right on with his points. Only Kings management knows what type of shape the players are in. they obviously were disappointed in Kopitar’s fitness, so he needs to do something about it.
    Kopi and Brownie need to learn that there job is to play and personnel decisions are managements deal.
    He’s right when he says that just bringing in a scoring left winger won’t help unless the guys we have here play a lot better than they did this year…

    I also agree that it’s not a make or break year for the Kings. We all want to see them make the playoffs, but not at the expense of dumping the youth for rental players, or dismantling what he’s building for a quick fix. I don’t want to just get there, I want to have a legitimate shot to win when we get there. If that means we have to wait an extra year, To me it’s worth it.

    I look at the Kings as a new expansion team that Lombardi is trying to build from the ground up. We had very few pieces in place to build from. He’s moved a lot quicker than I thought possible.

    I think some people misunderstood what DL meant with Cammy being a rental and taking a 1st round pick for him being a step backwards. If he was to trade Frolov for a pick, it would be a step back because he can be used as bait to bring back a quality player who’s ready to contribute now…Trading Cammy was about building for the future…hence, 1 step back to move 3 steps forward.

    I’m comfortable with the direction the team is headed and I’m confident that we’ll make the playoffs next year if DL makes the right moves, but more importantly, the players we have pick up their game and take it to the next level.

    Anthony.
    If DL should be gone, who would you want as GM and who would you want as coach?
    It’s easy to say get rid of them, but what are you bringing in that’s better or has better ideas of how to build this team?

  • Gary B

    They really do need some elite offensive talent. But, I also agree with Dean, that each player needs to be in top shape. It’s frustrating to see Kopitar sluggishly skating back on D with the slow-motion long strides. He plays 20 min out of 2 hrs.
    We play pick-up games for 90 mins straight with only 3 lines. Thats 30 min out of 1 1/2 hrs. Suck it up!

  • nykingfan

    Here’s another thought on Kopitar and the shape he was in.
    How many games did we see that he led the offense in TOI? I can’t remember any…especially during the 2nd half. It was usually Frolov. That’s hard to believe especially since he’s the best player on the team.
    He’s one of my favorite players but like i’ve said many times before…I root for the Crown on the front, not the names on the back.

  • Ersberg

    Rich-

    Can you ask Dean a couple of things please?

    1) What is the type of character he’s looking for in players outside of the orginization.

    2) If said players are not a ‘perfect’ fit for the team, would he still consider that player? What disqualifies a player that might help the team, but ultimately isn’t signed/traded for?

    Thanks

  • What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

    Regarding the ‘C’, I’d say we’ve seen enough already to know that whoever wears the ‘C’ is holding it for Doughty–be it a year and an offseason from now or whenever, everyone who’s paying attention knows it’s going to happen.

    WRT Kopitar and Brown, I think people are too hard on them. Brown’s the complete package. Expect him to do this offseason what he always does–come back a little better than he was before with a new wrinkle to his game. Thank God you don’t have to go through what he has in his personal life for the last few months. Much of the same goes for Kopitar–he’s being punished by the onlookers for doing exactly what he was asked to do by the coaching staff, and he’ll be a better overall player next year for doing it.

    The real question mark seems to be Jack Johnson. For every bit of adulation Doughty earned, Jack lost. True, he had to deal with the poorly timed tough-luck injury, so he gets a bit of slack, but let’s hope he comes out of the off-season better than in (full) season 1 and doesn’t become injury-prone. I’d say he and Doughty both showed sparks of offensive skill this year that were almost off the map. The potential seems there.

    WRT the comment by Deano that it all depends on the guys in back to get the puck to the forwards, it leaves out a couple very important aspects of the game–the forecheck, and scoring off the draw. We saw instances of great forechecking this year, and I expect to see an improvement overall next year. As far as scoring off the draw–that’s where the sniper (or two) we’re missing comes in. We’re winning the draws, we have the blueliners with the heat, and we need to put in the rebounds.

    WRT Frolov, I don’t know what planet everyone else is on, but he’s impressed me as much as anyone else in the last three or four weeks of the season, as one of the best defensive forwards who never ‘gave up’ the way we’ve seen the last few years after the playoff chances faded.

  • KingFan4ever

    I was just tracking back and read the LA Times article by Bill Witz on the Kings’ last game of the season where obviously, their non-playoff appearance was talked about.

    With DL and TM seemingly on the same page and positioning their roster for higher expectations next season, it was nice to see Sean O’Donnell speaking out loud about what their mindset should in the off season:

    “…The playoffs need to be a legitimate goal,” defenseman Sean O’Donnell said. “Playoffs need to be at the front of our mind, in every conversation, in everything we do. For San Jose, they came in to the season [Stanley] Cup or bust. We need to come in playoffs or bust…..”

    Well said OD. Put that on a CD and play it for your team mates in the off-season will ya?

  • David

    NY Kings Fan,

    I respectfully agree to disagree with you on your Cammy trade analysis.

    Why couldn’t DL have used Cammy “as trade bait to bring back a quality player who’s ready to contribute now” instead of a draft pick?

    Keep drinking the Kool Aid that DL is selling.

    Unfortunately, you’re going to need several Long Island Iced Teas at this time next year when the Kings have missed the Playoffs for the seventh straight year.

  • nykingfan

    David

    I can us them right about now.

    I see what you’re saying about the cammy trade, but before this season, did you see enough progress to where we were a player or 2 away from being a contender?
    We were weak in every aspect of the game…with the possible exception of offense. So if he trades Cammi for a goalie,knowing what we have in Quick, would that have made sense?
    If he trades Cammy for a defenseman…knowing what we have on D now, does that make sense?

    My point is we had so many holes coming into this season, it would have been impossibe to pinpoint exactly what this team needs. He had to move Cammy when he did or risk losing him for nothing. We ended up getting a top prosepect out of that trade. (Teubert)
    Now, after seeing what we saw last year, if he trades Fro, at least we have a clearer picture of what we need to get to the next level. It won’t be for a draft pick.

  • anonandonanon

    The most telling quote is that Dean doesn’t think the team needs to make the playoffs, even next year. That’s true salesmanship. GM-esque. Nice. The guy is in denial. God’s will or somebody else’s fault. Very disappointing,

    I have followed this team through thick and thin, across 4 decades. I have my guts ripped out so many times I thought I was getting used to it. My favorite players shipped out, coaches betrayals, thieving owners, seasons of injury and desperation. And in all that time never have I heard a GM say his club can continue to miss the post season.

    Why would Real Kings fans accept this kind of Malarky? Blind faith i guess. Not the best strategy IMO.

  • Dan H.

    I have to say I was pretty disapointed in DL’s comments on this. We all know that the playoffs are a must next year…OR ELSE.

    Yes we need another sniper and they win 1/2 or more hopefully of the 1 goal games they let slip away this year. Someone a few days ago posted the list of 1 goal games. Those shutout games shouldn’t be happening either.

    For him to say that it’s not dire that they make the playoffs is just wrong.

    Here’s hoping Fro signs a long extension, JMFJ gets his deal done quick and they can start looking at the free agents.

    I dont’ want to sound like a drum beating but if he trades Fro away that’s TWO 30 goal scorers the team needs not one.

    As for the CAmmi trade, he knew that he wasn’t going to be able to sign him from the conversations. From what I read and heard CAmmi’s dad made things difficult so DL traded him and got a first rounder that we now have Teubert in the system from. Hopefully year after next he’s installed with our other young studs and we have a defense that’s formidible for years to come.

  • Scott

    Dean is out of his mind if he thinks he can downplay the significance of next season. The Kings’ losing history coupled with finishing out of the playoffs the last seven years absolutely merits playoffs for next season. I think Dean is a mediocre GM at best but maybe just one step up above terrible, as well. He set the franchise back two years (and lost two years of credibility) by bringing in Crawford and Cloutier. He did well in drafting Doughty and bringing in Stoll and Greene. That’s it. Besides Doughty, which one of his draft picks is worth a damn?! O’Sullivan was his guy but he lost him. He lost Cammalleri and seeing him light it up in Calgary was salt in the wound. Quick was great but I hardly doubt Dean knew what he had as he started the season with LaBarbera and Ersberg. The season was lost b/c of LaBarbera. Simple as that. Maybe it isn’t fault if he can’t obtain a star winger since L.A. is a hockey wasteland, but he won’t be helping himself if he can not. Wake up, Dean. Maybe you have a point about your players needing to step up, but you will be the fall guy. The work ethic starts with the GM, not the players like you would like us to believe. Ken Holland has a lot to do with the culture of that winning tradition in Detroit.

    Here is the biggest reason Lombardi should be fired if they are out of the playoffs next year: John Davidson of the St. Louis Blues. How down and out were the Blues after the 03-04 season? They looked god-awful and are now in the sixth seed. That’s b/c Davidson made great picks in the draft with Berglund and Perron and he solved his goaltending with Chris Mason (who was dismissed by the Kings management, including Nick Nickson, as not being good enough! Pathetic.)

    Blues were only out of the playoffs three years. Not five, Dean! The Kings’ front office is one giant failure.

  • brianguy

    Kopi isn’t a trained athlete??

    I mean, I know he hasn’t fully matured into a 26-27 year old body with experience yet, but to me that was still a bit of an eye opener out of everything he said. Dean, you’ve been here over a year, isn’t it kind of important you see to it that these guys are coming along as trained professional athletes?

    I guess that goes for Sully, JJ and the rest too? what’s missing then? I realize players have to sort of rely on their own regimen, trainers, and discipline during the summer, though they can work with team staff a bit to help them along but it’s mostly their doing. but I thought they fired everyone when DL came in and brought in new people to take care of these things, like strength and conditioning coaches who help with whipping them into shape in camp and keeping them there during the season. what am I missing???

    and I thought Doughty was in phenomenal physical condition from everything I read during the draft preview. so I don’t exactly know what he’s saying with this statement. maybe it will become clear someday. maybe he just means they need to pack on a few pounds of muscle and/or continue to get quite a bit stronger. or maybe he is just serving to motivate them a little bit extra.

  • jkaflagg

    Glad Dean is holding the players accountable….Now, when will the Teflon fall off of him ? Between the Cloutier debacle, the Crawford disaster (Terry Murray was available 3 years ago, remember), the horrible Nagy/Preising/Thornton/Willsie/McCauley signings…..His best move seems to be getting a 2nd round pick for Brad Stuart….. Of course, when you then trade a 2nd rounder fro Brad Richardson, who can’t earn time on the 4th line…Whats the point ? He gets credit for the young players and “building the reserve list”, but if the team is bad enough you eventually get so many high picks you can’t miss…..that said, we’ll see about Thomas Hickey and the other “great” prospects. Should the Kings miss next the playoffs next year, make sure Dean is swept out with the players…..Accountability should be measured both on the ice and in the front office….

  • gralx

    < <>>>
    Yeah but…. i seem to remember that that cost us a first rounder in the process too. Unless Teubert is every bit as good a Doughty, we got taken here too. A 30+ goal scorer, a 1st rounder, for a 1st rounder. 2 big value chips were used to fill one hole. And, we don’t know yet if that hole is filled. The Cammy deal is still very questionable in my mind.

  • Quisp

    gralx -

    But Cammalleri’s value was down because of his contract demands and his desire to test free agency, which he is still determined to do. DL certainly could have traded Cammalleri for another soon-to-be UFA, but what would the point of that been? The point was, Cammalleri was going to walk, therefore trade him while you can get something for him. DL wanted Teubert and stepped up to get him. He could have held on to Cammalleri and traded him this year at the deadline, right? That was the other option.

    And to say it cost us a 1st rounder to get a 1st rounder ignores the fact that to get what he wanted, DL needed to pick #13, not #17, which is what he got from Calgary for Cammy. The 17th plus the 28th (Dallas, from the Norstrom deal)) for the 12th. Then traded down with Buffalo to get the 13th, which = Teubert. Actually, let’s break the whole thing down again.

    It starts with Norstrom:

    Mattias Norstrom, Konstantin Pushkarev, the 2007 third round pick, 2007 fourth round pick go to Dallas for Jaroslav Modry, Johan Fransson, Dallas’s 2007 second round pick (#52-Oscar Moller), 2007 third round pick (#82-Bryan Cameron), and their 2008 first round pick.

    Modry is subsequently traded to the Flyers for their 2008 third round pick (#88-Geordie Wudrick).

    Then, Cammalleri, and our 2008 second round pick are sent to Calgary for Calgary’s 2008 first round pick and 2009 second round pick.

    Dean then packages the Calgary and Dallas first rounders (#17 and 28) and trades them to Anaheim for their #12 pick.

    Dean then trades the Anaheim first round pick (#12) to Buffalo for their first rounder (#13) and their 2009 3rd round pick.

    Then he picks Teubert with the 13th pick.

    So…

    Norstrom and Cammalleri are shipped out, and in return, we get Oscar Moller, Bryan Cameron, Geordie Wudrick, Colten Teubert and a 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft.

    Since Norstrom retired soon after this trade, and Cammalleri would have walked for nothing, we could easily have ended up with zip for those two players. It’s f’ing visionary in my opinion that because of DL we have Moller, Wudrick, Teubert and Cameron. Moller surprised everybody this year with his early arrival. Moller and Teubert are seemingly the prospects everyone wants back in trades. Wudrick is nine feet tall and Holmstrom-esque and could make the team in a year or two.

    Part of what’s going on here is that the market for UFAs with big demands is not great unless they’re already elite scorers. And even then, look at the Hossa situation. The cap makes taking on big contracts very difficult. Who wants to acquire a player who you know wants to go somewhere else in a year? Answer: a team like Calgary, that thinks it’s on the verge of being able to win a cup, and wants to take a shot at it now, before the player in question (Cammy) prices himself out of the market. Which, p.s., he’s about to do.

    Good luck to him though. He’s about to play his first ever playoff game. If Calgary goes deep into the playoffs on Cammy’s back, he’ll be in a much better position to get the kind of contract he feels he deserves. Otherwise, the market is going to be tightening around him.

  • KMCost

    Of course all of us Kings fans want a winning team, and we are tired of waiting, but some of these comments are just plain idiotic. “Quincey couldn’t even make it with Detroit.” How many defenseman in the NHL could crack Detroit’s roster? You act like he was released by Tampa Bay, which used 22 Dmen this year, I don’t think the Kings situation is as bad as theirs. Also, Gary B., are you seriously comparing the NHL to pickup hockey? Wow, that comment takes the cake. And by the way, an NHL game is 60 minutes, not two hours. On the Cammalleri trade, lets remember his value was farrrrr below what it is now. Of course we all knew he would leave the Kings and become a bona-fide NHL scorer (lets not forget he is playing alongside one of the best in the game with Iginla), but his value was not what it is today after his goal total dipped from 34 to 19. I really don’t get the complaints on the Lubo trade, as the Kings were able to acquire two very good hockey players. (And if i recall correctly, Visnovsky led the league in turnovers his last season in LA)

  • Drew

    I got a bitter taste in my mouth reading this. The off season is less then a week old and the feeling I got from this after 15 years of being a kings fan was that Dean was setting the stage for passing the buck on to the players when he is unable to land a significant offensive threat this summer. I hope I’m wrong but what a frustrating read.

    Drew

  • Mudfish

    As a long time Kings fan, I’m torn. I agree with the “stay the course” mentality. I know how important the timing of everything coming together is. But I’m not sure I can handle another non-playoff season…another season of listening to banwagon duck fans ranting about their Cup and bla bla bla.

    DL confuses me sometimes. Nagy, McCauley, Richardson, Preissing, Stewart, Thornton…horrible. Seems like we got them because of where they used to play…not how they play now. Maybe they were just fillers until our kids were ready to come up?

    But the kids (via draft and trades for picks), Handzus, Greene and Stoll have all be great. I’m hoping for a return to form from Williams too. If Williams works out well, I guess I could give DL the thumbs up.

    With a full season of Quick, JMFJ and now Williams; Doughty, Drewske, Quincey and hopefully Hickey getting more NHL experience; another great season from Greene and comeback years for Kopi and Brown now that they’ve adjusted to the new system and additional leadership responsibilities…I think we could have a much better year. At least good enough to start thinking about landing another sniper.

    BUT DL…PLEEEAAASSSSEEEE…no more 3rd & 4th line guys that are “hard working”. We have a whole team of those. We need a guy that can light the lamp more than 9 times a season.

    (side note: Teubert looked great in his first playoff game with the Ontario Reign. Tough kid. Still looked at least a year away from trying the NHL though)

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