There was quite a bit more from Wednesday’s extended question-and-answer session Kings general manager Dean Lombardi held with reporters after the NHL trade deadline passed: Lombardi talked about why he didn’t make any blockbuster moves in my earlier post. But he also explained why keeping a winning roster intact is so important to establishing a consistent winner. Here what Lombardi said in his own words:
“I think you’ve heard me talk about culture — and, quite frankly, and this has always been in the back of my mind. First you need stability and continuity. Then you get an identity, and then you have culture. But if you don’t have the first one, you’re not going to get the culture. And culture takes time, and the only way you’re going to do it is keep a bunch of good players together that care about each other, learn through the ups and downs and learn to win. And that’s a culture.
“And that’s not going to happen in one year. It’s a process, just like we’re just starting to get an identity now. There’s another step here, and if I have to start pulling guys out of that room, and you take away the stability and continuity, now you back the whole thing up. And that was very much in the back of my mind, that there is an emotional bond and step that we need to take as a franchise, and if I start ripping the guts out of it or whatever and start getting away from continuity, we’re never going to get there and you’re going to end up like everything else. You’ll get mediocrity, back to .500, like everything.
“It’s harder and harder in this day and age, that’s what caps are designed to do, bring everything to the medium and constant changes. But you’re never going to get a team with culture if that’s going on. So I think I’ve been consistent with that. It’s the first year I’ve really faced the challenge of trying to improve the team and keep them together, but it’s always in the back of mind. So when I talk about this deal, it’s very much not just the player, it’s this other thing that’s in the back of my mind that is very important, I think.”