L.A. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi talks about Slava Voynov (part 2)

Here’s more of a 20-minute interview Tuesday with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who talks here about what he’s learned about defenseman Slava Voynov’s arrest and suspension on domestic violence charges:

“I’ve got a conference call today (with the NHL). That’s where it all gets gray here. There’s so many things. Slava certainly has his rights, then you have the police investigation, then you have the league investigation, then you’ve got the issues about, OK, how long does this go? So, we’re in limbo until this process plays out. In the meantime, it has ramifications. Do we recall a player. What are the implications for the (salary) cap. What’s the shortest (he could be suspended)? If he’s found not-guilty does that mean he’s still suspended? There’s so many issues right here. I’ve got a call today, but even then I don’t expect a lot of answers.

“For the NHL, this is probably new turf. I think it’s new turf for a lot of leagues. Again, because the old system was to wait until the criminal system does it’s thing. That ain’t the case. Now what do you do with all that gray that’s out there, particularly now again in a cap era when it’s no that easy to recall players and deal with things. We’ll have to start working their way through it.

“Nothing at all (in terms of discipline issues with Voynov in the past). Never even been late for practice. This is a kid, you could have made more money in juniors, in the minors, and his father was really struggling. Kept his promise. … Anything involving character issues off the rink, even when we drafted him, he kept his word and came over right away when he could have made more money in Russia. That’s all on the positive side. Then, you know, so …”

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L.A. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi speaks about Slava Voyonov (part 1)

Here’s some of what Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told beat reporters during a 20-plus minute question-and-answer session Tuesday in the wake of defenseman Slava Voynov’s arrest and suspension for domestic violence:

“We’ve got to let this process go through. They (the NHL) don’t need to explain. I think it’s pretty self-evident. The biggest issue you’ve got, other than there’s always that line between innocent and proven guilty, that’s where the rub is. Are you surprised they did what they did, especially in this climate? Well, no. In the other cases in the old days, the leagues would always say, wait a minute there’s a criminal process that has to take place before they can react.

“So, you saw that, even in the NBA. They had nine cases in the last three years. You saw that in baseball with Albert Belle, (Jose) Canseco. So, that’s the way it was always handled, that it’s a criminal thing, let it play out. Even the players played, because we were going under the premise of innocent until proven guilty.

“That now is obviously changed. From the old days. I get it. To say I’m surprised they acted that way, no. Do I think it’s inappropriate, no. … That’s clearly the way leagues are headed right now. The charge itself is enough to take action, when in the past, it wasn’t.”

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Kings GM Dean Lombardi reveals details on his pursuit of Marian Gaborik

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi had two concerns going into Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline. First, he knew he wanted to find a player to bolster the goal-starved team. Second, he had to do it within the constraints of the salary cap.

Lombardi targeted veteran Marian Gaborik quite some time ago, but with a hefty salary of $7.5 million for 2013-14, it figured to take a little extra work to make the deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets work to the Kings’ advantage.

In the end, the solution was to ask the Blue Jackets to agree to pay 50 percent of Gaborik’s salary, pro-rated for the final one-quarter of the season. The Kings also sent forward Matt Frattin, a second-round pick either this year or next and a conditional third-round pick to Columbus.

The Kings also had to re-assign forward Linden Vey to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League to clear salary-cap space before acquiring Gaborik. Vey recorded five points, all assists, in 18 games with the Kings. He spent most of the season in the minors.

In return, the Kings acquired a crafty 32-year-old with 688 points, including 342 goals, in 791 games with the Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild. He is a former 42-goal scorer with the Rangers in 2009-10 and the Wild in 2007-08.

The Kings also gained a player who has been sidelined for all but 22 games this season because of a collarbone injury. He is expected to join the team for tonight’s game against the Jets in Winnipeg, the start of the a three-game trip.

“I inquired right after New Year’s,” Lombardi said during a conference call with reporters when asked about starting talks with the Blue Jackets for Gaborik. “That’s kind of when we started the process. It picked up about two weeks ago. It goes to 11 (Tuesday) night, then picks up again at 5.”

Lombardi said he believed Gaborik is the right man to aid the Kings’ offense.

“He brings an element we thought we’d like to add to the mix,” Lombardi said when asked why he targeted Gaborik. “There are very few players capable of doing what he does. We thought he was the only guy available who had those dimensions.”

 

 

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Kings GM Dean Lombardi says Jonathan Quick could be out until Christmas

When goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered a groin strain during the Kings’ shootout loss Nov. 12 to the Buffalo Sabres, the original estimate was that he would be sidelined for between four and six weeks. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi more or less confirmed that diagnosis when he told a Canadian radio program Wednesday that Quick would be out for at least another month and might not be back before Christmas at the soonest.

“It’s going to be a while,” Lombardi said. “At least another month. We’re probably looking, if things go according to plan, at Christmas.”

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Former Kings exec Tim Leiweke is as chatty as ever in new Toronto job

Timothy J. Leiweke — remember him? — left his position with the Kings and AEG last season to take a similar job with the Toronto Maple Leafs and their parent organization. He always talked a good game in Los Angeles and finally delivered with a Stanley Cup championship team in 2011-12. Can he do the same for the Maple Leafs?

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Ron Hextall talks about leaving the Kings to return to the Flyers’ front office

As it turned out, Ron Hextall decided to leave his position as assistant GM of the Kings for a similar job with the Flyers after GM Paul Holmgren approached him following the NHL draft last month in Newark, N.J. On the surface, it seems like a lateral move, but Hextall was only to happy to return to his roots as a goaltender and later as a scout and executive in Philadelphia. Plus, his contract with the Kings ended at the end of June.

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General manager Dean Lombardi wants to keep the Kings together next season

End of the season interviews can be tough under the best of circumstances, but since Dean Lombardi doesn’t do sound bites and since he was awake until 5:30 a.m. after the Kings were eliminated Saturday from the conference finals, he was a little more long-winded than usual when he spoke via conference call Sunday.

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Kings GM Dean Lombardi talks about establishing a winning culture

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:

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GM Dean Lombardi talks about keeping the roster intact for another playoff run

The Kings didn’t chase Jarome Iginla before the trade deadline, and he eventually went from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Kings also didn’t pursue Jaromir Jagr or a half-dozen other players who were dealt before Wednesday’s deadline. Why not? Kings general manager Dean Lombardi didn’t want to break up the Stanley Cup champions in order to rent a player for the short haul. The move he did make, adding veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres for second-round draft picks in 2014 and ’15, was designed to bolster the Kings’ blue line for the long term.

Here’s more about Lombardi’s thinking from Lombardi himself:

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Lombardi quotes on Scuderi

A quick interview with Dean Lombardi…

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Question: How did this one come together?

LOMBARDI: “We were trying to avoid what happened last year with Orpik. It was the exact same situation. With Orpik last year, we knew what Pittsburgh offered, and we made our offer but the (current team) is always going to get the last chance, and they got him. In this case, we found out what Pittsburgh was offered and we knew we just had to blow them out of the water. When you’re talking about offers, it’s not just the money. It’s cost of living in L.A. and it’s taxes. If you’re offering $500,000 more, it’s really not that much when you look at everything. So we knew we had to blow Pittsburgh out of the water, but we wanted this guy. He has a ring and there are no questions at all about his character.”

Question: Where do you see him fitting in with the guys already here?

LOMBARDI: “He’s a steady guy who can go with Doughty and a steady guy that can go with Johnson. We like the guys we have, the Quinceys and the Greenes, but the real steady guys I’ve got are the ones that are coming up through the system now. I didn’t want to have to play those kids right away. I wanted another guy with experience, and now I can put all of those kids in the minors for a year and I’ve got a guy with a ring. Now hopefully I don’t have to go back into that (free-agent) market for a while looking for guys (on defense).”

Question: Looking at the roster, it would seem that you have six NHL-ready defensemen. Is there a chance one of the kids could still jump out at you?

LOMBARDI: “Sure there’s a chance, but there’s also a question of how the money might even out. It’s a huge price to pay to break a kid in at this level. You get him in, then he maybe has one good year and then, boom, he’s asking for (a big contract). When you build depth, you try to do it the way Detroit did with (Jonathan) Ericsson, and bring them along slowly. Let’s say Hickey comes in and lights it up in training camp. OK, that’s a good problem to have, but in the long run, if you can wait until your guys are completely ready, you hopefully end up like Detroit. It gets tough when you have a situation like we had with Moller. He has a great camp and we take him, but he’s not really a man yet. I hate to do that, so this (Scuderi signing) helps us.”

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