Kings GM Dean Lombardi says players locked out Darryl Sutter after Tampa Bay game

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday things got so bad for the inconsistent team this season that after a victory Feb. 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players barricaded themselves behind locked doors and garbage cans and held a players-only meeting.

The cans were stacked in front of the dressing room and meant to be a signal to Kings coach Darryl Sutter to stay out. The Kings then snapped from a midseason funk to win eight consecutive games before faltering down the stretch and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Lombardi said during an hour-long session with reporters at the team’s El Segundo practice facility that he didn’t have a problem with the meeting in general, but took mild offense to the extreme measures the players took in locking out Sutter.

“I guess it’s fair to say there was a little scuffle in Tampa,” Lombardi said when asked about a report in the New York Post that suggested the incident happened during a winless trip to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary, Flames, which knocked them out of the playoffs.

Lombardi corrected several elements of the Post’s story, including the date and location of the incident.

“I could look at it and say, ‘That’s when we won eight in a row, so let’s do this more often,’” Lombardi said when asked if he was troubled by the incident. “In terms of what actually happened, maybe they don’t have to go to that extreme, but theoretically I don’t have a problem with it.”

Neither Sutter nor the Kings players were available for immediate comment.

 

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Pregame reading: Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers

KINGS AT OILERS

Faceoff: 6:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM

Kings general manger Dean Lombardi didn’t make a deal at the NHL’s trade deadline Monday, so the roster will remain intact for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, if they make the playoffs. The Kings have lost three consecutive games, including a lackluster 5-2 defeat Sunday to the Winnipeg Jets, and fell from a playoff spot after winning eight consecutive games and returning to the postseason field. The Kings are 29-21-12 overall, but only 9-14-6 away from Staples Center. Only the Buffalo Sabres (seven), Toronto Maple Leafs (seven), Edmonton Oilers (eight) have fewer road wins than the Kings, which explains their predicament. Coach Darryl Sutter hasn’t been pleased with the play of his veterans during the Kings’ three-game losing streak, but he hasn’t named names. The Oilers are 18-35-10, and last in the Pacific Division and in the Western Conference.

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Trade deadline: Grading the L.A. Kings, and all the winners and losers

Here’s one man’s perspective on the winners and losers at the trade deadline. OK, it’s not my view, but give it a look, anyway. There is some solid analysis courtesy of Yahoo Sports: https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/nhl-2015-trade-deadline-report-card–puck-daddy-s-winners–losers-150357318.html

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Trade deadline: What will the L.A. Kings do to improve their roster?

The NHL’s trade deadline is at noon Monday (Pacific time). Last year, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi pulled off a major move to get veteran winger Marian Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaborik scored a team-leading 14 goals during the playoffs, helping to guide the Kings to their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons. Can Lombardi swing another deal that will benefit the struggling club? There was a rumor early Monday that the Kings would attempt to deal suspended defenseman Slava Voynov, but that was shot down quickly.

Last week, Lombardi acquired puck-moving defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes for a draft pick and a prospect, a move designed to fill a void created when Voynov was suspended indefinitely Oct. 20 by the NHL over a domestic violence charge at his Redondo Beach home. The addition of Sekera means the Kings are prepared to move on without Voynov.

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L.A. Kings forward Jordan Nolan talks about his contract extension

Here’s some of what Kings forward Jordan Nolan said about his new three-year contract extension after the morning skate Tuesday in El Segundo:

“My agent called me a few days ago and said there was an opportunity to maybe take care of some paperwork and get locked up for a few years, so I sai, ‘All right, sounds good.’ Two days later, I got a call and he said, ‘We’re all set.’ There’s no easy contracts, but definitely a lot quicker than the first one I got. …

“Any time you feel wanted in the organization, it gets your confidence up there. I spent a lot of time in Manchester (in the AHL) in development with the coaches and he (general manager Dean Lombardi) shows a lot of confidence in me, so to give me that three-year deal definitely makes me feel good.”

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L.A. Kings give forward Jordan Nolan a three-season contract extension

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi continued to reward his players with contract extensions. Tuesday, he inked Jordan Nolan to a three-season deal with an AAV of $950,000. Nolan, a 25-year-old forward, has only 24 points in 170 career games in the NHL. He was a member of the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship teams in 2012 and ’14, however. Lombardi has been generous in giving extensions to his players, with Marian Gaborik receiving a new seven-year deal and Matt Greene getting a four-year contract during the last offseason.

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L.A. Kings forward Mike Richards clears waivers, expected to report to Manchester

Struggling forward Mike Richards cleared waivers Tuesday morning, as expected, and the Kings will assign him to their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H. They expect him to report later this week and to improve his game with the idea that he could return to the Kings for the playoffs in April. Richards had five goals and 10 assists 47 games before the Kings put him on waivers Monday. The 29 other teams in the NHL had 24 hours to claim him, but none did.

“The way the schedule is in Manchester, you’re able to probably work on some things you don’t have the time to up here,” Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. “So, if he goes down there and attacks this, there’s no reason he can’t come back, because our cap is the same in terms of the numbers right now. … There’s time for him to easily clean some of this up and be what he usually is in the playoffs. But if he says he doesn’t want to report, then that’s not an option.We’re not going that route.”

 

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Kings GM Dean Lombardi talks about placing Mike Richards on waivers

Here’s part of a question-and-answer session between Kings beat writers and general manager Dean Lombardi on Monday afternoon …

Question: How did it get to this point?

Lombardi: “It’s a process you work through. It’s not like all of a sudden it dawns on you. You’re starting to think about and you work through the process. I think it’s fair to say we made a final decision that we were one way our another deal with it after the All-Star break.”

Question: How did he take it?

Lombardi: “You can ask him. The process isn’t done because he’s still got to clear. I’ll probably talk to him a little more tomorrow. I’m sure it’s not easy on anybody. These are the tough decisions you’ve got to make.”

Question: You could have bought him out last spring, did you hope that would get him going?

Lombardi: “It was a combination of that and I think it’s … we expect loyalty from our players and it’s a two-way street. I think under the circumstance and what he’d done for us, I thought he deserved a chance to get back to what he’s capable of. That’s a hard balance. Obviously, I’ve thought about that a lot. There’s a new wave thing out there that players are commodities and passion and loyalty, those values made sports so special, the commodities guys will tell you that don’t matter. Well, that’s been a big part of the success of this team, I believe. And that’s how I came down on it. If you’re going to expect loyalty from your players, you have to at times show loyalty to them. Then the issue becomes, where’s that line.

“So, when I step back now, I’m never going to lose my belief in those values being critical, but as we see in the cap area … the cap is designed to eliminate those types of emotions. Fortunately, I still believe they’re a critical part of a good team. In retrospect, if you the commodities angle, you say, well, it should have been easy. If you use the belief in the intangibles it’s not. It is what it is. In the end, I felt he deserved that chance for all he’d done for us. I mean, I don’t think there’s any question that we don’t win that first Cup without what he did for this team. Obviously, you don’t win the second one. But you’ve still got to be at a certain level here that has to get done.”

Question: What about the financial standpoint  …

Lombardi: “That’s what we’ve got to work through. Mike in his career, he’s shown he can be a .300 hitter and get you 80 RBIs and be an All-Star player. So, maybe at this stage, it’s not there. I still think he’s capable of being a .280 hitter and do a lot of those things for you that only he can do. Let’s face it, right now, he’s batting .200. But I don’t see any reason why he can’t get back to that. He’s got to do what he’s got to do. There’s a lot of things that remind me of where Teemu Selanne was at this stage. Remember when he had fallen off the map in Colorado and it looked like he was done? Then he started changing some things and went on to have 10 great years, for crying out loud. It’s up to Mike. In my mind, I believe if he wants to, he can get back to that. I see no reason why not. But it’s going to be up to him.”

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Kings general manager Dean Lombardi named L.A. Sports Executive of the Year

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi was named Friday as the L.A. Sports Executive of the Year by the Los Angeles Sports Council. Lombardi will be honored for guiding the Kings to a second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons during a gala March 15 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Stan Kasten of the Dodgers (in 2013) and Arte Moreno of the Angels (in 2012) are among the past winners.

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Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr out for up to three weeks because of a hand injury

The Kings’ defense corps took another hit Friday morning, when general manager Dean Lombardi said veteran Robyn Regehr would be sidelined for between two and three weeks because of a hand injury suffered during a 6-4 victory Thursday over the St. Louis Blues.

The Kings placed Regehr on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Jeff Schultz from their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H. The 34-year-old Regehr was injured while blocking a shot midway through the game against the Blues.

“That’s the way she goes sometimes,” defenseman Jake Muzzin said of the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings’ lack of good fortune to start their title defense. “When one guy goes down, other guys need to step up. That’s what we’re going to have to do to keep winning.”

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