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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L.A. Kings sign defenseman Alec Martinez to six-year contract extension

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez signed a six-year contract extension Wednesday. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez signed a six-year contract extension Wednesday. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)

Defenseman Alec Martinez came through for the Kings with two enormous goals to help them hoist the Stanley Cup last spring. The Kings then came through for Martinez in a big way with a six-season, $24-million contract extension Wednesday.

It’s another in a series of long-term deals given by Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who also has locked up forward Marian Gaborik (seven years, $34 million) and defenseman Matt Greene (four years, $10 million) with new extended contracts.

In addition, Martinez becomes the fifth player to be signed through at least the 2020-21 season, joining Gaborik, team captain Dustin Brown, forward Jeff Carter and goaltender Jonathan Quick. Two others, Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards, are signed through 2019-20.

Martinez, 27, has played in 221 regular-season games for the Kings and 59 more in the playoffs. He scored series-winning goals in overtime in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against New York Rangers and in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Overall, the Rochester Hill, Mich., native has 25 goals and 62 points in his career.

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L.A. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez undergoes finger surgery

 

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez had finger surgery Friday.

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez had finger surgery Friday.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another for the Kings. Just when it seemed their defense crops might be back to something close to full strength again, they lost another valuable member when Alec Martinez underwent finger surgery Friday morning.

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi informed the club’s website of Martinez’s surgery, but did not provide further details. It wasn’t immediately certain how long the Stanley Cup playoffs hero would be sidelined, or precisely what was done during the procedure.

Martinez, who scored the series-winning goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference final against the Chicago Blackhawks and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers, was injured while blocking a shot in the second period of Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Stars.

His absence means the Kings are down to only six healthy and eligible defenseman again, with Robyn Regehr poised to return to the lineup for today’s game against the Ducks after sitting out three contests because of a lower-body injury.

Slava Voynov continues to serve an indefinite suspension imposed by the NHL after his arrest last month on domestic violence charges after an incident at his Redondo Beach home. The Kings placed him on non-roster status earlier in the week in order to sign free agent Jamie McBain.

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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 questions and answers (part 2, expanded version)

Did the Kings do enough in the offseason to stay on top?

General manager Dean Lombardi showed his faith in his roster by keeping it intact. Lombardi didn’t wish to mess with success. He did not sign any outside free agents, but did retain the services of veteran winger Marian Gaborik. Lombardi rewarded Gaborik, the Kings’ leading goal-scorer in the playoffs with 14, with a new seven-season contract worth more than $34 million. Lombardi also allowed veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell to depart as a free agent. Mitchell signed a new contract with the Florida Panthers in the summer. Lombardi did not make any trades.

Meanwhile, opposing teams in the Western Conference bulked up in the summer.

The Ducks, smarting from a second-round playoff loss to the Kings, added size and grit by trading for center Ryan Kesler and signing defenseman Clayton Stoner. They also took a chance on former 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley, hoping he could jump-start his career in Orange County.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed former New York Rangers veteran Brad Richards for the same reason the Ducks signed Kesler. The Blackhawks, who lost to the Kings in the conference finals, coveted a stronger, more experienced second-line center to compete with their rivals.

The Dallas Stars, eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs by the Ducks, acquired former Ottawa Senators standout Jason Spezza in order to get deeper and more experienced at the center position. Spezza was No. 2 behind Kesler on the Ducks’ offseason wish list.

The St. Louis Blues added Paul Stastny from the Colorado Avalanche, a rising superstar in the NHL who plays, wait for it, center. The Blues were still smarting from their first-round exit at the hands of the Blackhawks last spring when they made the move.

 

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Kings promote assistant John Stevens and re-sign Davis Payne and Bill Ranford

The Kings on Wednesday took a step toward planning for the day Darryl Sutter is no longer their coach. Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi announced assistant John Stevens was promoted to the new job of associate head coach, an indication he’s in line as Sutter’s replacement. What’s more, assistant coach Davis Payne and goaltending coach Bill Ranford were given new contracts.

“Our coaching staff has been an integral part of the success of our team the last three years,” Lombardi said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased that they will remain part of our team and continue together as we strive for excellence.”

 

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