Lombardi answers, “Who’s next?” (part 1)

Here’s more from Lombardi, talking about the natural assumption that the Kings might already have a new coach in mind…

“People can think whatever they’re thinking, but we haven’t done any research or anything like that. I think we were solely focused on the right fit here, but I think it’s safe to say we realize the importance of this hire and I’m not going to hurry it. I guess one indication that we don’t really have anybody in mind is that I don’t see myself rushing to get someone here this week. I guess if I had somebody in mind, I’d be on the phone signing him right now, but I’m not anywhere near something like that. I mean, whenever you fire someone, a coach or whatever, the thought is always in the back of your mind. `OK, who are we going to get to replace him?’ But in terms of us already finding someone and saying, `This is the guy who would fit,’ no. We’re not even near that.”

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Lombardi answers, “Why now?”

OK, finally I can get to the full quotes from tonight. Here’s the first part, with Dean Lombardi answering the question of why he fired Marc Crawford today, more than two months after the season ended…

“It’s hard to explain. I guess the timing is a little odd. I had some concerns in terms of the team’s performance. Although I didn’t think we were world-beaters, I also didn’t think we should have been out of it in January. I think it’s fair to assume we probably should have been in it. We probably weren’t good enough to get in but I thought we were off the map way too early. The other thing that’s hard to judge is, yeah, we were better down the stretch but, as I’ve always said, in those games nobody respects you and nobody is `up’ for you. I don’t know what they mean once you’re out of it early.

“But that’s all in the past. What I was doing going forward was a number of things. I think we were getting a handle on what was in the draft, what possibly was in play for us (trade-wise). We’ve gotten a handle, since the season ended, in terms of Manchester did go out in the first round of the playoffs, we had a chance to see those kids a little further along. We had exit meetings with some of them, where we got a feel for where they are in terms of coming into our lineup, and I think we feel pretty good about that. Then you come into managing the payroll. I think we see some changes in there that are happening that — I don’t want to say `force us’ — but in order to continue this plan and make sure we keep these players, I think we had to make some adjustments in our projections.

“So this issues are, OK, I have some concerns about the past, and then there was, OK, what are we doing going forward. At the end of it all, you go to ownership and say, `OK, this is your new periodic.’ They know the plan, and what I want. It’s not unusual for ownership, in any organization, to say, `You know what, you have to adjust the plan because we don’t want to take the heat,’ or `We want to make the playoffs,’ or whatever. But really, the message I got was, `Stay with this and actually, even go younger. Don’t get off it.’ It was more toward the plan. So now, this is the team we’re looking to have and it’s clear to me that that’s what they (ownership) want. Now, do we have the right fit? You can do all your analytics but when it comes down to it, you go with your gut and you say, `You know, with the way we’re going to have to do this, I don’t think (Crawford) is the best fit.’ There you go. That’s two months in a nutshell.”

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Futa/Yannetti interview VI

Finally…the end. Here’s the last part of the interview with Mark Yannetti and Michael Futa. It focuses mainly on where the organization stands now and where it’s heading and (hopefully) will give you some idea of their vision for the future. I hope everyone found the interview worthwhile! Here’s the last part…
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Futa/Yannetti interview V

OK, I thought this would be the final installment, but there’s still another one to come. In this part, Michael Futa and Mark Yannetti discuss what it’s like to work for Dean Lombardi and discuss how it can be both challenging and rewarding. It’s a bit of an insight as to what it’s like to work for the Kings these days…
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Futa/Yannetti interview I

Here’s the first part of the long interview I did on Saturday with Michael Futa and Mark Yannetti, the Kings’ co-directors of amateur scouting. The interview took place after I sat in on their session, so you’ll read a couple references to that morning’s meeting.

For a little background, Futa and Yannetti were named to their roles on June 5, 2007, so this is really their first year overseeing the Kings’ draft efforts.

Previously, Yannetti worked as a scout for the Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Futa spent the previous five seasons as the general manager of the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League.

What follows is the start of a lengthy, wide-ranging interview. As you’ll see, it starts with a simple question but a long, involved answer in which the guys discuss their work and their philosophy. After this, the questions and answers will get more specific. Here’s the first part…
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Meeting quotes, part 6

Here’s the last of it. It comes back to the financial problems, although I must issue a disclaimer. They talk about salaries going up, and at the time, sitting in that conference room, I didn’t have access to the fact that the Kings’ payroll has dropped significantly since 2004 (although it has raised slightly since 2003). So what follows might seem like something of an incomplete answer. You can be sure this topic won’t just die out though…

I hope everyone found the quotes from this meeting worthwhile…
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