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…


Question: What’s it like to work for Dean, who thinks very out of the box on a lot of things and isn’t just going to go by convention? Challenging? Exciting? Some combination of both?

Yannetti: “Exciting, for sure. Challenging, for sure.”

Futa: “All of the above. You can tell when someone trusts you, and there’s a certain process that goes with that. But I know that he has a tremendous amount of trust in us and the staff. That part is huge. He always says, `Think out of the box but don’t reinvent the wheel.’ That’s one of his things. The amount that you learn is unbelievable. The camaraderie, again, is out of this world. I don’t know how he presents himself to (the media) or whatever, but the camaraderie he has amongst his staff, is phenomenal.”

Yannetti: “I don’t know if it’s like this for everyone, but I feel guilty sometimes… If it’s 7 o’clock at night and I don’t have a game on but I’m watching TV, I feel guilty. (both laugh) I’m telling you, more often than not I stop and think, `Oh, I better go work on my list,’ or, `I better go watch a game.”’

Futa: “You get a call and your kids are crying in the background. `What’s that?’ `Oh, that would be my three daughters. (laughs) Let me put them outside while we watch a game.”’

Yannetti: “Seriously though, it’s funny. I mean, thank God I love doing this.”

Futa: “(Lombardi) is a big proponent of family, but don’t misunderstand, (the Kings are) our family. (laughs)”

Yannetti: “We have two families. One family takes precedent at certain times of the year and the other takes precedent at other times of the year. The thing is, you’re challenged so often, and by a guy who is intelligent and works hard. There’s such a constant — and I don’t want to use the term `anxiety level’ — but there have been times that I’ve gotten a phone call at 1 o’clock in the morning. `Hey, I just watched this on this guy and I saw these three things.’ My first day here, he asked me, `Briere or Gomez?’ He calls me up, and I think it was midnight. I got home and he calls me with, `Briere or Gomez?’ And I won’t tell you who I said, but I said, `Player A,’ and he said, `What the hell am I paying you for? Tell me why. I could get that answer from anybody.’ So he calls me two days later and says, `This or this?’ And it’s now a two-hour discussion.”

Futa: “That’s a perfect example. Sometimes, when you run a junior scouts meeting or something, you’ll talk to guy and say, `Player X, what do you think?’ And he will say, `Oh yeah, he can play.’ And, God forbid, if you ever throw that out around here, it’s like, `I don’t have time for this guy.’ (laughs)”

Yannetti: “There’s such a level of accountability and detail, and you’re exposed to so many things.”

Futa: “There’s a level of attention that you better have, because if you sit in there and, God forbid, you nod off on a question and you get called to the plate, you had better be ready and attentive. You’ve got to be ready to answer questions with knowledge, and not fluff, or the fluff will be exposed. Then there will be posters of the fluff up, all around the office. (laughs) Just so nobody forgets it.”

Yannetti: “You’re exposed to things here that you don’t get exposed to in other organizations. It’s just philosophy, and I tend to like the philosophy. I’ve sat in on contract meetings. I’ve obviously done the pro and the amateur here, but I’ve sat in on development meetings. I’ve sat in on…”

Futa: “Last year, I was here for a week and he was having me sit in on meetings.”

Yannetti: “We’re in with the coaching staff.”

Futa: “He wants you to see things. He just feels that you’ve got to know. There’s obviously a trust, that the information isn’t going back so you can share it with your buddies. There’s such a trust, and he wants you to see how this is being run. If you’re going to be a part of what this product is going to be five years from now, he wants you to see all the steps that are involved in it.”

Yannetti: “There’s no right or wrong way. Certain teams have certain philosophies.”

Futa: “You’ve got to admit though, you feel a lot more a part of it here.”

Yannetti: “And you learn. The more people you’re exposed to, the more you can learn. (Director of hockey operations) Jeff Solomon looks at things differently than (assistant GM) Ron Hextall looks at things. Dean looks at things differently than I look at things. Now you’re interacting daily with people who are at the top of their fields, and you start to think differently.”

Futa: “You’re like a kid in a candy store.”

Yannetti: “It affects the way you now look at things. And I think it helps them too. Jeff gets a look at the ground roots of how guys are rated. Otherwise, he only sees the finished product.”

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