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Coming Soon: Interview with Dean Lombardi

Some good news for you news-starved fans of the Los Angeles Kings

I will be interviewing Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi on Saturday, September 6, after the Breakfast with the General Manager for season ticket holders.

I already have some questions for him, but if you have any you would like me to ask, please post them in a comment here (please keep them clean, courteous, polite, etc).

Please note that I cannot guarantee that I will use your question. However, I will do the best I can.


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19 Responses to Coming Soon: Interview with Dean Lombardi

  1. cristobal says:

    Hey Gann. I’ve got a few…

    1 – Why did the Kings take Cammalleri to arbitration and then pay Handzus and Nagy more than Cammalleri made? How does that work within his system of building young talent?

    2 – How does he think his defense is going to get the puck up ice with the current players?

    3 – How in the world did he get Kopitar to sign such a poor Rookie Contract for a 1st round draft pick? Does he realize he’s still gonna pay Cloutier more than Kopitar this year?

    4 – Why didn’t he fire Crawford after the Bruins game where Bernier got torched for 7, after the trade-deadline, or right after the season ended?

    5 – Why should Kings fans buy tickets to the games when the team isn’t willing to pay its players to the tune of the salary cap?

    6 – Has he ever heard of a kid named Tevares?

    7 – Did he believe Visnovsky was washed up? Or that he couldn’t be a big part of a rebuilt Kings team in 3 to 5 years?

    8 – Why does he think Blake was willing to sign with San Jose in the offseason, but not at the trade deadline? And for less than the Kings paid him?

    9 – Why didn’t he give Tukonen a chance with the new coaching staff? He seems to have reserved a second chance for Handzus and Calder…

    10 – Why did he trade Cammalleri and Visnovsky, and not Handzus and Calder and Preissing?

    11 – Why didn’t he take a chance on some of his former draft picks like Mark Smith, Andrei Zyuzin, or Jeff Jillson in this years UFA market?

    12 – When are we going to see Thomas Hickey and Trevor Lewis make their impact in the NHL?

    13 – How did his hiring process change from Crawford to Murray?

    14 – Does he like Kansas City?

    15 – How many years more should the King’s fans expect the team to be in the bottom 3 of the league?

    I can’t wait for the answers…

    cheers Gann.

  2. Robert e Lee says:

    Hi Gann…and cristobal…

    Somehow I knew, before I got to the column, that this page was meant for a “waiting” cristobal and his points are well-taken, although many are more cynical (not unwarranted) and unlikely to be asked by anyone wanting a further interview during the season.

    So I might ask if we can expect another stop-gap approach, which would mean maybe a 2nd rounder in 2009 and a 3rd rounder in 2010 going to Anaheim to bail them out of the Schneider deal when Selanne returns and giving us a former King who has the seniority to fill in for our loss of Blakey this year? And I would like to know-though probably none of my business-based on how AEG does things-if they expect to offer worthy bonuses to guys like Brown and Kopi and Frolov and O’Sullivan in the near term to help ease them into a “long term” in L.A. I mean, if we intend to develop them only to “fire sale” them off later, why bother to own a hockey team in the first place?

    Since I assume your interview (Gann) will take place before we actually do know: Who among the young players does Dean feel highest on right now? I am totally curious how the fellows from the past few years’ of drafts are coming along and how they showed up for the rookie camp as well as for the regular training camp?

    Anyway, thanks, Gann, for giving us a chance to get a question or two to DL and good luck with the interview…and thanks to cristobal for providing me with a good laugh as I got further down his list of requests ;-) RL

  3. Mike says:

    Gann,

    I’ll try to ask this at the breakfast but if I don’t get a chance:

    My question is a quick three-parter. Specifically, how do you think you’ve done as GM of the Kings? What can or could have done better? And where do you see this team next year and the year after in terms of taking the Kings through the next stage in the rebuilding process.

    Also, does he have any feeling about Nagy and Modry’s comments earlier this summer about not wanting to be fillers or spots on some team but rather wanted to prove themselves. DL often uses terms like bridges, fillers, etc… and knowing that all of these players are literate, I want to know if he feels that he should be that blunt about his players when talking about the team in depth because it obviously might upset said player knowing his role on the team is not that of great importance.

  4. Gann Matsuda says:

    BTW folks…If you attend the breakfast event and see an Asian male taking notes and is equipped with an iPod (I use it for voice recording) on my belt, please introduce yourself.

  5. BallPointHammer says:

    First, I’d like to answer a couple of questions.

    1. Kopitar was drafted (2005) and signed (September 6, 2005) by former Kings GM Dave Taylor. Dean Lombardi became GM April 21, 2006. Kopitars salary is not inflated with bonuses because he was the 11th overall pick and a bit of a wild card, being from Slovenia.

    2. His last name is spelled Tavares. That’s two ‘a’s and one ‘e’.

    Second, question for Mr. Lombardi.

    Why didn’t he just blow up the roster and begin building the team the right way, as he is now doing, when he first got the job? I would have supported that 100%. Regardless, I’m VERY HAPPY with the job he is doing.

  6. gumlegs says:

    Thanks for the great site.

    Has AEG set a limit on the total payroll of the Kings for this year which is lower than the salary cap max?

    If so, has AEG’s “limit” hampered his ability to ice a competitive team this year and/or enter into contract extensions with the Kings young talent?

    In general, does he think that other teams are overpaying their RFA’s and/or contracted players who have signed contract extensions?

    Thanks

  7. cristobal says:

    Ballpointhammer – Is that the same contract he’s playing under? Like Vojnov, is the initial contract just signing the player despite the fact that he’s not going to play in the NHL in his first year of eligibility? Or, is the first contract concrete until the 3 years of NHL seasons are under the belt?

    The fact that he was 11th overall should mean that his contract is much better. Even T.J. Oshie has a better contract, along with Purcell, although Purcells might be unrestricted because he was a free agent? I dunno. Carey Price also has a much better contract, although I see he was 5th overall the same year.

    Also, man, you’re a stickler for spelling. Sorry. BTW – in your first point you should have put an apostrophe in Kopitar’s (<—like that) in order to make ‘Kopitar’s” a possessive noun.

    cheers

  8. Joe says:

    Can you ask him if AEG has an internal CAP set on this team now and into the future. If so, why? They specifically stated after the lockout that they would spend up to the CAP and that is what AEG needed to compete.

    Can you ask him if he has even begun to try and negotiate with Jack Johnson or Anze Kopitar?

  9. Marc says:

    I suppose you’re going to ask him about getting a veteran defenseman. What I’d like to know is if there’s any specific attributes he’s looking for in that defenseman? And if he doesn’t pick up a defenseman and we go with 2 rookies and 2 second year players, does that make him nervous given how he’s always believed in keeping young players down until they’re ready?

    Regarding the upcoming negotiations with Kopitar and Johnson, first of all have they started yet. Second, considering that Johnson has yet to prove himself, how does he approach doing his contract? And finally with Kopitar, does he have an opinion on 10 year contracts?

    I also like Mike’s question about fillers and bridge players and does he think maybe those type of players won’t feel they have as much of a stake in the team’s future as the core players do?

  10. Bob Bobson says:

    Just some questions to find out more about Dean on a personal level. Everyone else seems to be asking the same questions I would already about the Kings.

    1) How often does Dean get to see his family during the season and off-season ? From Rich Hammond’s interviews with head scouts Mark Yannetti and Michael Futa, he seems to demand many long hours of himself and his staff.

    2) Does he ever get away from the game of hockey for any extended period of time and if so, what does he do for hobbies ? Trip with the family, golf, etc…

    3) He seems to be influenced by baseball’s farm system and the book Moneyball. What else has influenced his approach to managing a hockey team ?

  11. Robert e Lee says:

    Hi Gann,
    Humor me, would you. Go to this link and scan to bottom right and pick which candidate you think the Kings will pick up before the season begins. I gave it a lot of thought and believe I came up with an interesting group of names. If you have any other names, perhaps back here we could share it with others. I am simply fascinated by the possibilities and actually find it rather fun speculating. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be in DL’s shoes regarding this, but it really does offer some filler as we await Oct. 11th/12th…bring on Blakey and Roenick! RL

  12. worldhockeydaily says:

    robt. e lee – what about Alexei Zhitnik. I believe he’s still UFA status, right? Am I wrong about that?

    Gritty offensive defenseman. I’d love to see him back in LA. Haven’t seen him play in a while, really, but I loved this guy. Bring him back and it would soothe my nerves a bit.

    whatdyathink?

    cheers

  13. Robert e Lee says:

    Thanks “worldhockeydaily”,

    That was an interesting choice. I presumed you knew he had been with us for two years. He still lists out at 5’11” and 225 lbs. He is around 36 years of age and played with the Thrashers last year. But I can find nothing further on him. I wonder if he returned to Kiev? He simply vanishes from the scope at the end of the season. He didn’t announce a retirement or anything?

    Anyway, the fact that he was a former King-as with Brad Norton-I was a bit uncomfortable to list him. After what both Modry and Blake have said, in their own words, I would suspect the word is out about what veterans are being used for on the club. Now granted, past 35, many players might just enjoy the role of ‘teacher’. But on the other hand, the sense of their thin skin and being used might be a bit to much for them to deal with? What do you think?

    I also thank “cristobal” for his thoughts on the choices. I had a feeling, but have been surprised, thus far that no one would even consider the possibility (or maybe they didn’t care?) that Andreas Lilja could become available (through trade) if he doesn’t have a great camp and the Red Wings end up over the CAP…all they say is wait and see.

    For fairness’ sake, I had shown a link-perhaps not allowed?-but will mention the players I had considered. In one case, I listed two, together as they are on the same team, two years apart and both have positive elements, but I did not think either would be a strong candidate by the standards of Kings fans. Thus far, I’ve been wrong. Out of 6 choices offered (1-6), five candidates have each received the same number of votes: Mathieu Schneider, Patrice Brisbois, Luke Richardson, Brad Norton and Keith Carney/Petteri Numelin. Only Lilja received a smaller number of votes.

    So I wonder what folks herein-I think Kings fans-think of the choices. And you have “world’s” additional choice to ponder.

    best to all RL

  14. Robert e Lee says:

    p.s. I suddenly can’t wait to hear what Gann has to say from the gathering on Saturday. I’d never felt so left out before. I kinda wish I had the time open to go to all of the games. But the “Flex Pack” really is a terrific option they came up with for guys like me who do not have a fixed schedule to live with ;-)
    cheers to all RL

  15. cristobal says:

    robt e lee – i’m ‘worldhockeydaily’ too. did you know that? the blog is mine. If you click on the “about” section at the blog it tells a bit about me. I responded to your posts, too, if you hadn’t read.

    I don’t like bringing Lilja back just because there are too many large lumbering defensemen here right now. It seems that’s all LA has got at the moment, outside of Johnson. I’ll reserve my thoughts on Doughty and Hickey, until and if they play. I’d love to see Zhitnik back, but like you, i don’t know how to find out where he is or where he’s going. I know for fact that Souray would like to come here, though I don’t know how he’d do if he did somehow come. Zhitnik and Frolov could possibly help feed off of each other and have a camaraderie to offer between young and old. Plus, if Voinov is around a guy like Zhitnik, could that hurt?

    Looks like you didn’t go to the breakfast? Did it require season seat purchase?

  16. Gann Matsuda says:

    cristobal: It would be better if you posted under one name…it’s hard to follow you under multiple names…

  17. cristobal says:

    I know, it kinda happens by accident because the other name takes over when I log onto my blog. Sorry. It mostly happens when I’m not paying attention to the screename. Cheers Gann. Without getting too wordy, cuz you’re probably wiped out, what’s your take on the day? Thumbs up, thumbs down?

  18. Gann Matsuda says:

    You don’t believe a word he says, so I’m not sure what good this does, but I will say this for Dean Lombardi. He is very, very passionate and committed to his plan. And yes, despite what the naysayers believe, it is quite clear that he has a plan and is sticking to it.

    Personally, I find that rather refreshing, because it is hard to say any other Kings general manager had one since they had ownership with their hands in everything, screwing everything up going all the way back to Jack Kent Cooke’s days as owner.

    BTW: I wasn’t wiped out. I just decided that after working 65 hours over four days and then interviewing Lombardi and Solomon on Saturday morning/early afternoon, I deserved a night out, so I had dinner with some friends and we watched some college football at a sports bar. It was a needed break.

  19. Gann Matsuda says:

    As I transcribe my interview with Lombardi, here’s one little tidbit dealing with trading Tukonen (although I didn’t ask about the trade…this was part of a broader question)…

    “I don’t recommend trading the picks or trading kids unless I’ve decided, like with Tukonen, let’s flop’em because I don’t think anything’s coming there,” said Lombardi.

    It’s going to take some time to work on this story since I have a ton of material to sift though, and not just from Lombardi.

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